Learn to Awaken the Quieter Virtues
- Monday, November 01, 2010
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Gregory H. Spencer's book, Awakening the Quieter Virtues, (InterVarsity Press, 2010).
So much clamors for your attention in this noisy world that it often takes something loud - like a courageous act of sacrifice - to get you to notice one of God's virtues at work. But while quieter virtues can get lost in the noise around you, they're just as powerful as more dramatic virtues to help you become the person God wants you to be.
So awaken the quiet virtues in your life. Here's how:
Awaken the virtue of discernment through the discipline of attentiveness. Discernment will help you use the wisdom God gives you to make choices that will lead to life rather than to death. Discerning what's best when facing decisions motivates you to choose what will draw you closer to God (leading to life) instead of what will pull you away from Him (leading to death). The spiritual discipline of attentiveness will help you develop discernment by training you to think positive, healthy thoughts that reflect biblical truth while casting aside unhealthy, unbiblical thoughts that enter your mind. When you've learned how to concentrate on the right thoughts, you can discern how to make the right decisions.
Awaken the virtue of innocence through the discipline of advocacy. Innocence will give you a sense of justice that sets good things free and binds up evil. Innocence leads to greater purity that draws you closer to God and helps you see life more from His perspective, so you can recognize what's truly just and unjust. The spiritual discipline of advocacy will train you to defend innocence by challenging whatever attacks it with reasonable evidence and arguments. When you've learned how to advocate for what's right, you can guard the innocence that empowers you and others to break away from sin and live in freedom.
Awaken the virtue of authenticity through the discipline of real presence. Authenticity will lead to a rigorous inside-out consistency that courageously cares for others. If you learn how to be the person you say you are and do what you say you will, your authenticity will bless others. The discipline of real presence will train you be fully and sincerely in the moment, aware of God's presence with you, knowing yourself accurately, and being genuine and sincere with other people. When you've learned how to live in the present well, you'll be able to speak and act authentically in all situations.
Awaken the virtue of modesty through the discipline of timely remembrance. Modesty will help you gladly temper the expression of your fullness with an understanding of your emptiness. The discipline of timely remembrance -recounting the truth about your past experiences - will help you practice modesty in your motives, speech, appearance, and touch, because it will bring to mind an accurate view of yourself. When you've learned how to examine yourself and discover who you truly are before God, and when you remember that when you're interacting with others, you'll be able to speak and act modestly.
Awaken the virtue of reverence through the discipline of astonishment. Reverence involves kneeling before the sacred and standing up to the profane. The spiritual discipline of astonishment will train you to recognize God's extraordinary work in the midst of the ordinary moments you experience, and to respond with awe, gratitude, and joy, which are all important ways of expressing reverence for God's holiness and power.
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