“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either hot or cold. So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” -Revelation 3:15-16
I remember the emotional anxiety I felt when I read this. I still have it. I knew I was living a lukewarm faith and the decision to put God first sounded terrifying. Everything other than Him was what I rooted my time and energy in and I was ashamed to place myself in His holy presence. I thought growing in holiness would be the worst decision I make yet I decided to make a bold choice.
In His design, God decided to give humans free will. He longs for us, and our hearts long for Him, but in the end He lets us choose to follow Him or not with the utmost respect for our freedom. He invites us to embrace our identity in Him and assures us it’s the surest way to happiness and peace (John 14).
Our Lord is so universal that any person who applies His teachings to their life, honestly acknowledges their fallible nature, and admits virtuous ways provide some sense of truth and light, should find no fear of running from that peace.
Living a life of virtue, and following the Commandants is hard and you have to work for it. But the best things in life are obtained through trial and anguish–and we are not called to mediocrity.
Don’t be afraid when faith becomes difficult—it is in those difficulties you find the satisfaction of human flourishing. Have you ever done the right thing and regretted it? We have two options in moments to choose to practice virtue; follow the devil, who shows momentary “fulfilling” pleasure in temptation to act wrongly. Or follow God, asking for His grace in moments of momentary temptation, and letting that grace give life to your soul.
His ways, truths, teachings, and love lead to fulfillment in other areas of our life.
Be Patient—this journey never ends.
You can’t wake up and decide to go full-throttle virtuous living. Perfection does not exist so don’t become discouraged when you fail. Take a list of virtues, identify the one you know you fall short with and exercise that for a week. Don’t expect perfect results! The only thing that is perfect is that you’re striving for it.
Bettering your life, gaining a deeper prayer life, and striving to imitate Christ in all you do is a joyous challenge. It will reveal to you true moments of beauty, truth, and goodness. It will allow you to see God’s hand working in your life and will help you stay poised in times of misery. This is a requirement every day of our lives demands and ends at our death. The world will mock you for it, but remember where your priorities are.
God knows our human nature is fallible and simply asks that we try our best and rely on Him for strength when we need it.
People who play sports discipline their daily activities to be a tremendous athlete. Their hard work and dedication pay off and they never grow tired of trying. That should be our goal with holiness—that we never grow tired of trying.
A good friend of mine always says “living a life of virtue is hard but living a life without it is even harder.” And on a personal note, I feel the most miserable in the moments I didn’t act virtuous.
For more on virtue, check out: www.emotionalvirtue.com/