Pursuing Character

Some time ago I got the idea that it might be good to try to pursue a virtuous character.  One almost never hears about something like this anymore, but it was very popular in the 1800s.  I thought that trying to pursue certain traits, even if they were godly traits might be kind of narcissistic, involving too much belly button gazing.  Upon further thought, I see virtue isn’t really pursued in a vacuum.  Pursuing virtue has to do with how I relate to others, how I reach out and serve others, and ultimately how I treat God, my maker.  What kind of virtues would be worthy of pursuing?  From the “Living” bible, there are virtues called “fruits of the Holy Spirit.  They are:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  I understand self-control, but the other virtues seem a little vague to me–as though they could have many definitions.  I need something clearer so I have a goal to pursue.  Looking at “The Message” bible, I see the virtues explained this way:  Love is affection for others.  Joy is exuberance about life.  Peace is serenity (like the serenity prayer, I would assume).  Patience is a willingness to stick with things and people.  Kindness is a sense of compassion in the heart.  Goodness is the conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.  Faithfulness is involvement in loyal commitments.  Gentleness is giving up the need to force my way in life (and on others).  Self control is the ability to marshal and direct my energies wisely.

What are some things I can do to grow each of these virtues?  I will write on each of the virtues beginning with the next post.


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