Monday, April 30, 2012

“The Internal Delight of Virtue”

By Tom Steed

     Many persons often blame the world for being false and vain, yet do not readily give it up because the desires of the flesh have such great power. Some things draw them to love the world, others make them despise it. The lust of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life lead to love, while the pains and miseries, which are the just consequences of those things, beget hatred and weariness of the world.
     Vicious pleasure overcomes the soul that is given to the world. She thinks that there are delights beneath these thorns, because she has never seen or tasted the sweetness of God or the internal delight of virtue. They, on the other hand, who entirely despise the world and seek to live for God under the rule of holy discipline, are not ignorant of the divine sweetness promised to those who truly renounce the world. They see clearly how gravely the world errs, and in how many ways it deceives. Thomas aÌ Kempis. (1996). The imitation of Christ Book Three, the Twentieth Chapter.
     There are many reasons to do good.  We do good things to please God and to avoid the fear of punishment.  I may do the right thing because I do not want to hurt others.  I may choose the better course so I will not be criticized or found out. However, this magnificent phrase tells of something that many people never experience:  The internal delight of virtue.  God created us in a way that allows virtue to become its own reward.  When we do the right and good, when we pursue true spirituality and not self-interest, we reach serendipity, an unintended result—the internal delight of virtue.  When one chooses to do the right thing, to choose the Godly course, God blesses us with inner peace, with the internal delight of virtue.  We taste the sweetness of God.  What a wonderful blessing!
- Tom Steed serves as a minister and elder of the Auburn church of Christ in Auburn, AL. He may be contacted through the church's website at 

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