It is easy and sometimes tempting to live life day by day, simply looking at the choices right in front of you and making decisions that benefit you and your family. But is that how we are meant to live our lives? If your daily choices are not shaped by the virtues you hold dear, you may find that life could in fact be a lot more meaningful.
A great key to living a meaningful life – a life that you enjoy but which also benefits others and improves our culture – is to live according to healthy virtues. These are qualities that are good, moral, and desirable. Virtues impact how we think, speak, and act. And if there is a big difference in your life between what you say are your important virtues or principles and what you are doing on a day-to-day basis, then life will probably not be particularly meaningful.
What are the virtues that define your life?
We can identify our virtues from two directions. We can look at what we are already doing, and determine what that says about our virtues. Are your words and actions humble, kind, frugal, hard-working? And we can also look from the opposite direction, identifying what virtues or principles we want to live by and then evaluating and changing our daily life choices to better reflect those virtues.
If you are a Christian, Jesus has defined many of these virtues for us. The “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7 outline numerous virtues. You could easily spend a full year meditating on the virtues found here. “Blessed are the merciful,” he tells us, “they will be shown mercy.” Is merciful a virtue that defines your life?
Identify and invest in core virtues
Benjamin Franklin is well-known for his list of 13 virtues that defined his life, which he reviewed and studied and carefully applied every day. You may find this recent blogpost interesting as it reviews his virtues and how he practiced them daily, or reading his own autobiography is interesting as well.
What about you? What are your core virtues? Here are six virtues to consider praying over and focusing on, and Scriptures to read through to better understand each virtue:
- Empathy (Matthew 5:3-9)
- Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-25) (Genesis 39)
- Joyful (Philippians 4:4-9) (Psalm 100)
- Sincerity (Matthew 5:33-37)
- Humble (Ecclesiastes 12) (Psalm 51)
- Compassionate (Mark 6:30-44) (Colossians 3:12-17)
This is a short list, and there are hundreds more throughout Scripture that can and should guide our lives. You will get great value from considering these virtues, meditating on God’s Word in the Scriptures, and evaluating your day-to-day life to more fully live out the virtues that you seek to live by.