Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Virtue not talent

There is a difference between a talent and a virtue.  We tend to stand amazed in hero worship of someone with a talent, be it singing or playing an instrument or performing a physical feat, a pole vault or gymnastic routine.  Talents are given by genetics.  Some have them and some don’t.  Talents can be used for good or they can be used for self-aggrandizement.

Virtues however are developed over time.  They may or may not be “natural.” Some people are born loyal.  Others are born liars.

We cannot choose whether we have talents. We just do or don’t.  We can choose how we will develop them and use them.  However, God is not so excited by our talents as by our virtues.

Mozart had great talent, but was profligate.  God wants us to grow in Christ’s likeness, to become truly virtuous people.

The fruit of the Spirit is not a talent to be developed.  It’s not even a Spirit given gift, say being able to speak or preach well.  The fruit of the Spirit is a list of virtues: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

This next Spring semester 2020 at Tyndale I will teach The doctrine of the Holy Spirit again.  As always I am trying to help people who disagree (Cessationists- the charismatic gifts have ended - and the Continuatonists -the gifts are still for today) to learn to live together in peace and to work together for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.

The Bible does not vaunt spiritual gifts, though it allows for them and recognizes that the Spirit gives them to whom he will. The Bible focuses on character development, virtues.  “Above all these things put on love...”

We tend to be fascinated by talents and abilities. We should, rather, focus on character and Christ like behavior.  People can fake gifts and fool audiences with smooth words.  Character, however, is unmistakeable and unimitable.

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