A Believer’s Virtues
The apostle Peter said, “... make every effort
to add to you faith, goodness ...“
James, who was a pillar of the church, also said, “... faith without
deeds is dead.”
The qualities that a
Christian must possess are many. Like a string of jewels are these qualities
recorded in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 12 verses 8 to 16.
In Giving, Give With
A disciple should constantly
give to the needy (Gal ).
Those who are wealthy should contribute more to the needy and be rich in good
deeds (1 Tim ). Those
who are less wealthy can still contribute according to their ability. The
Macedonians were able to contribute even in their ‘extreme poverty’ and they
did this ‘beyond their ability’ (2 Cor 8:1-4). Cornelius and Dorcas were generous to the poor (Acts , 10:2). They were remembered by God and
received special blessings. However, giving must come from a heart of love and
truth, not from a desire for worldly reputation. It is necessary to love your
neighbor as yourself so that your giving may be righteous.
In Leadership, Govern With Diligence
A Christian must not only be
concerned for his own matters but those of others too. He is required to help
others. As long as he is able, he must do his best. He who leads is not only
concerned for the management of the church’s affairs but is also involved in
personal matters of the believers. The Lord Jesus said, “For even the Son of
Man did not Come to be served, but to serve … (Mk ). Peter said, “Each one should use
whatever gift he has received to serve others” and to do so with the strength
God provides (1 Pet ,
11). This means that we have to serve others willingly according to whatever
abilities we have so as to glorify God and benefit man.
He Who Shows Mercy, Let Him Do It Cheerfully
The Good Samaritan is an
example of one with a merciful heart and one who renders aid to the wounded (Lk
-36). According to
our own strengths and abilities, we must help the needy or those who face
hardships. We must not hinder the flow of pity from our hearts (1 Jn ). Neither are we to treat as
insignificant the help that may be given in answer to a beggar’s humble
requests and deny help to such a one. If we are unable to do little good deeds,
how are we able to do big ones! The Lord said, “Blessed are the merciful for
they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7). It is also written that judgment without
mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful” (Jas ).
Love Must Be Sincere
Love that is false is but a
show. It is recorded in the book of Proverbs that empty words and superficial
gifts are like clouds without rain.
Hate What Is Evil, Cling To What Is Good
First, we need to have the
wisdom to distinguish between good and evil following which we must stand firm
against evil for good. It is too dangerous to confuse good with evil or evil
with good (in 16:2. 18:40). We must distinguish between honourable
people and dishonourable people. In this way, we will
find success in our dealings and gain an exceeding advantage. Moreover, we need
to have insight and discernment or else, we will he unable to see the difference between right and
wrong or good and evil.
Be Devoted To One Another In Brotherly love
Treat one another with brotherliness
and kindness (Tit 2:5). Interaction between one another goes by way of peace.
With the church as God’s house, the element of harmony is love which is the
love in the Holy Spirit (Col
1:8, Rom ). Joy,
happiness and comfort abounds in the church and there is spiritual soundness in
Honour One Another
Everyone should give way to
another. As Paul said. “Do nothing out of selfish
ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than
yourselves” (Phil 2:3). We must recognize the good points of others. Every
believer has a place in the Lord. Even the weakest part of a body is
indispensable (1 Cor ).
Therefore, there has to be mutual respect for one another.
Be Diligent, Not Having Laziness
The servant who buried his
talent in the ground was a lazy one (Mt 25:36). This was covering up the grace
which the Lord has bestowed. The servant was a useless one and even what he had
was taken away from him. Therefore, it is necessary to be diligent in labour so as to hear fruits For God.
Serve The Lord Always, Keeping Spiritual Fervour
The Holy Spirit is like fire.
Fire gives heat and energy. With spiritual fervour,
there will be strength to serve the Lord. How then can we stir up spiritual fervour in our hearts! First, we must constantly pray to he filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3,4;
Eph ). Next, we must
constantly read the Bible and listen to the Word in church. The hearts of the
two disciples on the road to Emmaus were burning within them when they listened
to Jesus’ explanation of the Scriptures (Lk 24:32). Thus, the Holy Spirit and
the Holy Bible are the springs of spiritual fervour.
They give us faith, love, hope and forever maintain our spiritual fervour, enabling us to work for the Lord.
Be Joyful In Hope
Christians experience joy for
they are saved. This is the true spiritual joy which can never be taken away (Jn
). It is built upon a
living hope based on the promises of God (Heb ). Since such a hope is unwavering, the joy changes
not (Phil 4:4).
Be Patient In Affliction
The Lord Jesus says. “In this
world you will have trouble” (Jn ).
As long as we are in the flesh, we will face troubles and hardships. Our bodies
are like tents exposed to rain and wind. We have to expect failures and
problems. When we live for the gospel of the Lord, we will face trials and
persecutions (2 Thess 1:4. 5). We should endure all the more. Peter wrote that
‘if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before
God’ and ‘if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that
you bear that name.’
Be Faithful In Prayer
The fervency of a Christian’s
prayer is the measure of his spirituality. Prayer without strength is a sign of
drooping spirituality. Therefore, the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing’.
This does not mean spending twenty-four hours a day in continuous prayer but
when the situation allows or requires we should pray unceasingly. Our Lord
Jesus himself prayed with loud cries and tears in utmost sincerity (Heb 5:7).
This was because of his deep conviction. Therefore, with conviction our prayers
will he heard by the Lord in his mercy.
Share With God’s People Who Are In Need
Although Paul was busy
spreading the gospel, he was concerned about the poor.
Though as Christians we do
not mix with bad company, we should welcome guests and provide warmth and
sincere reception for them. Such hospitality springs from love and a noble
heart. Likewise, God commanded the Israelites not to oppress or mistreat any alien
because they themselves had been aliens in Egypt (Ex ). Therefore, the Bible instructs us not
to forget to entertain strangers with love (Heb 13:1, 2).
Blessed Are Those Who Persecute You; Bless And
Do Not Curse
will follow a believer as a result of his belief or his work in spreading the
gospel. The persecutors are mainly people who do not understand the Word. We
can tolerate or avoid them but we must not retaliate at all. Therefore, we need
to endure persecution. We ought to know that if we endure persecution for the
sake of righteousness we would be blessed (Mt ; Acts ).
By enduring wrongs and remaining faithful to the Lord and His teachings, we
will surely be remembered by the Lord. As for those who do not believe in the
Lord or understand the gospel, they are misled and used by Satan to obstruct
the truth and harm the church. We ought to pity these people for they lack
understanding. The Lord Jesus prayed for those who caused His death when
He was on the cross, saying, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what
they are doing.” Therefore we have to pray for them to ask the Lord to forgive
them, move them and change their hearts. For all we know, there may come a day
when they will gain enlightenment and repent. The Lord Jesus asked us to pray
for our enemies for they are not truly enemies but people without
understanding. It may be that by praying for them, our foes may change to
become our friends. In addition, we are not to curse but only bless. This is
because man does not have the authority to curse. Even the angel Michael did
not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against Satan, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice, Mourn With Those
To rejoice with those who
rejoice is to express the same feeling of joy towards those who are glad. We
must not be jealous because of the wellbeing of others. Saul became jealous of
David when David was accredited with slaying tens of thousands’. In his
jealousy, Saul waited to kill David. Therefore, the heart which is poisoned by
jealousy is like a scorpion and a snake. The Bible teaches that ‘love does not
envy’ (1 Cor 13:4). One who has love is able to express feelings that harmonize
with the feelings of others. To mourn with those who mourn is to express
condolence or offer help to those who lost their loved ones and those who are
sick (Eccl ).
Live In Harmony With One Another
It is very important for
believers to be of one mind. Once Paul and Barnabas disputed over whether they
should take Mark along with them on their mission. Unable to settle their
differences, they separated. However, they did not form their own
organizations. Later, Paul still liked to work with Mark (2 Tim ).
Do Not Be
Proud, But Be Willing To Associate With People Of Low Position
It is common to be proud because of wealth and
influence. However, a Christian must be humble (1 Tim 3:6).
The Lord Jesus often received
tax-collectors and sinners (Lk 15:1, 2). This was to rescue them from sin so
that they might receive salvation. By being humble, one will be like the Lord,
gentle and humble in heart and able to lower oneself. The gospel of the Lord
must be preached to even the poor because all souls are precious to God.
Do Not Be Conceited
He who thinks that he is wise
is actually a toot without understanding. Such a person takes pleasure in
himself and is self-contented. The Bible warns: “You have trusted in your
wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you
when you say to yourself, ‘I am it, and there is none besides me.’ He catches
the wise in their craftiness (1 Cor 3:19).
Do Not Repay Anyone Evil For Evil
As Christians we must follow
the example of Jesus in being victorious over evil with good. When they hurled
their insults at Him, He did not retaliate. When He suffered, He made no
threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly (1 Pet 2:23).
Another good example is Moses. Moses endured murmurs and slanders but humbly
persevered. The authority to repay and avenge lie in the hands of God who is
just and shows no favoritism. Therefore do not take it upon ourselves to pay
others back for their wrongs. When the time is ripe, God will surely come to
show who is right and wrong.