Wednesday, October 15, 2003
I'm not real big on email devotionals - most of them leave me thirsty for more. But I discovered this one, and today's really says something meaningful:
A Vivid and Separate Thing
.... Have you fallen into thinking of virtue as the mere absence of vice? I have, on more than one occasion. I once led a Bible study on the subject of pride, and one of the participants asked if we were going to also study humility. "Oh, no," I responded, "If you can conquer pride, you've achieved humility." However, more study and a few more years of battling my own pride convinced me that I was dead wrong on this issue. It is only by pursuing the positive fruit of humility that we can ever hope to battle pride. Humility is not the mere absence of pride any more than white is the absence of color. Humility is a "vivid and separate thing," a prize worth pursuing. It is only when we learn through humility to think on things greater than ourselves that we will be able to abandon our pride.
C. S. Lewis noted a similar misconception in his sermon "The Weight of Glory." Lewis writes, "If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive…."
We should be careful to avoid substituting negatives for positives. When God commanded his people to be holy, He did not base his command first and foremost on the detestability of sin. He grounded this command in his own character, saying "You shall be holy because I am holy." Yes, God hates and abhors what is unholy, but this abhorrence springs from his delight in what is good and true, namely Himself. Like Him, we should not look at the joyful pursuit of holiness as the wearisome extermination of vice. We should not merely hate what is evil; we should also cling to what is good. In doing so, we move from the defensive to the offensive, a move that is a major turning point in the winning of any war.
Copyright (c) 2003 Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).
Reprinted with permission. A Slice of Infinity is a ministry of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.