Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Virtuous Life

There’s enough good on Boundless to keep me going back to read, but enough just plain wrong to infuriate me. In a recent article, Candice Watters wrote of the benefits of living at home: “If you live on your own, your modesty and sense of propriety may protect you. But in the face of temptation, that's all you have.”

These are all you ever have. When Paul exhorts believers to put on the full armor of God, he lists the breastplate of righteousness, a protective covering I think we can rightly assume to include such things as modesty and propriety. In one of my favorite movies, Sleeping Beauty, the young prince is given a shield of virtue, a sure and powerful defensive weapon against evil.

Regardless of our living situation, and regardless of our marital status, you and I must make a choice for virtue, for truth, for chastity. This is not ultimately a choice for marriage; it is a choice for God. Protecting your chastity isn’t about snaring a mate who requires a virgin, nor is it about rewarding your virgin newlywed sweetheart with your own unbesmirched virtue. It is about obedience. It’s always about obedience.

In a follow up to this article, Candice counsels a young woman that if she doesn’t meet the qualifications for lifelong celibacy then God of course intends for her to be married. There’s a logical fallacy here, though, and it’s a critical one to the issue of virtue and obedience. The idea being touted is that if you cannot live without sex God will give you a get out of sin free card in the form of a spouse. Whew! Dodged that one. But what about those who can’t imagine living the rest of their lives having sex with only one person? Do they get a free polygamy pass? The fact is, God has set boundaries for us. Some of us will be married and will need to live virtuously in our married state; the consequences of not doing so are often divorce and all the heartache and regret that accompany such the dissolution of a sacred bond. Some of us will remain single forever and will need to live virtuously in our unmarried state; this may be a joy or it may be a thorn in the flesh. But in either case, obedience is the only option, and it is possible for all of us. You may question whether God has called you to marriage, but you can be sure God has called you to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).

1 comment:

Lori said...

The "God will give you what you want" people seem to overlook that God does not always cure those who want to be cured of cancer, or provide acting careers to those with natural ability and a craving for the spotlight. How are these different than the desire to marry?

This is one of the infuriating things about American Christianity -- we assume that God will always give us what we want. If he doesn't -- or if he doesn't for some of our friends, or for someone we don't know at all -- well, they must have done something wrong.

How incredibly condescending...