No matter our circumstances, our net worth, or the degree of fame and human recognition we achieve, the key to a successful life is a life of virtue. Instead of bills and likes, properties and awards, we are called to compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience.
Love is what binds all these things together. In order to apply love, forgiveness is required. And not just any forgiveness. But the same kind of forgiveness Jesus gave us. Jesus forgave “while we were yet sinners.” We are, therefore, called to forgive preemptively. Even if the other person has not forgiven. This is what it looks like to behave as “chosen people” who are “holy and dearly loved.”
This is successful living.
The world has its own concept of successful living – a concept that is pretty much the opposite of what Paul admonishes. It elevates superficial gains and surface-level affirmations.
Too often we adopt the world’s ways. When we speak of wanting a “better life” for our children, we too often speak of material gain rather than stellar character. We have succumbed to believing we can manipulate our way to happiness through material circumstances.
As God’s chosen people, we are called to a better way. A path more true. A path of virtue.
The virtue of every day comes through the hard work of abundant obedience to Christ. The life that is truly life. Which, in the end, is more thrilling and more rewarding than superficial one-off moments. Love binds all the virtues in perfect unity. God dearly loves us and desires our best, and living in this unity of virtue is a life of true success.
An enduring theme throughout Scripture and modern life, the nature, manifestation, and benefits of love are an important part of being human. Maybe the most important. This is part five in a five-part series where we explore what love is and how to love better.