Here are 7 lies that will come at you when you decide to actively pursue virtue in your life.
Knowledge is power, so arm yourself with knowledge of the devil’s tactics. These aren’t things that
just ran through my head either, each of them are things people have said to my face.
‘People will judge you’
Do you really want to pursue something that will get you judged? I used to answer with, well of
course not. No one sets out to do things with the goal of being criticised or marginalised. The hidden
lie was something I didn’t know how to mitigate because we know ‘people will judge you’ is a fact of
life, it’s not a lie. It actually is true. But the lie that comes with it, is that the judgement will have a
detrimental impact on me, and THAT doesn’t have to be true. It may have an impact, but only if we
allow it. So instead, challenge that question with ‘So what? So, what if people judge me? Why should
the words of others be a deterrent for the pursuit of what is True, Good and Beautiful?’
‘It’s too hard/too much’
Virtue takes much effort, and for some it will seem like far TOO MUCH effort. Being intentional,
setting out a plan of action, examining self, reflecting, and actively pursuing virtue seems exhausting.
Shouldn’t virtue feel effortless? True virtue, like all forms of excellence, does flow effortlessly. But
that effortlessness doesn’t come without much effort having been placed on building excellence to
start with. A life of free-flowing virtue will take a lifetime of practice, growth, trials and errors. That’s the
very path of the Christian journey, of being willing to pick up and carrying the cross. Too hard or too
much effort, isn’t a good enough deal to make to walk by our cross, nor is it a great enough reason
to not see the triumph and glory of the resurrection in our own lives.
‘You’ll lose your freedom’
This couldn’t be a more blatant lie. Who says? We think of the things that our Christian faith teaches
us to leave behind as being the things that take away our freedom AND the things of the culture
being what liberates us. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Our faith asks us to turn FROM vice
and turn TO Virtue precisely because vice chains us to the impacts of our fallen human nature, and
Christian Virtue liberates us to becoming more like Christ himself. Not Christ’s biology, the Jewish 33
year old man, but the Divine Christ in and through the Holy Spirit who dwells in each and every one
of us, who is forming us to be more like him WITH all the uniqueness that God created in us. That is
the freedom we gain from Virtue, a freedom to be who we were made to be.
‘You’ll lose yourself’
Some are genuinely terrified of Virtue, like it’s some paradigm that turns ordinary people into
marble statues, all looking the same. Another lie! Those that went before us, having been marked
with extraordinary virtue, the saints, couldn’t be more different. Some attracted animals whilst
others levitated, some were teachers, others manual labourers, some excelled in study and others
were not intellectuals. Some old, some young, some single, some celibate, some married. No two
saints are alike, why? Precisely because they found themselves through Christ and began to model his
excellence of love in every way, in the virtues.
‘You’re not challenging yourself enough’
This one left me stunned. The pursuit of virtue was reduced to meaning ‘no sex before marriage, go
to church, don’t use foul language and be a decent human’. All these things are not hard, and if that
was the goal of virtue then every child who begins to utter their first words has accomplished life goals. No, the pursuit of virtue is so much more than this. It’s dying to self in and through love,
shedding every attachment for the sake of love of God and neighbour. It’s taking up every ounce of
strength, gift and talent we’ve been given and putting it to the service of another. It’s refining, failing,
confessing, getting back up, and going again for more refining of every bit of our lives. If this was so
easy, our world would be covered with Christians and there would be no conflict. Yet here we are,
battling each day with grit and virtue. The battle for Love against Vice is the greatest challenge of our
‘It’s not that important or valuable’
This one just makes me sad. So many lies have been bought into to believe this. Virtue is the
excellence of living out love. If Virtue is of no value or importance, it’s because we have given up on
true love. The Love God calls us to, to love him with our entire being and to love others as ourselves.
The consequence of losing that battle is also losing our freedom, which we can see in our world
today, rampant in decision making based on ‘feelings’ and ‘passions’ rather than on exercising our rational mind to guide passions and emotions. Virtue is important because it is the arms
that allows another to experience love of God and neighbour. Without it we are unable to show
another how they deserve to be loved, we’re unable to offer a gift of self to the another, to teach our
young, or even to serve in the world. Living out Virtue is valuable because we are in relationship with
God and one another. Virtue honours those relationships and demonstrates our dignity, value and
worth that we have each been made with.
‘Who do you think you are?’
This one makes me laugh. This is an old lie asking the question, what strength, power, ability or qualification do you think you have to be embarking on a mission like this? Isn’t this all a bit grandiose? Underneath
it, it’s the same tone as the lie that was fed to Eve in the garden when satan convinces her she is not
enough, that the life she leads now with her husband and her God is not satisfying, that God is not to
be trusted because he is holding out on her. It’s the father of lies’ attempt to redefine who we are,
just as he did with Adam and Eve. Well, here’s the same truth for you, as Adam and Eve should have
remembered. Who do you think you are? Answer: A child of God – the God of the Universe, King of creation,
Mighty-God, Everlasting Father – You and I, are His Children. That is the ONLY qualification AND
relationship, we need to embark on the greatest challenge of our lives, and encourage others to do
so too – a life of pursuing Virtue.
So tell me, a child of the King of the Universe – made for greatness, which lie is still holding you back?
Stina was born and raised a Norwegian and completed her Bachelor of Psychology and Master of Social Work in Australia. She is a Family & Relationship Counsellor (individuals, couples and children), and the former Young Female City Ambassador (Miss Wagga Wagga 2019) for Wagga Wagga, NSW. Stina also works with separated families and supporting TAFE NSW Students through their Education.