Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Narrow Road

What did Jesus mean when he spoke of the narrow road which leads to life? Perhaps it's the difference between being a believer and being a disciple. To assent intellectually to the truth of the gospel is one thing; to absorb the teachings of Christ, allowing them to transform us inwardly, is an altogether different experience. While we can stay on the low roads, stuck in the rut of the abcs of Christianity, there are joys, challenges and steady growth awaiting those who heed the call to "come up higher."

Years ago I came across the following list of Christlike Virtues. I can't think of a better way to take stock of one's spiritual maturity than to study this list with honesty of heart. The first time I did so I was jolted out of my spiritual complacency. I hadn't known, for instance, that the perversion of the virtue purity is puritanical. I wouldn't have guessed that the perversion of Biblical joy is frenzy.

As you go through the list, you're likely to find a few surprises. Don't lose heart, though, if you find yourself too often on the wrong side of the list! Growth takes time. It's all a part of the lifetime work of the Sanctification Process:

Christlike Virtues: James 3:17
Virtue                                                       Opposite                                         Perversion

Pure                                                      impure                                                  puritanical
Peaceable                                             fussy                                                     compromise
Gentle                                                   harsh                                                     unkind restraint
Entreatable                                           unapproachable                                      yes-man
Merciful                                                merciless                                                indulgent
Fruitful                                                  fruitless                                                  obsessed with numbers
Steadfast                                              wavering                                                 inflexible, rigid
Honest                                                 dishonest                                                 brutal

Christlike Virtues: Galatians 5:22,23
Love                                                     hate                                                         possessiveness
Joy                                                        pain                                                         frenzy
Peace                                                    war                                                         neutrality
Longsuffering                                         impatience                                               lenience
Gentleness                                             hardness                                                  softness
Goodness                                              badness                                                   finicky nice
Faithfulness                                            faithlessness                                             legalism
Meekness                                              arrogance                                                weakness
Temperance                                           undisciplined                                            fleshy effort

" . . . giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins." (2 Peter 1, 5-9, TNB) 


  1. This was very good. I hurriedly copied it down (it wouldn't copy and past) and want to really go over it more and maybe even massage it a little. I also am thinking about taking it to Sabbath School to discuss it in class. This would be a real thought provoker and I always enjoy that. Thanks to much for sharing it.

    I have been working on similar lists ongoing for several years now.

  2. Clay,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the list. It sure is a thought provoker--I've never come across anything like it before.

    You could have copied and pasted it if you wanted to!

    If you discuss it in Sabbath School, let me know how it goes,



Comments, anyone? I'd love to hear your point of view.