S77P7 – The courage of the saints: a newly natural morality

Eph. 6:14-15

So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news].

He did not emerge from the womb being a good kid.  When he was a toddler, he was the boy who always found it incredibly difficult to share. As he grew and entered school that subtle selfishness also grew and became a clear disregard for his peers.  His parents realized that they had to intervene early if they wanted to see a change in him.  It was not easy, but their regular reinforcement of good behavior began to show fruit.  It started with him waiting for everyone to be seated at the table before beginning to eat.  Little by little he was no longer so concerned with his own interest as he was with the interest of others.  Regularly driving home the value of being considerate at home and elsewhere made that behavior more natural for him.

There is an interesting connection between the belt of truth and our courage.  Specifically, this refers to our having the courage to do the correct moral thing.  Our natural inclination in this sinful state is to be anything but moral.  It is God’s truth which starts to expose and reveal the world and even ourselves in an honest light.  The revelation of these truths will prompt us to change, to leave our version of morality behind and cleave to God’s.  In the beginning, we may be apprehensive about doing the right thing when it might be abnormal in the eyes of the world.  Over time, however, when this kind of behavior is reinforced over and again, having the courage to make the right moral decisions becomes second nature.  As God’s truth truly sets in our hearts, his nature overtakes the sinful nature and flows from us almost without thought.

The good moral courage that we get from God’s truth really is a change in our inner reflexes.  Where we once might have been quick to judge, now we are quick to be merciful.  Where we once might have been quick to be angry, no we are quick to show patience and deliberate thought over our circumstances.  We gain the courage to do what is right because we understand that it is the way it should be.  Strange as it may seem to the world, this becomes our new normal.  There is no fear to do what is good, just and right once it becomes our true way of life.  Father, we ask that You continue to instill in us your good moral character so that it would be second nature for us to have the courage to do good.