Whenever we hear someone referred to as a “person of virtue,” no doubt we conclude that they live and practice the highest moral standards while dealing with others in everyday situations. Few individuals do not strive to be known as a virtuous person. But, 1925 Nobel Prize winner in Literature Irish playwright and author George Bernard Shaw, once described virtue as: “Insufficient temptation.” However, this certainly seems to be a passive description of an active ingredient. Virtue should never be thought of as something that reveals itself only when there is not enough temptation to push you over the edge.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy indicates that Virtue is tied to Ethics and as such emphasizes the role of one’s character when either doing one’s duty or acting to bring about good consequences. Recently, I read this definition of Virtue that gives us a very clear idea of what is to be expected of a virtuous person: “Virtue, by definition, is the moral excellence of a person. A morally excellent person has a character made-up of virtues valued as good. He or she is honest, respectful, courageous, forgiving, and kind, for example. Because of these virtues or positive character traits, he or she is committed to doing the right thing no matter what the personal cost, and does not bend to impulses, urges or desires, but acts according to values and principles. Some might say that good qualities are innate and developed through good parenting, which they are, but we’re not perfect. Virtues need to be cultivated to become more prevalent and habitual in daily life. With the habit of being more virtuous, we take the helm of our own life, redirecting its course towards greater fulfillment, peace and joy.”1
For any Christian, a list of virtues, that should be their guide in developing the character that would earn them the reputation of being a person of virtue, are found in the Fruit of the Spirit written by Paul the Apostle in his letter to the Galatians.2 They read this way: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These are not self-manufactured, they are the by-products of the Spirit living and working within us. So if you want to be known as a virtuous person, asking God to fill you with His Holy Spirit would be the best way to start. – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 Stacey A. Thompson: Virtues for Life: The heart of everyday living
2 Galatians 5:22-23