People are motivated by different things. Some people feel motivated to do something if they know they’ll get a nice reward at the end. Others are motivated if they know they are doing something that will make someone feel good.
Today I want to appeal to those who (a) are experiencing difficulty, and (b) are motivated by a challenge.
In 1534 Thomas More wrote a book called A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation while imprisoned in the Tower of London. It was the year before his execution by King Henry VIII. In it, a character named Anthony says this: “For, as the philosophers said very well of old, ‘virtue standeth in things of hardness and difficulty.’”
Virtue standeth in things of hardness and difficulty.
That got me thinking about true virtue—about moral strength and goodness—and about how it can remain un-budging through “hardness and difficulty.”
There’s the challenge: to continue in moral strength and goodness (virtue) even in difficulty. I don’t know what the “philosophers of old” had in mind, but when it comes to God’s people, our moral strength and goodness come from Jesus. As he himself said in John 14:6, he is “the way and the truth and the life…”
I realize that when you’re going through “hardness and difficulty” you’re not always at your best. Neither am I! But by the grace of God, we can try to live with virtue as we look to the leadership and muscle of Christ.
It can be a part of our devotion to God, and it can also be a source of strength to the people we care about—people who are probably also struggling, and who might need someone reliable to lean on (like you).
Let’s be fortified by these words from the apostle Peter to the elders in 1 Peter 5:10: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
By Matthew Ruttan
–*Thomas More, A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, ed. Terri Ann Geus (Mineola: Dover, 2016), 60.
–Bible quotes from the NIV.