For thousands of years, the Christian church has recognized and sought to teach what are called the seven virtues. The first four are known as the classic, or cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and courage. Christians have combined these with the Biblical virtues of faith, hope, and charity (love) taken from 1 Corinthians 13. These seven form a foundation for the baptized to live lives of virtue grounded in the wisdom we have from God in His word.
The trouble is, the culture in which we live now values not virtue, but vice. Greed is celebrated widely as we are taught personal fulfillment and happiness born of individual desire is good. We are told to bow to the feelings of others, regardless if those feelings are good, and right, and truly loving.
Lust is celebrated daily on the air, and in our eyes on screens as personal gratification has overtaken the value of the giving of the self for the sake of others. Even as Hollywood deals with what is a terrible, and long standing scandal and pattern of abuse, they show their devotion to lust. This is due to pride that says the individual, driven by personal desire, cannot do wrong.
Gluttony is rampant as we are taught to covet more and more, leaving poor souls discontent with the gifts of God’s gracious provision. This leads to envy, as we look not with rejoicing at what our neighbor has been blessed with. This leads us to wrath, an irrational anger born of not getting what the human flesh believes it deserves.
It is in the face of the messed up values and priorities of this world that we are encouraged by the Word of Wisdom to seek the higher, better things from God.
True wisdom is a gift from above, and is distinct from knowledge. Knowledge is knowing things, and in terms of knowledge, we live in an age of a great proliferation of knowledge, both true and untrue. Wisdom from God is grounded in the reality of creation, born of faith in God, and fed by His Word. Wisdom leads to virtue, and the Holy Spirit leads us by the Word of Christ, to live lives of integrity and love. God grant us the courage to live and teach his virtues by the Wisdom He provides.