True Virtue: Recentering on What Matters Most


No More Empty Signaling 

As Christians, it’s not enough to say we follow Jesus. We have to live it out, or we become hypocritical virtue signalers instead of inspirational hope dealers. 

Here’s the thing: Proclaiming our virtues without practicing them produces pride. We see this in Luke 18 when Jesus tells a story about a self-righteous Pharisee who prays an elaborate prayer, thanking God that he’s not as corrupt as the tax collector behind him. Then, the tax collector prays this simple prayer: 

“… ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’” Luke 18:13 NLT

The Pharisee used his platform to shame others and promote himself. The tax collector honored God and humbled himself. Jesus goes on to say that it’s the tax collector who goes home justified before God.

Too often, we find ourselves more like the Pharisee in the story. But Jesus said that this world will know we follow Him by our love—not by our stances, our Instagram posts, or our opinions. 

If we’re ready to move beyond empty virtue signaling, we need to start living our principles out in our practices. Just check out what Jesus said in Luke 6:  

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” Luke 6:46 NLT

When we truly live out the words of Jesus, our communities will look different as a result. We won’t condemn others like the Pharisee. We’ll love them. We won’t promote our own actions to others. We’ll point others back to the goodness of God. 

When we choose to serve others, love others, encourage others, give to others, and invite others into God’s family, we’re bringing a little more of God’s Kingdom here on earth. 

In doing so, we take our faith from being a nice concept to becoming a concrete part of who we are and how we live. 

We can’t do everything. But all of us can do something. So, what gifts has God given you that you can use to serve others? What resources do you have that could bless others? 

It’s time to abandon empty virtue signaling and start embodying true virtue. 

Pray: God, I’m sorry for all the times I’ve been more like the Pharisee in the story. Humble me, and show me how to move beyond virtue signaling into truly living out the virtues You call us to. Teach me how to love others the way You do, and guide me as I look for opportunities to serve others and bring more of Your Kingdom here on earth. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Challenge: Identify one area where you could serve others this week. Then go do it! 

Watch the accompanying message series, True Virtue, from Pastor Craig Groeschel.