19 Sivan 5780 (11/06/2020). You can listen along to this teaching on our YouTube channel here:
I asked the LORD why virtue signalling is so prevalent now. If you haven’t heard this term it is most often seen in social media, celebrity culture and online commentaries. Anyone can fall for its allure. Simply put, it is a ‘signal’ through a hashtag, profile picture, conversation, presentation or external behavioural alignment to ‘show’ one is virtuous. It is heavily prevalent within the Biblically-limited church. It is especially prevalent in ministries which want to appear ‘relevant’ to today’s culture.
In answer to my question, the LORD gave me this Bible verse from Matthew 5:3:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Here is my understanding of what the LORD is saying to me:
The LORD helped me see that for many centuries Christian cultures learned what it meant to be virtuous from His Word. Therefore, these societies were built from individuals who held a common concept of His absolute right and wrong. Society accepted His values as correct, whether or not they practised them.
Today, we are in a culture which is ‘post-God’. Many people believe they have ‘out-grown’ God. Society is now built on many individuals following their own arbitrary concept of ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’
The human ego is a subtle and very deceptive thing. Even though it doesn’t follow God, it still needs to be seen as ‘good’. The ego is essentially the same as the religious spirit, which says: 'My pride is my god. I’m not too bad, from my own perspective.’
By contrast, a person who has the Holy Spirit living within them knows the Word of God shows them how un-holy, un-good and selfish they really are, because they are comparing themselves to Him Who is Absolute Righteousness. To this humbling realisation comes the beautiful harbour of God’s Salvation and Grace. We work in and with Him the more we expose our hearts and minds to the Living Presence of His Word, which is a written representation of and relationship with His Full Character. Slowly we see our old self-deceived ego fall away and a new creature emerging as a small reflection of our King. We live in the reality that we cannot produce our own righteousness, but He does - completely. We then want to signal His Virtue, not our own, because we know we don’t have any except that which He is gifting and building in us.
So, what happens when we live in a time when ‘everyone does what is right in their own eyes’ – as in the disastrous downward spiral quoted from the book of Judges?
Now, in this ‘post-god’ culture, the majority of people in the old ‘Christian’ societies decide what they think is ‘right in their own eyes’. Because their values are not now based on the absolute right and wrong of God’s Word, their concept of right and wrong takes on so many arbitrary, and usually self-serving, options that their belief system makes no coherent sense. Someone can be aggressively against one wrong while living in deep practice of another, yet not see their hypocrisy before God. As many of you know, the word ‘hypocrite’ actually means ‘actor’. Being an actor means following a script with just enough vicarious emotion to convince others to ‘give you the part.’ Today, I see a pandemic of humans trying to ‘act virtuously’ in order to be accepted as ‘virtuous’ by others. Ironically, that is no different to the self-righteousness found in religion and against which the post-God culture is reacting. Without God’s Righteousness, both ego-driven approaches end up in the same place: Salvation-rejecting self-deception.
Tragically, I see a society now living in complete fear of saying the ‘wrong’ thing, because having supposedly ‘out-grown’ God, no one knows what ‘wrong’ is anymore.
But, what does God see? When He looks at our social media, our lives, our cultural voices, does He see His truth trying in our human fallenness to be applied in our lives? Or does He see hypocrisy? Does He see repressed trauma and shame causing us to manically virtue-signal? Or does He see aggressive pride? Or does He see many combinations of the above?
To virtue-signal, rather than to be virtuous according to God’s Word, is dishonest and prideful. It creates moral chaos and confusion. It is dishonouring to His gift of Salvation and Sacrifice for us. It leads to collapses in mental health, and a refusal to accept His gifts of peace, healing and holiness. The arbitrary validation of the dominant group becomes the new god. This is also becoming true in some church systems where God’s Word has been cut to pieces. In the world’s culture, group-opinion on what is ‘virtuous’ can shift very quickly, as it is not based on the timeless truths of God’s Word. It’s an exhausting, conscience-and-sanity-abandoning way to live.
Antony of Egypt was a 4th century monk who wrote: “A time is coming when men will go mad. And when they see someone who is not mad, they will grab him and say, ‘you are mad, you are not like us’.”
There is a very serious warning to the Bride I believe the LORD wants me to give here. Although there are many reasons for virtue signalling, false virtue is also the method by which psychopaths groom, and try to trap, their victims. All ideologies which captured entire populations started by first ‘looking virtuous’ to mankind. To Yeshua’s Bride, measure all ‘virtue’ against the Word of God and you will not fall into deceptive traps. Be prepared, dear Bride, to be judged as ‘unloving’ by the world but accepted as loving by the LORD according to His Word.
Be prepared to see the collapse of this society’s fake self-righteousness become very threatening to its concept of itself, like an internal monster that one has to fight harder and harder to squash down. God may well bust this social lie wide open, to try to move many back to His Salvational Truth. He will bring justice and judgement in such a way as to force humanity to see its true colours beneath the social veneer.
As mentioned, virtue-signalling can be an over-compensation for shame. Some shame can originate through trauma and some originates through pride and compounded sin. God knows which is which. He is the True Healer and Judge. But humans rarely see all the threads and connections, either in themselves or others, without the help of His Holy Spirit. Trauma, shame and sin are very often repressed, so even the individual and society are not consciously aware of why they are acting the way they do. This is why one of the most effective loving actions we can do for this culture is pray for people, while not enabling our own temptation to virtue-signal. Our words, meant in deep Salvational love, will rarely get it completely right. But God is supernatural and He sees all the reasons behind the virtue-signals and will love, and discipline, the right way.
I will admit post-God culture does look mad. But, we in the LORD are only become increasingly right minded through the gift of His right mindedness. The increasing gift of knowing, loving and practising His Word makes us more and more spiritually, psychologically and emotionally in tune with His Truthful Well-Being.
The self-righteous and ideological deceptions hidden in the pandemic of virtue signalling are a well-crafted trap of the devil to bring less and less freedom but more and more frantic self-justification. This façade to oneself and the world becomes a ruthless task master, a devil of a god, living daily within oneself, trying to push down the conscience and sin.
This is why a Christian who presents God’s restful Grace and is a living representation of some of the rightness in God’s Word will be mocked, attacked and out-lawed in such a society. God’s Words of truth will cause the illusion of virtue to collapse and if the human ego becomes too big of a monster it will rage against the presentation of Truth.
The real tragedy is God is always waiting to catch a collapsing soul.
To collapse before God is painful and humbling. Many instinctively know it will mean a letting go of unhealthy patterns, the lusts of the flesh and self-righteousness the easy way. The central allure of virtue signalling is that it is far, far, far easier to look ‘virtuous’ than to be virtuous, according to God’s Word:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”