We hear a lot today about virtual reality. According to the Dictionary, the word virtual means, "being such in force or effect, though not actually or expressly such." In other words, it gives the impression of being real although it is not. Actually the two words do not go together. That which is virtual is not real, it is only a very realistic impression. The words "virtual reality" are a byproduct of a high tech information age which has the ability to create the effect of reality.
There is another word which sounds like virtual but has an entirely different meaning. It is the word virtuous. The word virtuous means, "conforming to moral and ethical principles; morally excellent, upright." God’s word speaks of what we might call "virtuous reality." "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things." In the information age in which we live there is a lot competing for out attention and not all of it is virtuous. Think of all the means of communication to which we are exposed everyday; newspapers, magazines, books, television, cable networks, VCRs, computers, just to name a few. Now how much of the information that is being conveyed by these means has to do with what is "true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and of good reputation?" In other words, how much of it has to do with virtuous reality?
For us today, it is more crucial than at any other time in history that we make every effort to exercise great care in making sure that we focus our minds on those things that are virtuous.
Let us not be deceived into thinking that reality consists in filling our brains with all sorts of information and multimedia experiences. Virtual reality is actually an escape for dealing with reality. Virtuous reality seeks to make virtue a reality in everyday experience.
The things which the apostle Paul listed as being those things which should occupy our thoughts are to be found in God’s word. As you read God’s word, you will be exposed to that which is "true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and of good reputation?" Someone has well said, "You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are." What we spend our time thinking about sooner or later makes it way out into our words and actions. Our thoughts eventually lead to reality.