My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever shall be.
OUR SPIRITUAL OBJECTIVE IS HOLINESS!
How well do we know ourselves? How often have we have thought of God our Creator? How often do we think of our neighbor? How often do we think of holiness and perfection?
There are many important questions that we have not asked as of now. Does anyone ever preoccupy himself with the future life, the life in His God’s Kingdom? Do we know how to begin the preparation for life in eternity? How does one begin preparing for this one-way journey?
The most prudent way is, by prayer. An authentic Christian, a humble Christian believer, one who seeks help and guidance. One who turns instantly to God the Holy Spirit, to show him the way to perfection and holiness.
The faithful one sets the holy life of Christ before his eyes, and by the grace of God the Holy Spirit, begins to imitate His example. There is no greater example to follow and imitate. And even though our heart is weak and may resist any change, if we truly seek to live the holy life of Christ, we must be determined to emulate the divine virtues of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We ought to know if we desire the same things that He desires. When on earth, what did He do, and if we are resolute to do the same? If we are truly committed and if we are willing to be obedient to His Gospel. By attempting to imitate certain things of Christ’s life and works we will come to know our shortcomings, hypocrisy, and most of all our own transgressions.
Our Divine and Great Teacher, Jesus Christ our Savior, lived on earth in Holiness and Perfection. We believe Him to be a Perfect God and Perfect Man. If we are seeking perfection on earth, He is the Only One! Christ the Only-begotten Son of God has taught us to live in humility, to be loving, to be compassionate, to be forgiving, to be merciful,
Jesus distinctly pointed out to His listeners the following: "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spiritually use you and persecute you… For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what more do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore YOU SHALL BE PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT" (Matthew 5:44-46).
To be a follower or a disciple of Christ a person must imitate His Divine Life on earth. Furthermore, for the faithful to believe all that He teaches and all that He does. Do obedient to the Holy Gospel, to be righteous and virtuous, to seek perfect love. Love surpasses all human intellect and wisdom. Love is not only a human emotion, it is the Divine grace that transcends all understanding. The Orthodox Christian grows into perfection (theosis).
"For the sake of our love of God, renunciation of all will of our own and perfect obedience to the will of God; and moreover desire for all this and its practice with a pure heart to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)., from sheer desire to please God and only because He Himself wishes it and because we should so love Him and work for Him.
This is the law of love, inscribed by the finger of God Himself in the hearts of His true servants! This is the renunciation of ourselves that God demands of us! This is the submission to God’s will, which our Redeemer and Teacher demand from us both by His word and by His example!"
Therefore, let us compare our soul with that of the life of our Savior, and correct that which is in need of correction and transformation. "Whoever wishes to be like Christ in glory must be like in the present life". "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and thre are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). Knowing that people wrestle against human weaknesses, as well as the spiritual forces of evil, entering the Kingdom involves, sacrifice, difficulty, work and ascesis (struggle).
Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk wrote: "Whoever wishes to follow Christ into eternal life must follow Him with faith and love, in this life, and whoever wishes to come into Christ’s eternal Kingdom must go by way of Christ–there is no other way there. Note what Christ says, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life" (John 10:27-28)."
Christians believe that if one wishes to enter into eternal life, there is only one real way, they must remain faithful to our Savior, and to live here, and now, according to "the example of the life of Christ" which He left us. By living a life of holiness, righteousness, love, humility, faith, and patience, we too, will be saved. We cannot live a care free life here on earth and still anticipate to inherit the heavenly Kingdom and eternal life.
Use this earthly life carefully and prudently while you are still a resident of earth. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has fought the battle for you and won! He has already open the gates of Paradise for all who earnestly and sincerely follow Him. He has prepared a place for us for He said, "In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU" (John 14:2).
"Jesus said to him, ‘I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostom
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George