My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord Christ,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN IS A LIFE OF
SERVICE AND OBEDIENCE TO JESUS CHRIST
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the example par excellence of both service and obedience. He taught and said to His disciples, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU; BUT WHOEVER DESIRES TO BECOME GREAT AMONG YOU, LET HIM BE YOUR SERVANT, AND WHOEVER DESIRES TO BE FIRST AMONG YOU, LET HIM BE YOUR SLAVE– JUST AS THE SON OF MAN DID NOT COME TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY" (St. Matthew 20:25-28).
The genuine Christian believer is one who by living Christ daily follows faithfully His example of service and obedience. As Christians, we do not follow anyone else but our Savior. We must always have Him in our sights and learn from Him how we should live and act. The Christian is always willing to ponder the humility of Christ, a truth necessary for suffering Christians to understand and live out. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we also are to take hold of what God offers, accepting His grace, and working toward becoming spiritually mature in Christ.
Our Lord Jesus Christ "learned obedience" (Hebrews 5:9) in his human will, which continually and freely submitted to the Divine will. In the agony of injustice, He submits to the will of His Father. Are we willing to submit to His Divine will? Are we willing to suffer no matter if it is just or unjust? Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him? There should not be any confusion or misunderstanding of who we are as Christians. Our life in Christ should not be reduced to a life of privileges and comfort, nor a kind of lazy, inert, and false kind of Christianity which is totally artificial and therefore an insult to Christ and the Church.
If one is a true believer in Jesus Christ, he must be willing to accept the full message of His Divine Gospel. A Christian cannot be selective of what he or she likes about the Christian faith. No Christians can set for themselves conditions whether they are going to follow the commandments of our Lord. The Christian understands himself to be a willing slave (δούλος) and submits to His Divine Authority. We are all transparent before the Almighty Lord and He Who knows the hearts of men knows if we truly believe in Him or not.
"Follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4). Follow Him with humility, obedience, and without any demands or expectations. It is said that when a slave in ancient times was bought at the slave market, the new master would cut off a lock of hair to indicate to the slave that he was totally his property from that point on and that he must obey him. A slave had no rights, no privileges, no benefits, no opinion, no independence, he lived only to serve his master. However, in Christianity, we are taught that, "For as many of you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, FOR YOU ARE ONE IN CHRIST JESUS" (Galatians 3:27-28). We share in one human nature with Christ and therefore people are not valued on their ethnicity, social standing, gender, for we are all are one in nature and so all are equal in dignity.
The understanding that practicing Christians have is that the ongoing growth into adoption, being "an heir of God," is a referance to theosis (deification). This means we are becoming by grace what God is by nature. To become sons of God by grace, one must believe in and know the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We are encouraged to work out our own salvation, which means we must act, we must labor, and we must be willing to make sacrifices to have a strong commitment to Our Savior and to our Holy Church.
Investing time, talent, and treasure is the true stewardship of every believing person. It means that we must stop thinking only of ourselves and think of our neighbor, our fellow man, who is in desperate need of agape and compassion. Nothing should be postponed, but not knowing how long we are to going to live, we must act now. The believer should have a strong conscience. A conscience founded on faith is our best guide. "However, we speak wisdom AMONG THOSE WHO ARE MATURE, yet not the wisdom of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the Wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden Wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory" (1 Corinthians 2:6-7).
Strive for spiritual maturity and for a greater commitment to our Christian faith. Being a Christian does not mean to attend Church services from time to time or sitting in the church pew observing it. It means to abide by His commandments. It means to live a life based on Christian values and virtues. It means to be obedient to Him and to serve Him unconditionally. To reach spiritual maturity means to attain theosis (deification) and holiness.
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Life-Giving Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George