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Character and Choices

“All of life’s choices have consequences, consequences for ourselves and consequences for the world around us. And when we fall into the extreme passions of sins, these consequences can be very painful and destructive, both to ourselves and to others.” (Fr. Michael Gillis) 

“Are the choices that people make in their lives based on reason? The “Rational Choice Theory” claims that people choose the options they believe are in their best interest. That is, they select the most reasonable choices among alternatives. Our reading of Proverb 15:7-19 rejects this presupposition. The wise sage of Proverbs writes, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted calf with hatred” (NKJV vs. 17). This saying suggests that the theory that people make reasonable choices fails to consider the role of the passions in human decisions…we look at the basic choice between the freedom of wisdom and the folly of slavery to the passions. The first enables us to make reasonable decisions, and the second binds us to irrational attitudes and behavior.” (Fr. Basil)

“The way to bring the flesh [passions and sinful desires] in line with the spirit is to not try, and just do. Don’t try to pray. Pray. Don’t try to get to church. Go to church. Don’t try to follow the commandments. Follow them. Make a choice to do, and not to try.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“…we all face the choice of whether to follow the example of John or the example of Herod. It is the choice between freedom and slavery, between pointing our lives toward Christ or toward addiction to self-centered desire to the point that we will risk hating, and even wanting to destroy, anyone or anything that gets in our way. Even though the actions we take each day are not as dramatic as cutting off someone’s head and putting it on a platter in the middle of a party, they are no less influential in revealing and shaping our character. Through our habits, we form our souls either to become more like Christ or more like those who rejected and killed Him and His Forerunner.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“Living under the Old Covenant, the prophet [Jeremiah] begs his fellow-believers to circumcise “the hardness of your heart” (Jeremiah 4:4). In Christ, our choices likewise should be made from cleansed hearts, keeping God’s covenant truly, fairly, and honestly. Let no dark visions turn us into false Christians who play by the rules of “evil practices” (vs. 4). Let us learn from God’s ancient people that the Lord does not negotiate. When we embrace false prophets, trust in sweet delusions, or pursue sullied desires, He allows “disaster . . . and great destruction” (vs. 6). He longs for us to choose the life-giving path: the road home to Him and the way of “truth, judgment, and righteousness” (vs. 2).” (Dynamis 2/11/2022)

“Throughout the Holy Scriptures, beginning in the Old Testament, the God who created the universe and everything in it, who created we human beings to dwell therein and with whom to share His Life, expresses and reveals to us His character.” (Father Stephen De Young)

“Boundaries (and, thus, love) requires that we endure healthy shame – for this is the emotional experience that comes with boundaries. The virtue of enduring such healthy shame is known as humility. Love is impossible without humility. Many are surprised when they first hear that God is humble. Christ said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29) This is not a temporary “role” assumed by Christ, but a true revelation of the nature and character of God.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The question is not whether we can impress God by being extremely religious or earn a reward by doing enough good deeds. It is not whether we work out in our heads that by serving others we are serving Him. It is, instead, whether we embrace His healing to the point that we radiate His selfless love to other people. The more our character conforms to His, the more we will spontaneously offer ourselves to build relationships of love with our neighbors. To do so means that we will be able to say truthfully, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20).” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“The nature of true morality does not consist in our sentiments – how we feel or imagine ourselves to think about right and wrong. It does not even consist in how we act. Rather, true morality consists in who we are. Another way of describing this is to understand true morality as the acquisition of virtue, the forming and shaping of our character in the image and likeness of Christ.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Intentionally building character means that we resolve to develop Christlike character: that is, we actively engage in putting certain character traits into our lives…God is always most interested in the building and developing of our character. He wants more than anything for us to love Him, worship Him, and grow to love others more purely…tragedy is the account of some strong human being who is destroyed by a single character flaw.” (Christine Wood, Ray and Nancy Kane, James C. Schaap)

“God’s glory is the revelation of His character and presence…The beginning point of faith is believing in God’s character...The foundation of human knowledge is the character of God as Creator.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 17:10, Hebrews 11:1, James Sire)

“Submerged as we are in a society that values fairness over justice, consuming over creating, fame over accomplishment, glamour over character, image over holiness, and entertainment over discernment, we need a blueprint for what life is meant to be…In His full humanity, Jesus showed us everything about God’s character that can be conveyed in human terms…When we committed to following Christ, we also committed to living our lives so that the world would catch a glimpse of God’s character.” (David Kinnaman, Life Application Study Bible, Philippians 2:5-7, Richard Stearns)

“Virtue is the “power” of a person to do the right thing in a given circumstance. That power is rooted in “character,” the formation of the personality such that its habits tend towards doing the right thing.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Chrysostom discussed marriage and family more than any other patristic writer. Although his thought belongs to antiquity, his wisdom about the role of parents in their children’s lives is surprisingly relevant for today. For example, when he chastises parents for their obsession with the worldly success of their children at the price of neglecting the moral formation of their character, Chrysostom speaks to us.” (Vigen Guroian)

“It seems today that the importance of character is largely diminished or forgotten in the public square. Education seems more about credentialing than education that helps form a person. We vacillate between the extremes of trying to make sweeping changes to large parts of society as a whole, which fosters more and more tribalism and division; or championing individual rights to the extreme with little to no thought or concern of how other persons and the surrounding community are affected negatively. Christ showed us how to value the person, to change hearts of persons, and to make men and women of character from all kinds of diverse backgrounds and sinful behaviors. The result of these changed hearts that became filled with His love literally changed persons, societies, the world for the better.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“God reminds us in different ways of His presence. We, however, quickly forget about it, especially when things are going well for us. We forget that we are here for a short time only, and we think that we will be around forever, but when misfortune strikes, we cry, “Lord have mercy!” This is why we should try hard to change our character for the better…That is why we must strive to improve our character while we are still in this life—we will pass into eternity with this very same character.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“Growing the soul is not at all an obvious thing…The soul is ever so much more about who we are, and the character of who we are than what we are and what we know.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Mere instruction in morality is not sufficient to nurture the virtues. It might even backfire, especially when the presentation is heavily exhortative and the pupil’s will is coerced. Instead, a compelling vision of the goodness of goodness itself needs to be presented in a way that is attractive and stirs the imagination. A good moral education addresses both the cognitive and affective dimensions of human nature. Stories are an irreplaceable medium for this kind of moral education—that is, the education of character.” (Vigen Guroian)

“Godliness is more than Christian character: It is Christian character that springs from a devotion to God. But it is also true that devotion to God always results in godly character…God wants His character and likeness to be reflected in your life." (Jerry Bridges, Colin Smith)

“...all parts of our lives and character should be in the process of becoming conformed, both inwardly and outwardly, to God’s standards....the revelation of the character and the person of God is the criterion for proper self-evaluation… God looks at a person’s actions and also at the attitudes of the heart…True knowledge of God resulting from an intimate relationship with Him will be demonstrated in a person’s character (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 1:14-16, Foundation Study Bible, Job 42:5, Psalms 24:4, Jeremiah 9:24)

"God's gracious promise in the Gospel of Christ either saves people or makes them hard and stubborn. Yet this hardness and stubbornness is of their own free will, for He never forces anyone to respond in faith. But He does make them the offer of peace…God did not create us as robots but gave us freedom of choice (Orthodox Study Bible, Deuteronomy 2:7, Abbot Tryphon)

“We make the decision as to whether the events of our life will serve as stepping stones or stumbling blocks…We cannot determine our emotions, but we can choose our attitudes and actions." (Maxie Dunnam, Gary Chapman)

“You are free to choose what you surrender to, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice." (Rick Warren)

“Trusting God is a decision, not a feeling…Because of the Holy Spirit’s witness and illumination, you never have to be alone in your decisions—but this is true only as long as you’re seeking the mind of God and wanting to do His will." (Dan Walsh, Tony Evans)

"Every time you make a choice you are turning into the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself." (C.S. Lewis)

“Your character is a product of the choices you make, and the reaction you have toward the circumstances in your life." (Tim Burns)

“Poor choices, whether morally, relationally or spiritually, lead to unrest, stress and anxiety...The choices we make determine the shape and color of our lives." (John DeMarco, Luis Palau)

“We need to realize that we are in control of our choices, no matter how we feel." (Henry Cloud and John Townsend)

“People continually blame God for their self-induced problems…Instead of blaming God, look for ways to grow through your bad choices and failures.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 8:21)

“We work hard to keep our outward appearance attractive, but what is deep down in our heart (where others can’t see) is more important to God.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 15:16-20)

“If you want someone to act a certain way, be sure that you live that way yourself. Then you will earn the right to be heard, and your life will reinforce what you teach.” (Life Application Study Bible, Titus 2:7,8)

“Whatever happened to self-discipline? Many books and speakers guide wandering souls to selffulfillment, self-satisfaction, and self-awareness. Not many tackle self-discipline. Self-discipline requires an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses. It means building a will to say no when a powerful appetite inside you screams yes…Self-discipline is a long steady course in learning attitudes that do not come naturally, and channeling natural appetites toward God’s purposes.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:25)

“What we say reveals what we are. If we can control what we say, we can control what we do." (The Orthodox Study Bible, James 3:1-12)

“A person’s lifestyle and relationships provide a window into his or her character.” (Life Application Study Bible, Titus 1:5-9)

“Our conduct speaks volumes about what we believe.” (Life Application Study Bible, Titus 1:15)

“The qualities we condemn in others are often our own character flaws…ask God to help you understand their feelings and see your own flaws more clearly. You may discover that in condemning others, you have been condemning yourself.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Samuel 12:5,6)

“Lying to one another disrupts unity by destroying trusty…Be committed to telling the truth.” (Life Application Study Bible, Colossians 3:9)​

“You conduct should match your faith.” (Life Application Study Bible, Colossians 3:10) “…strive to do what is right, and both God and people will respect your convictions.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Samuel 8:15)

“Each time we show compassion, our character is strengthened.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Samuel 9:7)

“…God’s perfect moral character highlights His glory and can be seen everywhere. God will never do anything that is not morally perfect. This reassures us that we can trust Him, yet it places demands on us. Our desire to be holy (dedicated to God and morally clean) is our only suitable response.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 93:5)

“We should live above reproach morally so that we will reflect God’s goodness to others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 5:8)

“Our lives, our actions, and our words together are meant to share the truth of the Gospel appropriate to our position and opportunities, even when not cast in “religious” terms.” (Dynamis 12/11/2012)

“One of the finest marks of the great servants of God, a characteristic that distinguishes them above the many, is the capacity to beseech God not to charge the faults of other brethren “against them” (Dynamis 12/12/2012)

“…always strive to have good character, and continually grow into a better and better person…How we treat others is of paramount importance and reveals our true character… As we grow in God our human character takes on more and more of God’s divine character…There is no life or existence apart from God. We are of God and in God. When we reject God we are rejecting existence itself in a sense.” (Sacramental Living)

“God’s principles for right living bring lasting happiness, because they guide us into long-term right behavior in spite of our ever changing feelings.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 10:2)

“It is wrong to think that we can separate spiritual life from everything else, obeying God only in some ethereal sense or living for Him only one day each week. Christ must control all of us, not just the “religious” part.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:23)

“Nothing but honesty is acceptable to God. When we pray, sing, speak or serve, nothing closes the door of God’s acceptance more than hypocrisy, lying or pretense.” (Life Application Study Bible, Jeremiah 5:3)

“If we live with the right heart, an authentic heart, despite any flaws we have, God helps us grow toward Him and in Him.” God helps us do this because our hearts are what are so important to Him and He is willing to help us overcome major flaws within ourselves in order to draw us closer to Him. The Bible reads in 1 Samuel 16:7 (or 1 Kingdom 16:7 LXX), ‘For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ “(Sacramental Living)

“Keeping your word and following through on assignments should be high on anyone’s priority list.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ruth 3:18)

“By hope we are empowered to confidently trust that all the good things promised us by God we shall obtain; that we will never be without the light and strength we need to fulfill the will of God; that no trials that God sends us will be greater than, with His grace, we can bear” (Father John Hardon)

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” (Helen Keller)

“Some think troubles are always caused by sin or lack of faith. Trials may be part of God’s plan for believers. Experiencing problems and persecutions can build character, perseverance, and sensitivity toward others who face trouble. Problems are unavoidable for God’s people. Your troubles may be a sign of effective Christian living.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-3)

“Some people turn to God with the hope of escaping suffering on earth. But God doesn’t promise that. Instead, He gives us power to grow through our sufferings.” (Life Application Study Bible,1 Thessalonians 3:2-5)

“Time and time again the spiritual decisions of the most consequence are faced by individuals alone” (Richard Mathews)

“Most of us can find compelling reasons to do or believe whatever suites our purposes. If we do not examine our ideas in light of God’s truth, however, we may just be self-serving.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 7:33, 34)

“Consider: in the positions we occupy: are we consistently functioning as Christ’s hands, eyes, and mouth? Are we speaking His truth through our words? This is not a matter of acting piously, but of being faithful to the Lord. We are to apply the grace we have in daily life.” (Dynamis 10/26/12)

“We all fail Christ. The Apostles did; the Saints did. But these persisted until the end. They stayed with the struggle. Maybe they had moments when they worried about appearances, about looking good - yes, even Saint Peter did that (Gal 2:11-13). However, the beauty of their lives in Christ was seen in the ability to weep and correct their behavior when they were wrong.” (Dynamis 11/5/2012)

“We can all be hypocrites sometimes…. saying one thing and doing another…even when we are striving to be sincere.” (Sacramental Living)

“A person who tries to do right but often fails is not a hypocrite. Neither are those who fulfill their duty even when they don’t feel like doing it. Often it is necessary to set aside our desires in order to do what needs to be done. It is not hypocrisy to be weak in faith. A hypocrite is a person who only puts on religious behaviors in order to gain attention, approval or admiration from others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 6:42)

“If we are critical rather than compassionate, we will also receive criticism. If we treat others generously, graciously, and compassionately, however, these qualities will come back to us in full measure.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 6:37, 38)

“We need to pay attention to ourselves first – to be learners about ourselves so that we grow spiritually in God’s grace and correct our own thoughts and behaviors before we are ready to help someone else do that for themselves.” (Sacramental Living)

“It is easy to get caught up in the externals. Beware of those who emphasize actions that we should or shouldn’t do, with no concern for the inward condition of the heart. Living a good life without an inward change leads to a shallow of empty spiritual walk. What matters to God is that we be completely changed from the inside out.” (Life Application Study Bible, Galatians 6:15)

“…we have freedom of choice but not freedom from choice... At any given moment in time we are always making choices. Even a choice not to choose is a choice.” (Sacramental Living)

“… let us see ourselves as persons accountable for our actions and choices.” (Dynamis 9/8/2013)

“…it’s the choices we make in response to our thoughts and actions that reveal our hearts and character.” (Sacramental Living)

“It’s our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities” (J.K. Rowling)

“We become what we are as persons by the decisions that we ourselves make” (Aristotle)

“We are not our own ultimate judges. Whereas we can and should judge our own behavior so that we may grow spiritually, God is our ultimate judge of our being…When I look back in all of the areas in my life and certain events when I have failed to be like Christ at any given time I can hardly judge anyone in good conscious.” (Sacramental Living)

“Following a life of pleasure and giving in to every sensual desire leads to slavery. Many think freedom consists of doing anything they want. But this path leads to slavish addiction to sensual gratification. A person is no longer feed but is a slave to what his or her body dictates. Christ frees us from the desires and control of sin.” (Life Application Study Bible, Titus 3:3)

“When exposed to ideas of opportunities that might lead to wrong desires, you have a choice. You can recognize the danger and turn away, or you can allow unhealthy thoughts to take you captive. You capture your fantasies and desires when you honestly admit them to the Lord and ask Him to redirect your thinking. Ask God to give you the spirit of discernment to keep your thoughts focused on His truth.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 10:5)

“Rather than physically preventing him from eating, God gave Adam a choice, and thus the possibility of choosing wrongly. God still gives us choices, and we, too, often choose wrongly. These wrong choices may cause us pain, but they can help us learn and grow and make better choices in the future. Living with the consequences of our choices teaches us to think and choose more carefully.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 2:15-17)

“ will was the first thing to suffer in the Fall, and thus is the first thing that needs healing...” (St. John of Damascus)

“One of the lessons of Genesis is that our ability to choose rightly has been damaged. No matter how hard we try, it is impossible to choose rightly (rightly being defined by according to God’s perfect and loving will) one hundred percent of the time. That is why we need to “graft” ourselves to Christ, be a branch to His Vine as He Himself puts it. Our only hope to choose rightly more and more is to deepen our relationship with Christ more and more.” (Sacramental Living II)

"We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves…It is Christ who gives us our real selves. That is why He tells us we must die to self. By choosing to die to self we make room, by our own free will, for Him to give us our true self. That is one of the things He meant when He said He came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10)." (Thomas Merton, Sacramental Living II)

“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him." (Jim Elliot)

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, because He fills all things. He observes both the evil and the good. The evil are good by nature but evil by choice, and He sees these choices. The good are good by nature and by choice, and He also sees this.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 15:3)

“...somehow God is present in the smallest choices of our lives and, to the extent that we can, we need to include Him in the choices.” (Albert S. Rossi)

“…we have freedom of choice but not freedom from choice... At any given moment in time we are always making choices. Even a choice not to choose is a choice.” (Sacramental Living)

“God does not usually stop us from making wrong choices that are against His will. He lets us choose independence from Him, even though He knows that in time we will become slaves to our own rebellious choices—we will lose our freedom not to sin." (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 1:24-32)

“Love compelled is not love at all. Authentic love is a free choice. God allows us to choose whether or not we will love Him and do His will. That is the compliment. That is the ultimate stroke of godlikeness that we possess.” (Thomas Williams)

“Daily we must consciously choose to center our life on God.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 8:5,6)

“…we must be ever alert to what is taking place within ourselves, to every transaction of the heart and the will.” (Dynamis 8/4/2013)

“If you can’t control what you think, you will not be able to control what you do…There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” (Faith In God, Freya Stark)

“We change our moral and ethical behavior by letting Christ live within us, so that He can shape us into what we should be.” (Life Application Study Bible, Colossians 3:1-25)

“When we committed to following Christ, we also committed to living our lives so that the world would catch a glimpse of God’s character.” (Richard Stearns)

“How we treat others is of paramount importance and reveals our true character…We derive strength of character through our relationship to Christ.” (Sacramental Living)

“… He [the Holy Spirit] makes Jesus Christ a living, bright reality, transforming our character, giving us new inner poise, clarity, humility, boldness, contentment, and courage. All of this leads to increasing wisdom as the years go by, and to better and better professional and personal decisions.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“A person’s thoughts and plans reflect his or her character…Evil thoughts lead to evil deeds.” (Life Application Study Bible, Micah 2:1,2)

“Christian ethics is about attaining freedom, which does not mean the freedom to do whatever we want but rather the power to do the right thing.” (Stratford Caldecott)

“What we do shows what we really believe.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 27;9,10)

"People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest." (Herman Hesse)

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

“The words that we speak are the measure of what is inside us. As most of us are filled with nonsense rather than wisdom, silence is our best recourse.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)

“The wise speak only of what they know” (J.R.R. Tolkien)

“We may be tempted to believe that some lies are relatively harmless, even useful at times. But God does not overlook lies, flattery, deception, or boasting. Each of these sins originates from a bad attitude that is eventually expressed in our speech. The tongue can be our greatest enemy because, though small, it can do great damage." (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 12:2-4)

“Some people talk a lot about faith, but that’s all it is—talk. They may know all the right words to say, but their lives don’t reflect God’s power...the Kingdom of God is to be lived, not just discussed. There is a big difference between knowing the right words and living them out.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 4:18-20)

“… God has implanted within each of us a conscience, and with it we become responsible for our own actions and chargeable with the responsibility to do mercy, seek justice and walk humbly before our God.” (John B. Anderson)​

​“How easy it is to overlook personal accountability and blame our problems on God and others. Unfortunately, this does not solve our problems. It brings us no closer to God, and it escorts us to the very edge of rebellion and backsliding. When problems come, the first place to look is within. Our immediate response should be confession to God of sins that may have created our problems.” (Life Application Study Bible, Judges 6:13)

“How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.” (Edward Benson)

“The essence of the Christian life has more to do with the inner life of the soul than with external conduct’…Our external conduct is merely leading edge of watching; the real work of being attentive takes place inside us.” (Archimandrite Ioannikios, Dynamis 2/13/2014)

“As people who have light from the Lord, our actions should reflect our faith.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 5:8)

“Free choice is the ground of our life in Christ…but this subordination is offered in full freedom… let us ever commit ourselves to keeping our lives centered on that which the Lord directs, commands, asks, and explains” (Dynamis 3/19/2014)

“God’s plan works through our choices, not around or despite them. Our choices have consequences, and we are never forced by God to do anything—we always do what we most want to do. God works out His will perfectly through our willing actions.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“We have a very warped concept of the law in our culture. For us freedom is often seen as anarchy: untrammeled freedom of choice. But freedom to choose as though every choice were equally good makes sense only in a world without consequences. But ours is a moral universe, not a lawless one. It is made, designed, and that creation is “very good” (Genesis 1:31).” (Hieromonk Maximos)

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.” (C. S. Lewis)

“Every choice for good sets into motion other opportunities for good. Evil choices follow the same pattern, but in the opposite direction.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 13:6) ​

“From time to time, each of us needs a spiritual ‘wake-up call’. It can come in different forms. For some, it comes when tragedy strikes. For others, aging itself reminds them of the finiteness of this life. For others, illness or disability may be the ‘wake-up call’. In troubled economic times, it may take the form of loss of a house or job. Whatever it is, we will all receive one of these ‘wake-up’ calls at some point in our lives…Each of us has a choice how to react to our spiritual ‘wake-up calls’.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

"[E]very time you make a choice you are turning into the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself….Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other." (C. S. Lewis)

“Many forces oppose us whenever we seek to draw closer to Christ. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this battle takes place within ourselves as we endeavor to submit our every choice and action to the Lord. (Dynamis 5/17/2014)

“...we will not know the full purpose and importance of our lives until we are able to look back from the perspective of eternity. We must make our choices with God’s eternal values in mind. Taking moral shortcuts and living for short-range pleasures are not good ways to move ahead." (Life Application Study Bible, Ruth 4:16-17)

“Jesus wants us to choose to follow Him rather than to lead a life of sin and self-satisfaction. He wants us to stop trying to control our own destiny and to let Him direct us." (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 8:35)

“But if you live long enough and you are honest enough with yourself, you will know beyond any doubt that there are things in your heart that will bite you and even shock you. You’ll say, “I didn’t know I was capable of that.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Often we fail to know God’s will because...we resist the implications of what He requires. We confuse ourselves with rationalizations, blinding our hearts to the truth we don’t want to face. And we become so good at self-deception that we don’t even recognize the gyrations of our minds that bring it about.” (Thomas Williams)

“It is impossible for the mind not to be troubled by wicked thoughts. But if we exert ourselves it is within our power either to accept them and give them our attention, or to expel them. Their coming is not within our power to control, but their expulsion is." (Abba Moses of Scetis)

“You have … the power and the weapons to conquer the thoughts that attack your heart and mind...But do not destroy evil thoughts as soon as they assail your mind, then you show that it is from lack of faith that you love the pleasure of these thoughts and keep company with them." (St. Mark the Ascetic)

“It is impossible to stop our mind, which is ever-moving, from having thoughts, although it is within our power to feed it either with spiritual meditation or with worldly concerns." (Abba Moses of Scetis)​

"Sometimes we act, rather than act. If we stop, think, and then act, we will have more continuity in our lives." (Marianne C. Sailus)

“The ability to master our mouths, watch our words and tame our tongues demonstrates a level of spiritual and emotional maturity. The opposite is true as well. An inability to control our speech shows immaturity, and it can inflict great harm on our relationships.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

​"Sanctity and perfection consist not in fine words, but in good actions." (Bl. Henry Suso)

"The Christian life must be one where what comes out of the mouth matches the actions of the person. God wants both our words and actions to reflect our discipleship. This is not an easy task, and one, I dare say, that probably few people ever achieve. Only with the Lord to guide our thoughts and actions can we even imagine this to happen. But it is not an impossible task, for God will give us the strength and perseverance to follow through with it." (Marianne C. Sailus)

"Perform all your actions in union with the pure intention and perfect love with which Our Lord did all things for the glory of God and the salvation of the world." (St. Mechtildis)

“…the root cause of all sin and evil in ourselves,… is self-absorption…” (Sacramental Living)

“We are so instinctively and profoundly self-centered that we don’t believe we are.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“It’s awkward to put it so boldly, but there is more self-centeredness, more sin, in us than we want to believe...for most of us, the self-centeredness and sin of our hearts has not led to overt acts of violence and cruelty, it has still caused misery for the people around us, and it has kept us from serving the God who created us and to whom we owe everything.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“When people refuse to see how fortunate they are and begin to take God’s gifts for granted, they become self-centered. Regularly remember God’s goodness and thank Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Micah 6:5)

“Nowhere in God’s wisdom is there the ethic of putting ourselves first. The correct order of wisdom, therefore, considers our Creator, God, procreators, our parents, and then others and this is the proper sequence for a well-ordered life.” (Father Patrick Henry Reardon)

God looks into the spirit with which we treat others…if we strive to keep the Lord’s way in this present life, “the lawlessness of Jacob will be removed” …God’s ultimate will is for our great good. (Dynamis 4/10/2013)

“Man's soul is good by nature, and the fruits of righteousness manifest themselves naturally from the soul. But lawlessness is willful and prevents these natural fruits from showing themselves. Unless this man corrects himself, he will destroy his own good nature.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 13:2)

“Every choice for good sets into motion other opportunities for good. Evil choices follow the same pattern, but in the opposite direction. Each decision you make to obey God will bring a greater sense of order to your life, while each decision to disobey will bring confusion and destruction. The right choices you make reflect your integrity.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 13:6)

“Every day has 24 hours filled with opportunities to grow, serve, and be productive. Yet it is so easy to waste time, letting life slip from our grasp…See time as God’s gift, and seize your opportunities to live diligently for Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 10:4,5)​

“Most people spend hours each week maintaining their outward appearance; they should do even more to develop their inner character.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Samuel 16:7)​

“A perfect man would never act from sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people)—like a crutch, which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times: but of course it’s idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits etc.) can do the journey on their own!” (C.S. Lewis)​

“While being concerned about what we put into our bodies is a good healthy practice, very few people are as stringent about what they put into their minds through reading or watching television…Do you worry about foods you eat, but put “junk food” in your mind.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 7:18,19)​

“What we nourish and feed our minds with is important too.” (Sacramental Living)​

“We should often feed our minds with books about people’s personal accounts of doubt and faith and stories rooted in a Christian worldview. In other words, we must live sacramentally to know God and to keep our struggle fresh and alive because spiritual growth and an eventual sense of conviction come through persistence and struggle.” (Sacramental Living)​

“It’s ironic to me that when people want to get fit, they put in effort to diet and exercise. If they want to make more money, they put in effort to work harder and/or educate themselves more. But for some reason they don’t translate this same level of effort into what is most important in life – their relationship with God.” (Sacramental Living)​

“Our witness for Christ goes beyond words of our mouths to the way we live and the way we die; the totality of what we are and what we do.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Philippians 1:19-21) “Live so others can see Christ in you.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Timothy 4:12)​

“We find true wealth by developing our spiritual life, not by developing our financial assets. God is interested in what is lasting (our souls) not in what is temporary (our money and possessions).” (Life Application Study Bible, James 1:9-11)​

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)​

“We must seek His [Christ’s] righteousness before we demonstrate it to others and let His light shine in us before we can be lights ourselves.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 42:6,7)​

“...habits of mind create habits of action, and habits of action are what create character.” (“Bishop John Michael Botean)

“He who guards his mouth keeps his own soul.” (Proverbs 13:3)​

“You have not mastered self-control if you do not control what you say…stop and think before you react or speak” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 13:3)​

“The greatest necessity of all is to control and curb our tongue. The mover of the tongue is the heart: what fills the heart is poured out through the tongue. And conversely, when feeling is poured out of the heart by the tongue, it becomes strengthened and firmly rooted in the heart. Therefore the tongue is one of the chief factors in building up our inner disposition.” (St. Theophan the Recluse)

“What we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions…Examine what you are putting your mind through television, Internet, books, conversations, movies, and magazines. Replace harmful input with wholesome material. Above all read God’s Word and pray. Ask God to help focus your mind on what is good and pure. It takes practice, but it can be done.” (Life Application Study Bible, Philippians 4:8)​

“Other than personal struggles and tragedies in our own lives, we seem to get most of our negative view of the world from the news media. There are approximately seven billion people in the world. When is the last time someone came on the news and said, “the majority of the people in the world went about their lives today and didn’t murder, molest or rob anybody; in fact, many of them even acted with kindness and benevolence to others at various times throughout the day… this sense of morbidity the news dwells on can distort our viewpoint if that is what we primarily feed our minds.” (Sacramental Living)

“We live within the flow of time as the events of our lives bear us along. We leave behind situations that once seemed permanent only to confront new demands and circumstances. This onward sweep of life infuses urgency into our daily decisions and actions. We are constantly pressed to accomplish, achieve, arrange, decide, fix. Delay only compounds our difficulties…The incessant flux of life forces us to ask ourselves which tasks to address first. What is most important? Which efforts must be set aside so that we may attend to a more urgent concern?” (Dynamis 12/30/2014)

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