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God's Will vs Self Will

“What lies hidden in the designs of God I confess I do not know—I am only a man—but this I know with full certainty, that, whatever it is, it is more just, more wise, and more solidly based on incomparable perfection than all the judgments of people….God’s will is determined by His wisdom which always perceives, and His goodness which always embraces, the intrinsically good.” (St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis)

“The story of Isaac blessing his son Jacob illustrates the intense meaning of what we might think of as “mere words.” I’ve often wondered: If Jacob deceived his father in order to receive his blessing, why couldn’t Isaac take back the blessing and bestow it on his older son Esau? Why couldn’t Isaac simply rescind his words? The answer to my question lies in the fact that God’s will is always accomplished—despite my human expectations, despite my sense of fairness. God knew the inner character of the two brothers. In His infinite wisdom, He chose Jacob to be the next patriarch. God knew Jacob’s heart and found him worthy of this calling instead of Esau, who had rightful ownership of the blessing as the firstborn.” (Archpriest Steven John Belonick)

“The most significant aspect of the Romantic movement was the emergence of the self as the center of consciousness.…egocentric thinking can infect our spiritual life and harm our relationship with God. We develop an immature spirituality. We may begin to believe, on an unconscious level, that somehow we can make good or bad things happen based on whether we pray or don’t pray, sin or don’t sin. We end up believing that we have control that we do not. We feel the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and somehow it is all on us to stop bad things from happening.” (Gregory Wolfe, Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“…if we find our security in God, we should also put our confidence in His wisdom. The Hebrew text uses a compelling image to describe the opposite of such reliance. It cautions us, “lean not on your own understanding” (NKJV Proverbs 3:5). The Hebrew term refers to supporting oneself. But “leaning” suggests that if this prop were suddenly removed from us, we would fall over. Thus, our own understanding is contrary to the dependability of God’s wisdom. It is unreliable.” (Fr. Basil)

“Joseph reminds us that God uses our cooperation to accomplish His gracious purposes in the world. That was certainly the case in the Old Testament:  Abraham, Moses, David, and countless others responded to God’s initiative, and He worked through them, despite their many failings. And through the free response of a teenaged Palestinian Jewish girl came the Messiah in Whom the ancient promises to the descendants of Abraham are fulfilled and extended to the entire world.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“We don’t put ourselves forward; we are put forward. We don’t choose ourselves for the role we have in life; we are chosen. We do not forge our destiny; we submit to it.” (Phillip Goggans)

“In The Lord of the Rings, characters who understood and accepted they were being put forward, no matter what the circumstance, understood consciously or unconsciously that providential power was at work. These characters’ actions came to a good outcome for them and others. Characters who put themselves forward did so out of willfulness and pride. Although not all of these characters were evil, and their willful choices often resulted in good to others due to providence at work, the results for them personally were not good. Tolkien understood deeply the importance of subordinating and aligning our will to God’s will.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“Christ freely aligned His human will in every aspect with the divine will of the Father, and we are called to do likewise.” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 5:30)“God gives us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. The secret to a changed life is to submit to God’s control and let Him work.” (Life Application Study Bible, Philippians 2:13)

“No one knows what the future holds, whether in one day or in a single hour. More often than not, we encounter events that are unforeseen and unsuspected. You cannot rely on the constancy of your helping wind: sometimes it pushes you along, but it more often suddenly turns into a contrary wind or a fierce storm. Every way is a potential path for the Christian. He believes everything that happens to him does so according to God’s will.” (St. Ignatii Brianchaninov)

“Knowing the will of God is one of the most delicate and complicated matter of our lives, especially for those who are trying to find it through prayer. For although His will is revealed according to Thy words: “Ask, seek, knock, and it shall be given you”, yet it requires patience, trials, temptations and [ascetic] experience, to extinguish man’s own will and passions that cannot withstand the inexpressible tenderness and sensitivity of divine grace.” (Elder Joseph the Hesychast)

“Great changes occur continually in every aspect of our lives – physical, social, and spiritual. Most are beyond our control, for they begin and end with God. The first task of a servant of Christ is to “look unto the Lord our God, until He take pity on us” (Ps 122:2). We are to discern what God wills and how He is calling us to act. Such watchfulness must be continual. Otherwise, the heart may be wounded and our birth in the new life in Christ will be disrupted, injured, or possibly stillborn.” (Dynamis 3/9/2018)

“We will recognize that, whether we like it or not, what happens happens; to be upset about it is useless, and moreover deprives us of the crown of patience and shows us to be in revolt against the will of God.” (St. Peter of Damaskos)

“Every time my life spirals downward and I go the wrong way, I can trace the problem back to a moment I began to rely on my own good intentions rather than on God…How can we make sure our good intentions aren’t the enemy of God’s best for our lives? Simply, through devoted and single-minded love for God. That love enables me to be humble about my own plans and ideas, and it sets me free to trust my circumstances to Him. Love for God causes me to let go of my own desires and dreams in favor of His will for my life, and this love must be nurtured if I am going to avoid paving a road to hell with my good intentions. This love isn’t a feeling. Rather, it is my willful choice to embrace honest intimacy with God.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“When we turn our hearts toward the Lord, our desires will change to match His will. Then He delights to give us our desires because they are right things which will lead to wholeness and goodness (Psalms 37:4). Without God, we don’t have the wisdom to know what we should long for.” (Foundation Study Bible, Psalms 78:29)

"The chief purpose of life, for any one of us is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks." (J.R.R. Tolkien)

"All that God gives us and all that He permits in this world have no other end than to sanctify us in Him." (St. Catherine of Siena)

“Knowing the will of God is not simply a vehicle for finding the right vocation for a life’s work. While vocation is important, it is only a small part of God’s will. The will of God must be thought of in more comprehensive terms. The will of God is for everyone to live in such a way as to bring honor and glory to God. For different people God may have very different things in mind.” (Foundation Study Bible, Psalms 40:8)

"Let me be attentive to God’s subtle call in my heart, which grows stronger when I pay attention. “Thy kingdom come,” I say to Him today, “Thy will be done,” and please, help me to not get in the way." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

"If we strive for this, to know God and do His will, then there will never, ever, be a point in our spiritual life where we can say “I have given enough to God or to others for the sake of Christ.” (Archimandrite Sergius)

“When we closely examine our hearts, we must discern whether we are filled with a strong sense of self-importance or we see ourselves as the least of all. If we think highly of ourselves, that sense of personal importance can lead us to expect everything to go exactly as we think it should. We want to control the whole of our life. This sense of entitlement leads us to demand that everything be as we wish it, and we replace God’s will with our own.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Searching out God’s will demands alertness of spirit. Let us set aside the belief that we are in charge...When we place the details of our lives in Christ’s hands, seeking His will and accepting our Lord as the Governor of our life’s path, we will discover the joy of having an infallible Guide manage our choices at every moment.” (Dynamis 8/5/2015)

“Parents naturally want to see their children promoted and honored, but this desire is dangerous if it causes them to stand in the way of God’s specific will for their children. God may have different work in mind for them—perhaps not as glamorous but just as important. Thus, parents’ desires for their children’s advancement must be held in check as they pray that God’s will be done in their children’s lives.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 20:20)

“I might not understand what “God’s will” is in my various situations, prospects, relationships, and so on. And that’s OK, because figuring out God’s will is not a commandment. Desiring it is.” (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

"How does God become a real part of my life? This doesn’t automatically happen, even if I seem to be doing the “right” things: I may be a model church-goer, sing in the church-choir, contribute to the bake sales, put up the candles, support the “right” kind of political causes, and so on. But none of this “automatically” makes God the transformative, grace-filling, all-encompassing Presence and Power in my everyday life, -if I don’t give up playing God myself. I must give up, and cry out to Him, and do so on a daily basis." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“It is time for us to cease trusting in our own power, glory, and sovereignty, as if we somehow exist through our own efforts… God loves the entire world and gives grace to all. Our earthly skills and abilities come from God...God tries our works and plans…and tests our talents, capacities, and abilities. Let us humbly offer them to God, submitting to His will.” (OCPM 12/8/2016)

"Your new self (which is Christ's & also yours) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him." (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“This is a recurring problem for many of us—seeking God’s approval of our desires rather than asking Him for guidance. It’s not good to make plans unless we are willing to have God change them, and it is not good to pray unless we are willing to accept God’s answer.” (Life Application Study Bible, Jeremiah 43:1-3)

“As is so often the case, self-will prevails…Let us reflect before the Lord on how self-will governs our lives. Whenever we defy the will of God, the consequences inevitably expose the futility of following our own judgment.” (OCPM 11/22/2016)

“Self-will is “hard of hearing.” It does not want to listen to the word of the Lord, nor to know that He desires mercy for us…Self-will diminishes our ability to hear. To hear and to turn means to change our own self-will into these words, “Thy will be done. O Lord, in Thy mercy, help me!” (OCPM 11/2/2016)

“Do I just “hear” His words, as I did yesterday morning in church, and then go about my business from Monday to Saturday, as if everything in my life depended on my own words, my own will, and my own “lights”? Yes, sometimes I do slip into self-reliance, and dependency on human word and opinion. And this God-less attitude, sometimes very subtle, can bring horrible disappointment.” (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Hear Me and . . . attend [your] ear” (Jeremiah 7:23). God speaks here of the interaction between the mind, emotions, will, and heart. If we are to hear and obey God, all of these elements must work together. Hearing the Lord begins with the “ear” of the heart. The attentive heart will “call upon wisdom” (Prv 2:3) and “you will incline your heart to understanding” (vs. 2:2). Our thoughts and emotions fall into line behind what the God- instructed heart knows and obeys as truth.” (OCPM 10/8/2016)

“We need to push “pause” often and avoid reacting to the latest and loudest. Rather, we need to remember Jesus and then gain some perspective on what He wants us to do next. The Lord expects us to live a life of love for Him and for others.” (Albert S. Rossi)

“...for it is those who not only hear but also do the will of God that are the true believers” (Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 10:7)“Right thinking produces right actions. Our actions are the fruit of our deepest thoughts…Right action requires “the working together of divine grace and the human will.” (Foundation Study Bible, Philippians 2:5, Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos)

“We reveal ourselves to be true members of His [God’s] family by cooperating with divine salvation and striving to do “the will of God.” (Dynamis 9/4/2014)

“God wants to enter into our heart, and He requires only our permission and cooperation. This relationship does not require an emotional response, for, as with all relationships, we are not always open to an emotional response. Being real with God is far more important than being emotional, since emotions can be contrived and fleshly. As in all relationships, there are times when we do feel moved by emotions, but the lack of such feelings in no way represents a lack of love for God..." (Abbot Tryphon)

“...God comes into our lives when we invite Him with all our being, opening the gates of our heart from the inside. He will not come uninvited... The moment you are willing to give over your whole self to God- surrendering your life, your loved ones, your health, your victories and defeats, He will come to you and help you in ways you never dreamed possible.” (Fr. Vojislav Dosenovich)

“The flight away from self to God is not a "forgetting self" in the sense that man thereby loses himself. Rather, in the experience of the Spirit there is bestowed on man the deepest possible experience of himself: for the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of revelation which illuminates the human spirit, in which it is immanent, by telling man what he is.” (Hans Urs von Balthasar)

"The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become - because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own." (C. S. Lewis)

“It is a surrendering of our fleshly will (our gnomic will) to the will of God, which involves our spiritual will (our noetic will). This comes through kenosis, emptying ourselves of our theories, our carnal thoughts, our opinions, and our sins before God. When we do this, the Holy Spirit shows us who we really are: one made in His image, our true-self, a child of God in all splendor and glory.” (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)

“As we become more like Jesus through our humility, obedience, and communion, we all begin to manifest more of our true-self.” (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)

“Surrender is not passive but active. Surrender is opening my hands and heart to be filled by God...This is called surrender of the self…The Lord wants us to joyfully desire His way, His plans, His will.” (Albert S. Rossi)

“To deny oneself means to give up one’s bad habits; to root out of the heart all that ties us to the world; not to cherish bad thoughts or desires; to suppress every evil thought; not to desire to do anything out of self love, but to do everything out of love for God.” (St. Innocent of Alaska)

“God also asks us to surrender our will to Him, to hand over control of our life, and not to hold the reins ourselves but be led where He wills.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“We want to do God’s will, but we are not always sure what this involves. Sometimes we make a decision that we feel is right but then circumstances change after we come upon an unexpected fork in the road, and we do not know what to choose...God knows that we do not know everything. He designed it this way, so that we would have more faith in Him rather than relying only on ourselves” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“God reveals of our long road only what we need to know in order to take the next step but not all that will happen in the thousands of steps that follow….Only God sees the whole Story. We are in the deep valley of a single letter or crawling like ants across a field.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“Perhaps another way to think about fear and trust [in God] is through analogy. A useful one is of soldiers on the ground and a soldier in a plane in the sky. The soldiers traveling on the ground can only see so far ahead and behind of themselves. The soldier providing air cover has a greater perspective and can see if the ones on the ground are heading towards danger or not. If they trust their counterpart in the sky to guide them, the soldiers on the ground will be able to navigate better through danger.” (Sacramental Living)

“As for knowing God’s will...God’s will is our sanctification, our being set apart to the Lord as His special possession. We are being sanctified as we walk with Him in faith and obedience.” (1Thessalonians 4:1-12)

“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)"We should be aware that if we start rationalizing something, it is likely not a proper thing to do or to have done.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“All that is needed to discover the will of God and to do it is the pure desire to see, to hear, to understand and to obey. God does the rest.” (Father Thomas Hopko)

“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)

“God’s will is not something that we can list like a set of rules or instructions and then try to follow legalistically. That’s making it humanistic by reducing it to something we can deal with strictly intellectually…. We come to understand God’s will for us through our hearts through continual prayer, repentance, obedience and humility born out of love for the Lord.” (Sacramental Living)

“Sinning is altogether the wrong use of free will, and the most dangerous wrong use is arrogance…”(Orthodox Study Bible, Psalm 35(36))We must disown the tyrannical rule of our own self-centeredness.” (Life Application StudyBible, John 12:25)

“The root cause of all sin and evil in ourselves and in the world is self-absorption. The Greek word Hades, often used in the New Testament, means emptiness. When we are self-centered, self-absorbed to the point where we are consumed with ourselves, there is no room for God and we are indeed empty and beyond all help because we can no longer even see or acknowledge the truth – all by our own choice. The biggest obstacle to our spiritual growth is our ego (“Ease God Out), self-focus and self-absorption. Only real humility brings deep joy and satisfaction because it keeps us from becoming maniacally self-absorbed.” (Herald January 2012)

"God's timeline is never the same as ours, He works to bring about His purposes." (Gordon T. Smith)

“If we cultivate responsiveness to God’s presence, develop the habit of asking and waiting on God, divine management can be the characteristic of our lives….Searching for God’s will demands being alert in spirit….Let us be humble, set aside the belief that we are in charge and embrace humility. If we will place the details of our lives in Christ’s hands, choose to seek His will in all things, and accept our Lord as the Governor of the details of life, we will discover the joy of having the one, true, infallible Guide manage our choices and our paths every moment.” (Dynamis, 8/14/2012)

“The book of Genesis gives us rich descriptions of the lives of many great men and women who walked with God. They sometimes succeeded and often they failed…Where did they get their motivation and courage? They got it by realizing God was with them despite their inadequacies. Knowing this should encourage us to be faithful to God, to rely on Him for guidance and utilize the potential He has given us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 50:26)

“God doesn’t call people who are qualified. He calls people who are willing, and then He qualifies them.” (Richard Parker)"Only as man brings his life into harmony with God does that life have balance and meaning. Then man finds that he is not simply a mass of dancing dirt, coming from nowhere and going nowhere.” (Henry Schmidt)

“Some praise life in the desert, others life in monasteries, still others a place of authority among people, to instruct and teach them and organize churches where many may find food for body and soul. I would not give preference to any of these, nor to say that one is worthy of praise and another of censure. In all ways of life, blessed is the life lived for God and according to God in all actions and works." (St. Symeon the New Theologian)

“To deny oneself means to give up one’s bad habits; to root out of the heart all that ties us to the world; not to cherish bad thoughts and desires; to suppress every evil thought; to avoid occasions of sin; not to desire or to do anything out of self-love, but to do everything out of love for God." (St. Innocent of Alaska)

“God will not force itself upon a person, even to save his or her soul. Rather, God and His servants respect the gift of free will so much that they will only guide and guard and leave the decision to the individual.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“He [God] is not one who forces relationship. He is too respectful.” (William Paul Young)"A sincere purpose to please God will result in an alignment of your desires with God’s desires.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 97:10)

“God allows peoples to participate with Him in carrying out His will.” (Life Application Study Bible, Exodus 40:16)

“Fallen man now has a fallen will, thus we have a tendency to run away from God. But the grace of Christ heals the will of those who return to Him through repentance, so we might freely pursue God and do His will.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Genesis 3:8)

“Adam and Even were not ready to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and still needed to grow and mature before they could handle it. But they gave into the hunger of selfwill… This ceasing of hunger for God is what happened to Adam and Eve and continues to this day in most of us...We all hunger or gravitate toward things that are not part of God…Christ repairs our hunger and restores our true vocation… When we partake of Holy Communion, we are properly redirecting our hunger back to God and having union with Him. Communion with Christ is continual reparation of sin. It was Adam and Eve’s improper direction or their hunger to seek life apart from God that led to sin.” (Sacramental Living)

“Our default is to choose self over God and self over others, and our fleshly desires wreak havoc in our lives and our relationships.” (Kasey Van Norman)

"And what does it mean to pray effectively? It does not so much have to do with outcomes as it does to move us from our own self-centeredness and tendency toward self-will and align us with God’s good and perfect will.” (Sacramental Living)

“We must become so close to God that we become restless until God’s will is accomplished through us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 132:2-5)

“People who reject Jesus’ claims have a greater problem than intellectual doubt; they are rebelling against Christ’s control of their lives.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 11:27-33)"One cannot love God and disobey His commandments. To love God is to obey Him” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 15:10)

“A lot of people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.” (Unknown)

“At times it is tempting to take matters into our own hands, to force the issue. Most often such moves lead to sin. Instead, we must trust God to work out his plan.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 18:10,11)

“The simple desire to know and follow God's will is the key to understanding it. Spiritual blindness comes from unwillingness to know God or to recognize His authority.” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 7:17)

“He (God) can give us Himself only insofar as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls.” (C. S. Lewis)

“Christ freely aligned His human will in every aspect with the divine will of the Father, and we are called to do likewise.” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 5:30)

"God’s will is revealed to us through the circumstances which surround us." (Abbess Arsenia)

"God will always work His will." (Life Application Study Bible, Jonah 4:11)

“There are so many things that compete with God in our lives." (Richard Stearns)

“Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We"have all we want” is a terrible saying when"all” does not include God. We find God an interruption.” (C. S. Lewis)

“What one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life." (C. S. Lewis)

“I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work.” (Henri Nouwen)

“When we understand that He [God] is Lord of our time, we realize that interruptions are of His planning. They become opportunities to serve rather than plagues to keep us from functioning.” (Karen Mains)

“The stronger our belief, the more likely our prayers will be in line with God’s will.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 21:22)

“God will not grant requests contrary to His nature or His will, and we cannot use his name as a magic formula to fulfill our selfish desires. If we are sincerely following God and seeking to do His will, then our requests will be in line with what He wants, and He will grant them.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 14:14)

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing....If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (Jesus Christ, John 15:5,7)

“…submission of our entire self is necessary for attaining the rule of God within. No aspect of life may be left aside simply because doing God’s will is difficult.” (Dynamis 6/3/2013)"To walk out of His [God’s] will is to walk into nowhere.” (C.S. Lewis)

“The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” (William Booth)

“The choice to possess the kingdom of God with unwavering trust, a struggle to which we are called in Christ, is never forced on anyone…To follow the Lord truly is each person’s choice.” (Dynamis 6/1/2013)

“Deep in our hearts, being self-willed, we tend to rebel and protest, but it is necessary to subject our hearts, souls and actions to the will of God.” (Dynamis 6/6/2013)

"Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." (Pope John Paul II)

"The Christian teaching does not offer a choice between fulfillment and sacrifice but rather mutual fulfillment through mutual sacrifice." (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“God doesn’t force his will on anyone. He lets us decide whether to follow him or reject him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 30:19,20)

“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.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Deuteronomy 2:7)

“Christianity is a need and a comfort which appeals principally to the heart, not to the mind alone… The mind's curiosity is insatiable; but he who feels in his heart the craving for faith, and tastes of its comfort, will receive it quickly and with ease." (St. Innocent of Moscow)

"Our hearts harden over time as we grow more distant from ourselves and allow the busyness of the world to consume our attention.” (Christine Valters Paintner)

“...success to God... is based on a person’s heart.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 21:1)

“Keep away from self-love, the mother of the vices...Therefore, as was said, one must necessarily keep away from and do battle with this self-love with full determination, for when this is overcome then are all its offspring likewise brought into line." (St. Maximus the Confessor)

“...the soul becomes apathetic when sick with self-indulgence. (St. Thalassios the Libyan)

“We do not exist for ourselves.” (Thomas Merton)

“The hardest thing of all is the initial choice to live such a life, oriented towards God instead of self. Once that initial choice is made, it needs to be remade continuously, but these subsequent choices become easier with time.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)

“When we truly understand who Christ is, our pride and self-importance melt away.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 1:28)

“It’s easy to slip into a quiet rebellion—going about life in your own way. But the time comes when you have to choose who or what will control you. The choice is yours. Will it be God, your own limited personality, or another imperfect substitute?” (Life Application Study, Joshua 24:15)

“Modern people like to see freedom as the complete absence of any constraints. But think of a fish. Because a fish absorbs oxygen from water, not air, it is free only if it is restricted to water. If a fish is"freed” from the river and put out on the grass to explore, its freedom to move and soon even to live is destroyed. The fish is not more free, but less free, if it cannot honor the reality of its nature.... Freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, those that fit with the realities of our own nature and those of the world." (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"The real God, the God who reveals Himself, is … a God who requires repentance and fidelity, perseverance and stability. He requires me to stop doing things I enjoy, like gossip and overeating as ways of keeping anxiety or fear at bay. Instead He calls on me to cut off fear in a deliberate choice to trust Him, to cast my anxious mind into the fire of His love, to risk everything for Him.” (Hieromonk Maximos)

“God is interested not only in saving us but also in helping us in our daily activities.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 5:8)

"Now, here is a really important thing to understand. If you lay down all of these things in the service of Christ and his kingdom, He won’t necessarily take them away from you. He doesn’t ask us all to quit our jobs, leave our homes, and have an estate sale to liquidate all our earthly possessions. No, He only asks that we turn all of those decisions over to Him.” (Richard Stearns)

"It is crucial to act in accord with God’s will in all things." (Dynamis 9/28/2013)

“To take all that we are and have and hand it over to God may not be easy; but it can be done; and when it is done, the world has in it one less candidate for misery.” (Paul Scherer)

“Those who don’t follow Christ have only their own self-determination as their source of power. By contrast, God is at the center of a Christian’s life. God supplies the power for a Christian’s daily living. Believers find that their whole way of looking at the world changes when they come to Christ.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 7:4)

“Thy will be done.” But a great deal of it is to be done by God’s creatures; including me. The petition, then, is not merely that I may patiently suffer God’s will but also that I may vigorously do it. I must be an agent as well as a patient. I am asking that I may be enabled to do it.” (C. S. Lewis)

"A purpose which we create for ourselves will never move us to the devotion of the man who knows he has been created for a purpose beyond himself” (Gracia Fay Ellwood)

“Why is it so tempting to"love pleasure rather than God”? Pleasure is something we can control; God cannot be controlled. Most pleasures can be obtained easily; love for God requires effort and sometimes sacrifice…Pleasure has a narcotic effect; it takes our minds off ourselves and our problems. Love for God reminds us of our needs and our responsibilities.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Timothy 3:4)

“The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call"ourselves,” to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be"good.” We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way—centered on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do.” (C.S. Lewis)

“God wants us to enjoy life. When we have the proper view of God, we discover that real pleasure is found in enjoying whatever we have as gifts from God, not in what we accumulate.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:9-13)

"When we think that God’s law is His way of robbing us of pleasure we are no different from little kids who identify sin with getting in trouble. As we mature in faith we should begin to see more clearly the rational basis for divine commandments. As this happens we begin to see the Lord’s instructions as delightful aids to health, happiness and the kind of pleasure that lasts.” (Hieromonk Maximos)

“Once God establishes our priorities, we can no longer elevate family, property, career, or worldly pleasures into absolute goals in life.” (Dynamis 3/28/14)

“If you encounter some difficulty—whether in your work, or in conversation, or in thought—do not seek your own will at all; endeavor to discover—with care—what God’s will is, and put it into practice—even if its performance occasions some toil. You should believe, with all your heart, that the Will of God is advantageous to you in a manner surpassing all human understanding." (St. Isaiah of Scetis)

“Christians in the real world ought also to realize that their steps are directed providentially by God, not only for their good but for His greater purpose. Each has a role to play in God’s great plan, and each should approach and view life from that perspective.” (Joseph O'Day)"We resist the will of God, by and large, for our wants often clash with His... Our goal is to avoid doing consciously what we know to be contrary to God’s will…For all, either willingly or unwillingly, do the will of God: Judas and Satan as tools or instruments, John and Peter as sons.” (Dynamis 11/14/2014, 2/12/2015, C.S. Lewis)

“God will not give us anything contrary to His will, and that will always include what is best for us in the long run (Rom 8:28).” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"He who submits himself to God in all things is certain that whatever men say or do against him will always turn to his advantage." (St. Vincent de Paul)

“Often people think doing God’s will is a killjoy and all about having a life of dutiful obligation of doing something we think we have to do instead of want to do. They think it means giving up something when in fact just the opposite is true. Doing God’s will is really more about being open to receiving something better than we could have imagined for ourselves.” (Sacramental Living II)

“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it." (George Macdonald)

"So great is the goodness of God in your regard, that when you ask through ignorance for that which is not beneficial, He does not grant your prayer in this matter, but gives you something better instead." (St. Bernard)

"We want to be in control. Whether we are speaking about our lives, the lives of others, or our very destinies, we want to be in control. And the truth of the matter is, we never really were ever in control of whatever"it” is we thought were in control of in the first place! God was really guiding us, if only we allowed ourselves to be guided by Him. It was just that we didn’t acknowledge His role in our lives, not that He wasn’t there.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

“As soon as we begin to leave God out of our plans, we are placing ourselves above Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 3:5)

“One of our weaknesses, as humans, is that we often want to rely on ourselves, but resist placing trust in God – the only one in Whom we need to place our trust completely.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

“We may find other ways to avoid the Lord’s claim on us – for example, establishing conditions for our submission to Christ as God…Such assertions are fueled by our self-assurance and pride…Our greatest obstacle…is our pride, our delusion of self-reliance…To demand objective, verifiable evidence seems entirely reasonable at first blush, but it exposes our reliance on mere human"wisdom.” The world is filled with people who use their own wisdom to brush aside the Lord’s demand on our lives.” (Dynamis 4/27/2014, 12/31/2014)

"The ideology of individualism [when elevated above or considered exclusively outside of community] first encourages us to question all authority. Then, when this insidious, radical independence becomes fixed in our personality, it creates an inner resistance to submitting to anyone who would direct our behavior and decisions. When such an ideology is accepted by Christians, it corrodes our willingness to obey the tough, saving commandments of God.” (Dynamis 10/8/2014)

“Since God will not abide in man, or in our society against our will, we are permitted to live godlessly. It is His will that we invite Him under the roof of our soul, and into our cities - He will not barge in without an invitation…” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“God demonstrates His consistent faithfulness even in the face of human resistance.” (Life Application Study Bible, Jeremiah 7:27)

"Complacency and self-certainty are the most dangerous delusions we encounter in the spiritual life..." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

"The cause of all evil is delusion, self deception [cognitive distortions], and ignorance of God" (St. Anthony the Great)

"God is the vine, and we are only the branches. He is the Father, and we are the children; He is the physician and we are the patients in the need of healing. This is the kind of relationship we must cultivate, acknowledging our weakness and insignificance, and thereby allowing God to"over-take" us with His power, so that the delusions by which we have lived might be swept away, and in their place, God can assume His rightful place in our lives.” (Father Andrew Demotses)

“If we submit to God we can have everything that is good and wonderful, but without God and worshiping ourselves instead we will have only illusions and distortions. The world calls this delusion wisdom, but we know it to be foolishness.” (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese)

“Delusion is a strong word. In a spiritual context it is often associated with the demonic. In a mental health context it is often associated with psychosis. However, for most of us being deluded doesn’t necessarily have to be that dramatic. Usually, it goes hand-in-hand with too much self-focus which causes distortion in our thought. For example, we often don’t take what people say or do at face-value. Rather, we immediately personalize their words and actions somehow. Seeing people through the lens of self often causes us to misjudge. Christ is Wisdom and the more we focus on Him, and the more we grow to be more and more like Him and die to self, the more we see and hear the truth.” (Sacramental Living II)

“God writes upon our hearts the knowledge of His will… Our hearts must yearn for the things of God. The hunger to do His will is the key…we must seek God’s will in all that we do. This means turning every area of life over to Him.” (Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Dynamis 9/2/2014, Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 3:6)

"He [God] asks us to allow Him to be in charge of our lives. He will not steer us wrong, but keep us on the path we need to be. He doesn't do this as a puppeteer maneuvers a puppet, but rather as a loving Father who guides His children, knowing what is best for them. But we need to trust Him. When we think we know better than God, we can cause ourselves unnecessary significant problems." (Marianne C. Sailus)

“We should, I believe, distrust states of mind which turn our attention upon ourselves. Even at our sins we should look no longer than is necessary to know and to repent them: and our virtues or progress (if any) are certainly a dangerous object of contemplation. When the sun is vertically above a man he casts no shadow: similarly when we have come to the Divine meridian our spiritual shadow (that is, our consciousness of self) will vanish.” (C. S. Lewis)

"The thought of"dying to self" and choosing God's will over self-will is at first unappealing because the very thing damaged by sin is our will, or ability to choose right all of the time. I tell my daughter it's like choosing broccoli over M&Ms. M&Ms, and junk food in general, are more appealing but if we eat too many in one sitting we get sick. Over time, if we do this continually we become unhealthy. If we choose to eat broccoli and healthy food instead of the M&Ms and junk food, we first feel like we have given up something, but over time we notice that we feel so much more energetic and healthier. At some point the idea of going back to lousy diet is now unappealing." (Sacramental Living II)

“St. Paul contrasts getting drunk with wine, which produces a temporary"high,” to being filled with the Spirit, which produces lasting joy. Getting drunk with wine is associated with the old way of life and its selfish desires. In Christ, we have a better joy, higher and longer lasting, to cure our depression, monotony, or tension. We should not be concerned with how much of the Holy Spirit we have but with how much of us the Holy Spirit has. Submit yourself daily to His leading and draw constantly on His power.” (Life Application Study, Ephesians 5:18)

“Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into your life as getting oneself into Christ’s Life (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 1:4-6)

“There is a difference between a mindset of"getting Christ into your life” versus"getting into the life of Christ.” The former mindset makes us the locus of attention; the latter makes Christ the focal point. It’s harder to grow spiritually when we are focused too much on ourselves.” (Sacramental Living)

“Every person must ask: Will I choose autonomy and self-will leading to destruction, or will I choose Christ’s loving leadership over my life..." (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 5:7)

“The more we try to gather the control of our lives, the more everything in our lives falls apart. God did not create us to control; He created us to live in agreement…A"godly” person is one who ceases to be self-centered in order to become God-centered." (David Edwards, Charles Swindoll)

“Desiring our own good is not sinful in itself, but natural and instinctive. God gave us everything, even our very existence. He wants us to take care of what He gave us. It is the act of putting ourselves at the center of the universe, where God belongs, that is unqualified sin. This is, in fact, the very definition of sin.” (Larry Crabb)

“Humanity’s enemy is the self-love, self-will, self-affirmation, and self-delusion that dominate human being and life in this corrupted and disordered world..." (Father Thomas Hopko)

"Contrary to popular belief, God wired people to receive our sense of inner-worth by getting outside of ourselves, not from fickle self-absorption.” (Jeff Leeland)

"Our American culture has become so enamored, even consumed, with the importance of self that we’ve made idols out of personal gain and fulfillment…The crushing of self-will takes effort and struggle, for our fallen nature is all about"me” and is in rebellion against God.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“This is the secret of life: the self lives only by dying, finds its identity (and its happiness) only by self-forgetfulness, self-giving, self-sacrifice, and agape love.” (Peter Kreeft)

"One who has self-love cannot love God, while he who is not a lover of self, since his heart is flooded by the immeasurable richness of the love of God, truly loves God." (St. Diadochos of Photiki)

"The biggest obstacle to our spiritual growth is our ego (“Ease God Out”), self-focus and selfabsorption. Only real humility brings deep joy and satisfaction because it keeps us from becoming maniacally self-absorbed.” (Sacramental Living)

“The greatest egoist is he who follows his thoughts, and does not ask anyone for guidance and direction—leading himself to destruction. Someone may be extremely smart and very astute; but if he is willful, self-confident and selfish, he is also constantly tormented. He becomes very confused, and many problems are created for him." (Elder Paisios of Mount Athos)

“...we should not believe that we can direct ourselves. We need assistance; we need guidance in addition to God’s Grace." (St. Dorotheos of Gaza)

“Our greatest obstacle when standing before God is our pride, our delusion of self-reliance.” (Dynamis 1/29/2014)

"For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:16-17)

"Great changes occur continually in every aspect of our lives – physical, social, and spiritual. Most are beyond our control, for they begin and end with God...We are to discern what God wills and how He is calling us to act. Such watchfulness must be continual. Otherwise, the heart may be wounded and our birth in the new life in Christ will be disrupted, injured, or possibly stillborn." (Dynamis 3/21/2014)

"The experience of the righteous Noah provides us with the model. With the eye of a servant, he watches patiently to discern God’s will. He waits for God’s direction before coming out of the ark…he tests the conditions by sending out a raven and then a dove. When he emerges, his first action is to worship. Similarly, the new life in Christ is lived by watching, waiting, and worshiping." (Dynamis 3/21/2014)

"This combination of waiting, watching, and testing is essential to discerning God’s will fully, for the enemy constantly sows both good and evil thoughts to distract us from God’s highest and best." (Dynamis 3/21/2014)

“Jesus’ human life was not a script that He passively followed. It was a life that He choose freely…It was a continuous process of making the will of God the Father His own.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 5:8)

"Patience.” What an essential virtue, and what a difficult one! We naturally want everyone and everything to run on our own schedule. Yet reality does not run on our own schedule. We must be patient with God, we must be patient with others, we must even be patient with ourselves.” (Bishop Basil Losten)

“…any life apart from God leads only to confusion…The fatal delusion of self-sufficiency eventually plunges us into despair.” (Dynamis 3/27/2014, 1/22/2014)

"Sometimes the game of life is like a bait and switch: something lures us in, we bite, and it doesn’t satisfy. We think, what happened? I thought that thing promised satisfaction? The problem is because nothing can sustain the weight of itself. Everything self-terminates the minute it becomes self-focused.” (Jefferson Bethke)

"Our own will is like a wall of brass between us and God, preventing us from coming near to Him or contemplating His mercy." (St. Poemen the Great)

“Sometimes we have the illusion that freedom is doing anything we want. But God says that true freedom comes from obedience and knowing what not to do. The restrictions He gives us are for our good, helping us avoid evil.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 3:5)

“It is human nature to make our own plans and then ask God to bless them. Instead, we should seek God’s will first. By constantly thinking about the Lord and his way of living, we will gain insights that will help us make right decisions..." (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 16:7-8)

“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Jesus Christ)

“…we deny ourselves that we"may gain Christ and be found in Him”...Standing in the way of this undertaking is our self-will – the rebellious soul that wants its own way. Our inner self can be likened to a raging, 2,500-pound bull – no one is prepared to control such a self… Salvation lies in our persistent efforts to tame the raging bull.” (Dynamis 3/23/2014)

"Closely related to self-denial is taking up one’s cross. This cross is not the Lord’s Cross, but my particular cross – the one with my name on the placard. My cross is to embrace with the love of the Lord Jesus all who surround me in life, especially those who wave red the flags that provoke the fighting bull inside me. God brings into our lives people who aggravate us, irritate us, and inflame our passions, giving us opportunities for suffering love. We do not need go to far places in order to seek out suffering, for He allows it to come to us in our daily circumstances: our residence, financial agreements, social and professional relationships, and parish life.” (Dynamis 3/23/2014)

“Sooner or later, every disciple of the Lord fails Him by pursuing his own self-interest. Were it not for the Cross and the Lord’s forgiveness, His Resurrection and the gifts of the Spirit, our failings would leave us in utter despair.” (Dynamis 2/18/2014)

“The ungodly are those who move their free will in the wrong direction. This movement is away from Wisdom [Christ] and His virtues...The simple man is one who is beginning to move his will toward Wisdom and His virtues." (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 21:6,10)

“Every Christian undergoes a lifelong series of surrenders which wean us away from the material-centered life into which we were born and reshape us into persons wholly submitted to Christ our God. Surrender to Him is a commitment that supersedes all other loyalties. This way of life forms an unshakable bond between ourselves and Christ as Master.” (Dynamis 5/6/2014)

“Dying to ourselves” can be a painful struggle. Putting to death what is not holy in our hearts is a great deal of work. We are never alone in our struggle, however. God is present in His Word and in the Sacramental Mysteries, especially the Eucharist. We also have the support of our Church community, each of whom has to carry the cross." (Abouna Justin Rose)

"When self-interest continues as the dominant commitment of our lives, when we devote our energy to serving ourselves above all others, then we are wrongly self-centered. And this form of self-interest is a far more serious and dangerous problem than the wounds we suffer at the hands of others. But very few people even notice their commitment to self-interest, and among those who do, even fewer are deeply concerned about it.” (Larry Crabb)

“…when the devil finds one bit of self-will or self-righteousness in a person"he will cast him down through that.” (Dynamis 5/3/2004)

"When we search the Gospels, we never find a place where Jesus was offended by a sinful person. But there are repeated accounts of his being offended by the self-righteousness of so-called holy people who set themselves apart from the rest of humanity in their own eyes.” (John Fischer)

“Someone may be extremely smart and very astute; but if he is willful, self-confident and selfish, he is also constantly tormented. He becomes very confused, and many problems are created for him." (Elder Paisios of Mount Athos)

“How many smart people do we know that are self-destructive in their eating and lifestyles? How many people do we know that mismanage their money and get themselves in unmanageable debt? As we look in the mirror what do we know about ourselves that falls into unwise behavior? If we can point to some unwise behaviors we’d like to change it’s also useful to see how many of these things we have tried to change by our own willpower alone and failed.” (Sacramental Living)

“Through...struggle, we realize in intimate, personal terms that we cannot save ourselves. The power and the initiative always come from God. It is the grace of God that saves, not our willpower. But, if we want to know and feel the grace of God, we are not released from the never-ending struggle.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)

"...God has made his wishes clear: He wants his people to do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with him. In your efforts to please God, examine these areas on a regular basis. Are you fair in your dealings with people? Do you show mercy to those who wrong you? Are you learning humility?” (Life Application Study Bible, Micah 6:6-8)

"With the aid of the Holy Spirit, we are to labor to follow God’s will and respond to the Spirit’s bidding from the heart; we must cut off and cast away whatever we find in our heart that wills to disobey God (Mt 5:30). God graciously provides us with fasting, prayer, vigil, confession, and the holy mysteries in order to strengthen us in this struggle, which is the true life’s work of Christ’s disciples.” (Dynamis 6/12/2014)

“God created things which had free will....If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.” (C. S. Lewis)

"Everyone is made in God's image; but to be in His likeness is granted only to those who, through great love, have brought their own freedom into subjection to God. For only when we do not belong to ourselves do we become like Him who, through love, has reconciled us to Himself." (St. Diadochos of Photiki)

"God is completely in control of what happens in history and yet He exercises that control in such a way that human beings are responsible for their freely chosen actions and the results of those actions.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"At its heart, conversion is a participation in Christ's death and Resurrection, in order to be reborn in Him. But conversion is not automatic; it requires the action of man's free will to order his life and his activities so that they center on Christ.” (Jean Mouroux)

“Our freedom is a gift, for where there is no choice there can be no love. Love and free choice partake of an interpersonal truth.” (Dynamis 3/6/2014)

“God gives us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. The secret to a changed life is to submit to God’s control and let Him work.” (Life Application Study Bible, Philippians 2:13)

"We have undeniable proof that God is fully able to draw men to Christ…Why then, at present, are so few coming? Why do many show no signs of being drawn to God? We must first recall God’s gift of freedom – a freedom that includes the ability to resist God. Drawing is not the same as forcing. Judas Iscariot was drawn to Christ, but he was not forced to honor Him… Ultimately, we either choose to submit to Christ as Lord and God or we do not. God does not force Himself on us.” (Dynamis 5/8/2014)

"Christ reveals that our efforts to do good depend upon our submitting to Him from the heart. He alone can give us the power to do what is just and pleasing to God… The impure heart is the greatest barrier between ourselves and God, for it separates us from Him who alone is able to restore in us the power to do good…our words and deeds – what comes out of us – reveal what truly lies within our hearts.” (Dynamis 7/24/2014)

"God ordained submission in certain relationships to prevent chaos. It is essential to understand that submission is not surrender, withdrawal, or apathy. It does not mean inferiority, because God created all people in his image and all have equal value. Submission is mutual commitment and cooperation. Thus, God calls for submission among equals...Jesus Christ, although equal with God the Father, submitted to Him to carry out the plan for salvation.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 11:3)

“We don’t put ourselves forward; we are put forward. We don’t choose ourselves for the role we have in life; we are chosen. We do not forge our destiny; we submit to it.” (Phillip Goggans)

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s"own,” or"real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s"real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” (C. S. Lewis)

“How do you see people who interrupt your schedule—as nuisances or as the reason for your life and ministry?” …when the most important people in our lives interrupt us, is it really an interruption?...The world often devalues good things by calling them unnecessary interruptions.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 9:10-11, NIV Men’s Devotional Bible)

“As followers of Christ the interruptions truly are our work. How we interact with the people who cross our path is the true barometer of our faith…When we do embrace the interruptions of our life we grasp two important aspects of the spiritual life. First we live with an openness to God’s plan for us. We learn to let go of living solely by our agenda and surrender the flow of our life’s timing and purpose to God.” (Sally McCuen)

“God is in the interruptions. The kind of life to which God calls us is … often busy and messy and interruptions abound. But God is in the midst of all of that. And, there are opportunities at every moment to put our faith into action, to serve and to love.” (Rober Kunkle)

“We have so many opportunities during the day…to bless other people through interruptions. We can choose to focus on our agenda that they're interrupting, or open ourselves up to God's plan which allows us to be used in ways we never imagined.” (Angela Watson)

“Self-centeredness is the killer. In every bad relationship, it is the deadliest culprit. Poor communication, temper problems, unhealthy responses to dysfunctional family backgrounds, codependent relationships, and personal incompatibility—everything (unless medically caused) flows out of the cesspool of self-centeredness.” (Larry Crabb)

“It is better to forget about yourself altogether...Give up yourself, and you will find your real self...The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God..." (C. S. Lewis)

“Take your mind off yourself and focus it on God. Strive to become more and more like Him. The more you learn about God and his ways, the better you will understand yourself.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 147:5)

“Even the most ‘routine’ experience of happiness...involves a degree of self-forgetting; joy is what happens when we are not analyzing ourselves.” (Archbishop Rowan Williams)

“We are created to find happiness only in Him, and He does all He can to turn us away from our fearful and self-seeking selves toward Him so we can find the joy for which He created us.” (Thomas Williams)

“We can go to Church, pray daily, and still not imitate Christ in our home or work situations. For example, denial of self is being in a conversation where people are starting to badmouth someone behind their back and choosing not to participate in the conversation, even though you want to, while at the same time not being self-righteous by chastising those people and letting them know in a pious manner that you will not participate in such conversations (it’s better to simply let them know gently that it is not a good thing to talk bad about these people or let your act of not participating"speak” on your behalf). It’s holding our tongue in anger even when we are wronged. It’s giving money when we are aware of a need even though what we need to give is an amount that is difficult to afford. It’s denying all of the things in life that come from the darker parts of ourselves.” (Sacramental Living)

“…we cannot serve Christ so long as we are ruled by anything else in this life. To be Christ’s slaves, we must wage a continuous resistance… If we are to remain faithful to Christ without being drawn back into sin, we face an unending battle of self-denial… If we do not deny ourselves, we merely persist in self-indulgence…Who can help us win this struggle but Christ?... The Lord Jesus does not ask anything of us that He did not also do as a man.” (Dynamis 7/31/2014)

“The word 'deny' might just be the most hated four letter word in our society… we are taught to deny ourselves of nothing…Our modern age encourages us to deny God and to focus solely on ourselves - for we are led to falsely believing that we are in charge - while Christ reverses this and tells us to deny ourselves and to focus solely on Him…We are to deny ourselves from our passions, temptations, and anything that will deter us from being close to God. To leave behind our selfish ways and to empty ourselves, so that God's will may abide in and work through us…it is God's will that truly fulfills our lives. To deny ourselves is not to lose our uniqueness as individuals, rather it is to reach our full potential as children of God.” (Father Andrew Georganas)

“Down the centuries many have been asked to deny Christ under threat of sword, gun, ax, and spear…This still goes on today…For many of us the struggle is less dramatic… Many unassuming Christians choose to endure inconvenience, embarrassed silence, mockery, and lost friendships for the sake of their faith….Let us confess Christ our God with one heart and one mouth.” (Dynamis 11/7/2014, Sacramental Living II)

“No one is forced to follow Christ. Free will is respected by God, and it should be equally respected by people. Suppression of will, coercion, blackmail, even when it is employed for a good end, are morally unacceptable. Christ invites the willing ones, by free choice, to follow Him. Once we choose to follow Christ, though, we ought to keep in mind that the Christian life cannot be conceived without the Cross:"deny yourself, and take up your cross and follow me.” (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew)

“The idea that self is king generates all of mankind’s evils.” (Thomas Williams) "If we abandon our own desires and opinions, and endeavor to fulfill God’s wishes and understanding, we will save ourselves, no matter what our position, no matter what our circumstance. But, if we cling to our own desires and opinions, neither position nor circumstance will be of help. Even in Paradise, Eve transgressed God’s commandment, and life with the Savior Himself brought the unfortunate Judas no good.” (St. Ambrose of Optina)

“...we can make the conscious effort to step away from the"I” that is dominating our lives and open up the"eye” of our hearts to those things that naturally attract us—goodness, truth, and beauty—in an effort to find Him Who is Goodness itself, Who is Truth in person, Who is the very creator of Beauty..." (Bishop John Michael Botean)

“Adoration and thanksgiving—God-centeredness...heals the heart of its self-centeredness, which curves us in on ourselves and distorts all our vision.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Denial of self in favor of Christ’s will is necessary, for we know that following His way yields genuine blessing. Of course, this path must be learned and mastered bit by bit through practice, failure, and repeated efforts carried out with the support and loving tutelage of the Holy Spirit.” (Dynamis 10/21/2014)

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