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Spiritual Perception/Warfare/Experiences

“The life of a believer is not one of ease but a constant spiritual battle.” (Foundation Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 10:4)

“…there is a battle in each of us between the flesh and the spirit. There is, however, a third “player” at work in each of us and that is the mind. The human being is composed of body (flesh), spirit and mind. So, one has to decide what will lead in life—will it be the body leading with the mind and spirit following? Will it be the mind leading, or will it be the spirit leading? The truth is, whatever leads, the other parts follow.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Those who sit in solitude and are quiet have escaped from three wars: hearing, speaking, seeing: yet against one thing shall they continually battle: that is, their own heart." (St. Anthony the Great)

“When we love God above all else, His commandments become weapons that aid us in our unseen warfare, those incessant battles fought in and for the soul of every Christian. God’s statutes are lifelines from the Lord.” (OCPM 5/28/2016)

“Artists cultivate our culture. Politicians can write as many laws as they wish, but they will never change the heart of the culture. This belongs to the artists—and we do battle in the heart for the soul of society.” (Jonathan Jackson)

“Spirituality has not as its objective the offering of solutions to psychological and organizational problems. Spirituality is concerned with the mystery of life and our relationship with Christ…Spiritual life is not identical with psychological growth. The psychological is the human dimension – observable, measurable, open to analysis in terms of cause and effect. Spirituality is the transcendent dimension of human existence, and of more than the human in the human." (Bishop John of Amorion)

“…Spirituality is fluid. When men turn from God, they don’t become all bad, and just because a person re-turns to God doesn’t make him whole. By degrees we slip into death, and by degrees we claw our way out of the grave. No single prayer nor ritual nor moment in itself can fix us. Virtue is not obtained in a moment. Each step is only one in a lifelong journey of turning and re-turning to God again and again through the hard work of honest self-examination, correction of thought, and rejection of the false foods we trade for the only life-sustaining food there is, the immortal life of God. For all else is counterfeit.” (Nathan A. Jacobs)

“The true spiritual battle in the depths of the soul cannot be forced or browbeat into existence. It requires a trusting confidence and divine empathy to enter such a place.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“…we are engaged in ongoing spiritual warfare…we must depend on illumination, divine knowledge, and the Gospel in order to survive.” (OCPM 3/30/2017)

“Just as it is impossible to fight battles without weapons, or to swim a great sea with clothes on, or to live without breathing, so without humility and the constant prayer to Christ it is impossible to master the art of inward spiritual warfare or to set about it and pursue it skillfully." (St. Hesychios the Priest)

“… spirit, a dimension that many people in today can barely comprehend. As the faithful in Christ, however, we are blessed with an appreciation of this spiritual dimension. We might even go so far as to define the faithful as those who live with awareness of the spiritual existence expressed within the life of the Church. Aided by God’s grace, we perceive within every environment the presence and activity of God’s kingdom, which comprises the foremost realm encompassing human life.” (Dynamis 2/11/2015

"…we tend to be oriented toward the physical realm rather than the spiritual…We must remember that"where [our] treasure is, there [our] heart will be also” (Lk 12:34). Above all, we are to value what God values: the condition of our hearts, the quality of our motives, and our capacity to love.” (Dynamis 12/6/2014)

“Regrettably, too many Christians go through their lives without viewing their spiritual experience in any beneficial context. As a result, they often fall into a religious routine lacking in perspective and focus.” (Richard A. Grumberg)

“Beneath the surface of the routine of daily life, a fierce struggle among invisible spiritual powers is being waged. Our main defense is prayer that God will protect us from the evil one and that He will strengthen us." (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3)

“If we cut out the spiritual aspect of life, what remains? Only existence without life!...Without faith, without spiritual vision and intuition of God, there is only despair.” (Dynamis 6/26/2014, Metropolitan Jonah)

“…whenever we look for signs, we become very susceptible to being deceived…Don’t look for signs…Look at Christ.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 24:4)

“A sign is never given to those whose motive is merely to test God." (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 11:16)

"Will visible signs convince anyone? The"sign” that really brings us to faith is the power of God’s message to answer the cry of the heart. To the confused, God offers a mind enlightened by faith. To the depressed, God offers a reason for joy. To the lonely, God offers eternal companionship. Don’t look for a spectacular visible sign; instead, seek a cleansed and renewed life as evidence of His presence.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 1:11)

“It’s not that signs and wonders are not real. They are. The Scriptures, lives of the saints, and lives of many attest to their truth. However, it does require a level of spiritual maturity to have discernment to recognize them properly. In our immature spiritual enthusiasm, if we are not careful, we can fall into what is called prelest, or spiritual deception, in which we start believing almost every event in our lives has some spiritual significance and direct intention from God.” (Sacramental Living II, David Beck)

“…the ultimate intent of prophecy and signs and wonders is to encourage God’s people to live like God’s people should live and present"living hopes” to those who are without hope in the world.” (Fr. Dn. Stephen Holley)

“When Jesus told the disciples to"beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” they didn’t get it."They reasoned among themselves, saying ‘It is because we have taken no bread.’” (Matthew 16:6-7). Jesus immediately accused them of having little faith for such reasoning. How often do we act the same way? How often are we so mired in our immediate material reality that we demonstrate the inability to see beyond, or deeper, and perceive truth. It would seem that faith and our ability to perceive the spiritual reality Christ wants us to perceive go hand in hand.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“Clearly, the Church Fathers teach that intellect and reason are highly valued characteristics in man. It is important to note that intellect does not mean high intelligence. It refers to the spiritual perception of the principles of the Divine….The implications of man being made as body and soul-spirit were not lost on the Fathers of the Church. They recognized the differences in knowing or perception between these elements of the creature person. Significantly, the Fathers distinguish between sensation and reason, which come from the body, and spiritual knowledge or perception, which come from the soul and leads us to God.” (Fr. George Morelli)

"For most of us, our passions, sins, and desires distort the virtues. Our good intentions are mingled with ulterior motives, and our perception of God’s will is clouded by our desires. This is why we often confuse our own will with the will of God." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“If we set our paths to pursue God’s will, even amid our muddling failures, the Lord can somehow bring about a net gain of profit, perception, and understanding.” (Jack Hayford)"…mindfulness that is separated from God is never a true Christian mindfulness. The mindful, noetic, mind of a person is enlightened by an illumination from God, through the Holy Spirit, in the depth of the heart and mind, which allows perception of spiritual experience. True and purified reason will burn more brightly, like a light. If the noetic mind is darkened by partial mindfulness, that is actually mindlessness; by drawing away from God, reasoning is darkened.” (Fr. George Morelli)

“When we hear or read the words"spiritual warfare” it is easy to think about something sensational and mystical. However, for most of us spiritual warfare is often nothing more than the daily battle in any and all situations to stay connected with God, have the right thoughts, and take the right actions.” (Sacramental Living II)

“What we face daily is spiritual warfare…Righteousness is the best guardian of the heart, which is why Saint Paul speaks of it as a breastplate. If we do not vacillate to the left or right, but hold solidly to what is good and just, then our thinking and acting will cope with every distortion and attractive delusion….The hardest part of the life in Christ is trusting God in all circumstances…” (Dynamis 12/8/2012)

"…being spiritual"entails being humble in our lifestyle, steadfast in our faith, modest in our words, just in our actions, merciful in our dealings, disciplined in our conduct, incapable of inflicting a wrong but able to bear one inflicted on us; keeping peace with our brothers; loving God with all our heart; cherishing Christ . . . [and] clinging tenaciously to His love.” (Saint Cyprian)

“It is easy to feel trapped by our bad habits. Growing as Christians is often fraught with failure, and we find ourselves stuck. Our spiritual progress feels more like a treadmill; we are seemingly moving forward, but the scenery remains the same…Attention to our thoughts is an important tactic in spiritual warfare..." (Abbot Tryphon)

“Our goal should be to take all that comes our way and make the best out of it for the sake of the spiritual struggle in which we are engaged." (Elder Paisios the Athonite)

"For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” (C. S. Lewis)

“ ‘The head thinks where the feet stand.’ We are informed by what we see immediately around us but that is not always necessarily reflective of the bigger picture.” (Sacramental Living II)

“Spiritual vision is our capacity to see clearly what God wants us to do and see the world from His point of view. But this spiritual insight can be easily clouded. Self-serving desires, interests, and goals block that vision.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 6:22,23)

“Each…Christian of a worthy heart seeks God and perceives His presence in everything… God is ever present but He works within our perceptions for our own spiritual growth.” (Dynamis 8/5/2014, Sacramental Living)

“The gift of spiritual knowledge—that is, when we begin to perceive the hidden things of God— is conferred on us through repentance and the fear of God, which gives birth to a deeper faith.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Job 42:5)

“When we consider the distortion of truth that passes as communication in the modern world, we understand that we are experiencing a constant assault on our hearts and souls….Such a barrage of lies is, in fact…“spiritual warfare.” (Dynamis 10/30/2014)

“In order to succeed . . . you must constantly oppose all evil in yourself and urge yourself towards the good. In other words, you must ceaselessly fight against yourself and against everything that panders to your own wills, that incites and supports them. So prepare yourself for this struggle and this warfare…” (Saint Theophan the Recluse)

“Life is spiritual warfare, and if you’re not fighting you’re losing.” (St. Kosmas Aitolos)

“Triumph in spiritual warfare comes through stillness in prayer and through the victory of the Cross.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Exodus 17:11)

“The Christian gospel invites the faithful to a continuous spiritual struggle and public actions that leads, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, towards greater justice and peace.” (Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

“Those who reject the spiritual dimension of existence think solely in terms of the physical realm and cannot imagine any condition or state beyond what can be measured and tested objectively.” (Dynamis 12/8/2014)

“...when the mountain looks like a monumental being aspiring toward heaven, when the chord of music reverberates in the heart and fills us with a longing for we know not what. In these magical moments the truth breaks past our defenses....and reveals reality in all its glory for what it really is….The romantic view is the true view of reality, because it sees beyond the veil to the true heart of a thing.” (Thomas Williams)

“One of the greatest benefits of the spiritual journey is that despite the stress and commotion of the world and our pressing personal circumstances, we have access to a source of peace, the likes of which we have never experienced, and one that literally transcends understanding." (Richard A. Grumberg)

"What people believe has much to do with the style of life they live and with the kind of influence they exert. To say that I believe only in the world of my senses, in what I see and experience, is to silence an inner voice that challenges the human to a perpetual quest. For as we are impelled to satisfy such needs as hunger and thirst, so we are impelled to satisfy an inner impulse that has been identified with religion. In fact, religion is the quest for the largest and the fullest satisfaction of man's loftiest needs. Man often denies his spiritual nature by failing to take religion seriously.” (Father. Demetrios J. Constantelos)

“We have this innate sense that what we see is not what we’re going to get—that there’s a spiritual aspect to this life that somehow affects what happens after this life. Those who believe in God recognize this internal dissonance and use it toward God-glorifying ends as they try to make this world a better place so that others will experience hope as well.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

“…what then is spiritual warfare? What does it look like or feel like? It is sensational stuff like possessions, exorcisms, battling spirits or demons who fling stuff around the room? For most of us, it’s really something far more mundane we go through every day though we may not think of it as something spiritual or even warfare. The battleground of spiritual warfare most of us go through is simply the conflicting thoughts within ourselves.” (Sacramental Living)

“The toughest battle we will ever endure is the one that gets played out on the field of selfdiscipline, self-control and moment by moment reliance upon the indwelling presence of God.” (Jim Ware)

“This does not mean there are not forces outside of us that try to lead us down the wrong paths. These forces can be people who do wrong and want us to do likewise. However, the Bible makes it clear that there is more. It describes a spiritual war in heaven before we existed and the continuation of this war. St. Paul writes in the Bible that our true struggles aren’t against flesh and blood but against spiritual hosts of wickedness (see Ephesians 6:12). The Bible warns here and in other places of the devil and his fallen angels and attacking us. St. Peter describes the devil as a roaring lion seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).” (Sacramental Living)"And when we are under attack—tempted to sin, or to be discouraged, or to just give up altogether—it is then that we must wrestle the words and promises of the Bible into the center of our being; to"let the message of Christ dwell among you richly” (Colossians 3:16)...when you know Scripture that well, you process all thoughts and feelings through a grid of biblical revelation." (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“By reading [and knowing] the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.” (Thomas Merton)

“…the goal of prayer is not to have an"experience.” The purpose of prayer is to be soberminded and be with God. In other words, spiritual experiences may come, and obviously nothing is wrong with having experiences, but we should not seek them…. The danger is that people can end up seeking an experience and actually miss experiencing God.” (Sacramental Living) "It is wrong to seek spiritual experiences. To seek such experiences or"ecstasy” is to open ourselves to what is known as prelest or spiritual deception in which we start believing almost every event in our lives has some spiritual significance and direct intention from God.” (David Beck)

“Spiritual experiences are dangerous in that people that have them can get tempted to want them more and seek them which is wrong. We simply should participate in the ordinary, understand that something mystical and spiritual beyond our intellect is going on, and let God do the rest. If He wants us to have an experience of some sort, He will take care of it.” (Sacramental Living) "Often discouragement sets in after great spiritual experiences, especially those requiring physical effort or involving great emotion.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Kings 19:3)

“…true spiritual experiences are due to God’s grace and not as important as praying and living rightly and staying God centered.” (Sacramental Living)

"Mystical experiences are not wrong in themselves, but we must beware of deception, pride, schism, and a mind controlled by passions and the body.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Colossians 2:16-23)

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