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Theosis/Union with God

“Our quest for communion with the everlasting God reorients our vision, directing it toward the eternal destiny of all mankind. We understand history and each person’s life from the perspective of our ultimate goal of union with Him.” (Dynamis 4/11/2014)

“Our surrender to the Lord must include our whole heart, soul, and mind (Mt 22:37), if we are to unite our spirits to Christ our God. When we are truly joined to Him, He gives us the grace to obey Him. We are to strive to be at one with the Lord Jesus in every respect, following the pattern of His union with the Father, in which He knows His Father and keeps His word (John 8:55).” (OCPM 5/16/2017)

“Ministry is based on union with Christ and immovable loyalty to Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Timothy 2:8-13)

“In the Exodus from Egypt (Jude 1:5), all were saved through the baptism of the Red Sea, but not all responded to their deliverance with ongoing deeds of repentance and godliness (Nm 14:26–37; see 1Co 10:1–13). The lesson for us as Christians is to keep walking in our union with Christ.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Jude 1:5-7)

“The Christian life lived within the mystery is a life in which God is hidden, made known, revealed, perceived. It is a life in which the Kingdom of God is breaking forth, not destroying nature but fulfilling it. In the same manner, we are not destroyed by our union with Christ but rather fulfilled. We become what we were created to be – the fullness of that life and more is made manifest within our own lives.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

"The answer to the great question, Why is there something rather than nothing? Because God loved it into being. He doesn’t “need” anything or anyone, because God is perfect Being. But He brings us and all of this, our world, into being anyway, because He wants us to “be.” He wants to share His Being." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

"The Christian commandment to love is a calling to a certain kind of relationship with God, a realization of love. Since God is love, it’s a relationship of communion with God, of experience of God, of theosis. This relationship, however, requires work. Not to merit the love—as if love could be merited—but to make oneself available for the fullness of love that God offers, which is nothing less than God’s very life." (Aristotle Papanikolaou)

“The best way to grow in Christ is to establish a “consistent” relationship with Him. Over time, you will experience “signs” of His power. These do not happen to me on a daily basis, or even a weekly basis, but I feel God’s power and I feel it more acutely the more I pray and the more I give my life over to God. For those who come only on Palm Sunday or who come to God with infrequency, the “signs” aren’t going to be enough to hold one’s attention. It is consistent effort that makes God real.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Are you seeking great things for yourself, instead of seeking to be a great person? God wants you to be in a much closer relationship with Himself than simply receiving His gifts—He wants you to get to know Him...There is nothing easier than getting into the right relationship with God, unless it is not God you seek, but only what He can give you.” (Oswald Chambers)

“I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me, God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me.” (St. Patrick of Ireland)

“Acceptance of our membership in Christ – acknowledging that we belong to Him – is essential to the formation of a right mind within ourselves. A healthy Christian outlook arises from the experience of our union with Christ and with other members of the Church through the Holy Spirit.” (Dynamis 6/29/2015)

“Christianity …is a spiritual path towards union with God…True prayer is a movement into ever greater self-emptying. It is the normative means of our daily union with Christ…We are made alive to God through union with Christ.” (Father Stephen Freeman, OCPM 10/26/2015)

“Faith is a relational power or a relationship which brings about the immediate, perfect and supranatural union of the believer with the God in whom he believes.” (St. Maximos the Confessor)

"God is always speaking to us but we are often so busy monologuing with ourselves that we may not be able to hear Him...He won’t always speak to us in the manner in which we might expect. Sometimes it may be a verse from Scripture, a verse from the Fathers, a sense in our own heart of intuition or conscience, or just the peace of God. We must be open and ready for any way God chooses to reveal Himself..." (Archimandrite Sergius)

"The world is full of individuals doing their own thing. As long as they remain this way, they will never become a true person, the person they were created to be in union with God.” (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)

“Spiritual growth is like physical growth in the respect that we can’t observe it when it is happening, only when it is has happened. We know we grow when our shoes don’t fit anymore, or when our sleeves are suddenly too short or, unfortunately, when our pants are one day too tight. But we don’t actually see the expansion real-time. Further, to grow and be healthy we must eat nutritious food. We don’t see our spiritual growth until we encounter a situation and then understand and observe our own reactions and realize we have grown spiritually. But that too depends on our proper spiritual diet – prayer, Bible reading, Church, Holy Communion – which are all the ways we feed ourselves with Christ via the Holy Spirit.” (Sacramental Living II)

“The growth of grace is like the polishing of metals. There is first an opaque surface; by and by you see a spark darting out, then a strong light; till at length it sends back a perfect image of the sun that shines upon it.” (Edward Payson)

"Being made holy is the process of Christian growth through which the Holy Spirit makes us like Christ." (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Thessalonians 2:13)

“Only in Christ does genuine repentance, the cleansing of our sins, and restoration to God become possible once more. A two-pronged effort is necessary for spiritual growth. We must rid ourselves of the sinful passions and at the same time make the virtues our own.” (Dynamis 4/7/2014)

“The life in Christ is a process of continuous growth in faith...if the affections of the heart are not engaged in prayer, real character change and growth in Christ-likeness is impossible.” (Dynamis 12/16/2014, John Owen)

“The central work of the Christian life is to enter the heart through prayer, so that God’s grace will give us the treasure He has buried there. As we strive to remain in His presence through prayer, His gifts become more available to us, transforming everything we do. By laboring at prayer, we uncover His riches…By directing our efforts toward meeting our Lord in the heart, we have hope for right action.” (Dynamis 7/23/2014)

"We may enjoy the Lord’s presence in our earthly temples and in our icons, yet we must never forget that His true temple is situated in the heart. Those of worthy heart – who know well their spiritual blindness and crippled state – will joyfully throng to the Lord, go into the temple of the heart, and seek the healing touch of Christ our God.” (Dynamis 8/8/2014)

"...we must learn to keep watch, which is the ability to remember at all times that God is with us. We must also desire God above all, which means simply that we begin to follow the Great Commandment, loving God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)

“Our perception of God is like being in a dark room with a tiny bit of light coming through a window. At first we only see a little part of the room. But as the light grows stronger, we see more and more of the room and everything in it. As we grow more and more spiritually, we perceive more and more of God’s presence surrounding us."(Sacramental Living II)

“Because we exist in God, we sometimes find it hard to recognize Him. Surrounded and upheld by Him, we often overlook Him!” (Michael Ward)

“Many expressions of spirituality have become linked to adrenalin arousal, and this can be very harmful. A great many of the true saints of God have found their peak spiritual experiences in quietness and solitude. But many modern"saints” look for it only in exciting challenges or emotional catharsis …[Many] confuse adrenalin arousal with spiritual growth...The saddest thing about this kind of confusion is that it actually works against spiritual growth.” (Archibald Hart)

“Our capacity to feast on deeper knowledge of God (“solid food”) is determined by our spiritual growth. Too often we want God’s banquet before we are spiritually capable of digesting it. As you grow in the Lord and put into practice what you have learned your capacity to understand will grow.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 5:14)

“A driving thirst for God is our starting point. Such thirst comes to all of us naturally, but because we are fallen and sick, we easily confuse our thirst for God with fleshly or psychological cravings. The Church Fathers speak of our unbridled physical passions, which lead us to seek short-lived gratification in flattery, vanity, pride, gossip, temporal goods, and material success. Any one of these passions can supplant our natural thirst for the living God.” (Dynamis 6/8/2014)

“The Christian life involves hard work. It requires us to give up whatever endangers our relationship with God, to run with endurance, and to struggle against sin with the power of the Holy Spirit. To live effectively, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. We will stumble if we look away from Him to stare at ourselves or at the circumstances surrounding us. We should be running for Christ, not ourselves, and we must always keep Him in sight.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 12:3)

“Spiritual growth is neither spontaneous nor automatic. Spiritual growth requires the exercise of personal freedom through intellectual, moral and spiritual decisions, commitments and actions.” (Father Theodore Stylianopoulos)

“…we must approach His [Christ’s] teachings as more than mere reminders – rather, He sets forth the steps for returning to Him, the true Source of life. We need to place the Master and His teaching before us constantly, for we do not grow in Christ by acquiring information, but by humbly developing a relationship with Him. Because we are beginners in this process, He guides us through repeated failures, showing us through reflection and practice how to draw closer to Him.” (Dynamis 7/29/2014)

“We can get to know Him [Christ] better by studying the Scriptures, praying, and allowing the Holy Spirit to make us more like Jesus.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 24:53)

“Our fidelity to our Prayer Rule will help open the way for God to give lasting Peace to our hearts...Our experience of Jesus comes through prayer...“Through our Prayer Rule...we are able to share more and more in the Life that God planned for us and reflect that Life in our everyday words and actions.” (Abouna Justin Rose)

“To reflect Christ’s perfect and patient love at all times and fully engage in the present moment and focus on the well-being of others is beyond the capability of our human nature, even toward our children, due to the infection of sin. But we can move toward this state through spiritual growth in our Lord and growing more and more Christ-like over time.” (Sacramental Living)

“Mary did what we are all to do as Christians – bring Christ into the world. Mary did it physically….As Christians, bringing Christ into the world is something we are to do also. We are to do it spiritually via our transformation as we grow in Christ and reflect more and more of His nature in what we do and say and how we treat others.” (Matthew Gallatin)

“From the Christian point of view, there is no such thing as the proverbial"self-made man." God made us, and our only work is, paradoxically, to become what we already are.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)

“...we are most authentically"in control” when we turn control of our lives over to God and actively seek to do God’s will, which in every case involves loving as Christ has loved.” (Bishop John Michael Botean)

"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)

“...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)

“To those who are distrustful, who doubt and dispute and use only the faculty of reason and are not open to God, God does not show himself. God does not enter locked souls; He does not force an entrance.” (Elder Porphyrious)

"His [Christ’s] person and grace become a guide and drive to continuously transform us, making us more and more like Him.( Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis)

“We must get to an end of ourselves before He can begin in us.” (F. B. Meyer)

“…having a feel-good experience is not enough. We must transform as result of our experience from being self-centered to selfless and love others as a result of loving God. This transformation only happens when we are God-centered. If we are not God-centered it is too easy to delude ourselves with feel-good experiences and actually think we are a"good person” when in fact we are still self-centered.” (Sacramental Living)

“Just believing in the Bible or even just reading it does not transform lives. People must place their complete faith in Jesus’ promise of forgiveness for their sins and in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform them from the inside. Then the Holy Spirit brings divine revelation causing the Scripture to reshape readers’ hearts and minds.” (Rice Broocks)

“Each and every day we try to transfigure our loves through prayer, love, forgiveness of others, and repentance…To do this, is not easy, and tales much hard work…we work on transfiguring…so that we may be more Christ-like.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

“take up our cross and follow Him” so that"we may lose our life to save it.” (Sacramental Living)

“He [God] knows that loving Him and others is the key to inner peace and living a life of real joy, free from worries and anxieties. To attain this, He asks but one sacrifice from us which is to

"The most telling characteristic about a man is what his view of God is. This will determine the outcome of life more than anything else.” (Father Anthony Messeh)

"Truthfully, whatever occupies our hearts and minds can bring either darkness or light. When we focus on attaining union with God, who is light, our whole being fills with light. Conversely, by concentrating on earthly concerns, we increase the darkness within.” (Dynamis 6/29/2014)

“His [Christ’s] goal is that we should achieve union with Him…our Lord reveals that His foremost concern is for the state of our inner life. He begs us to integrate our thoughts and energies so that they center first of all on our relationship with Him…” (Dynamis 6/28/2014, 6/29/2014)

"....inside of every man there is a God-shaped vacuum that nothing can fill except the Creator.” (Blaise Pascal)

“If we do not produce good fruits in this domain, we run the risk of being characterized as a fruitless fig tree which would die for lack of bearing fruit. Introversion is good when it relates to self-criticism; but it is illegitimate and unacceptable when it overly preoccupies and prevents us from opening our Church to those desiring to know and enter it.” (Archbishop Demetrios)

"The saints of our faith have observed that God is a purposeful farmer who seeks an abundant harvest of spiritual fruit from each of us. He expects that we will do more than just consider ourselves Christians, but will act on our faith in a way that will make the presence of Christ real not only in our own lives, but in the lives of others. (Rev Andrew J Demotses)

"Sacrifices were to be an outward sign of their [Israel's] inward faith in God, but the outward signs became empty because no inward faith existed. Why, then, did they continue to offer sacrifices? Like many people today, they had come to place more faith in the rituals of their religion than in the God they worshiped...God does not take pleasure in our outward expressions if our inward faith is missing..." (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 1:10-14)

“We may know about the Lord, and yet never fully submit to Him…Devotion is not an activity; it is an attitude toward God.” (Dynamis 4/14/2014, Jerry Bridges)

“Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? [Matthew 21:18-22] This was not a thoughtless, angry act but an acted-out parable. Jesus was showing his anger at religion without substance...If you only appear to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the fig tree that withered and died because it bore no fruit. Genuine faith means bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom." (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 21:19)

“It’s about being of Christ from within, something in which our actions, as we grow in Christ, become more and more naturally what Jesus would do in any given situation. And as we grow in Christ, these actions occur in an almost unconscious fashion because they reflect our way of being. Being more like human beings striving to be Christ-like is a greater goal that being human doings trying to do what Christ would have done.” (Sacramental Living)

“…it’s not about being ‘like’ Christ but being ‘in’ Christ, so that He floods every corner [of us] with light – corners He already knows all about, better than we do.” (Frederica Mathewes Green)

“Put right out of your head the idea that...[we] are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out...Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you...[He is] interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has. At first,"only for moments. Then for longer periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.” (C. S. Lewis)

“ is to be lived to the fullest. Life is about our continual theosis [union with Christ], becoming the best versions of ourselves no matter how long or short our earthly lives might be.” (Father Thomas Loya)

“Every day we need to draw closer to Christ...To be like Christ, we must train ourselves to think like Christ. To change our desires to be more like Christ’s, we need the power of the indwelling Spirit..." (Life Application Study Bible, Peter 3:18, Philippians 2:13)

“Each time the Holy Spirit reminds you of Scripture, convicts you of sin, restrains you from selfish behavior, or prompts you to love, you have evidence that He is present. You have the Spirit within you beginning the transformation process. Whether you deal with aches and pains or even disabling limitations, trust God that His total renovation of your body and soul is in process.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:5)

“God transforms human beings through love, enabling them to share in the divine beauty.” (Brock Bingaman and Bradley Nassif)

“The Spirit of God always brings transformation wherever He is present…Christ…causes every aspect of our corrupt human nature to be transformed, for whatever divinity touches is healed.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Kingdoms 10:9, Luke 23:46)

“Made in God's image and likeness, we are fulfilled by becoming like Him, a process called sanctification or deification. Being"partakers of the divine nature," we are"transformed into the same image from glory to glory." (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 John 3:2)

“Christians ultimately strive toward theosis or deification, the process of transformation into the likeness of God by which we become partakers"of the divine nature” (2 Pt 1:4). Trust in God must be our starting point, for only in trust can we pray ceaselessly for the grace to cooperate with God as He restores His image and likeness within us.” (Dynamis 4/2/2014)

“The integration of the inner man, by which we become perfect or complete in Christ, requires our cooperation with God.” (Dynamis 3/17/2014)

“All created beings are limited, and what is limited cannot be perfect. Created beings are given the possibility of striving toward perfection." (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“We will never be totally like God because He is our supreme creator. But we do have the ability to reflect His character in our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 1:26)

“...there is an inherent dynamism in the creation of man. Man was created with a goal: to be conformed to the likeness of God.” (Clark Carlton)

“All men are 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. No one achieves this unless he persuades his soul not to be distracted by the false glitter of this life.” (St. Diadochos of Photiki)

“Satan used a sincere motive to tempt Eve, telling her that she would be like God if she ate the fruit. It wasn’t wrong of Eve to want to be like God. To become more like God is humanity’s highest goal. It is what we are supposed to do. But Satan misled Eve concerning the right way to accomplish this become like God is not the same as trying to become God." (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 3:5)

“...ambition to be gods is still one of the most basic temptations of the human soul. In our fallen state, each individual wants to be the center of the universe. Even an infant wants the whole world to revolve around him." (Bishop Basil Losten)

"The more we delight in God’s presence, the more fruitful we are.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 1:2-3)

"So many are"empty” within. A strange, painful gnawing vacuum persists in the depths of their person. This inner"aloneness” is ever present. Few know or realize it is a profound yearning for God Himself. In His wondrous design He intended us for His own companionship. Nor are we ever complete until we find our fulfillment in Him as our constant companion.” (W. Phillip Keller)

" is within this inner stillness that our Father can speak to us most clearly. It is there alone with Him that He becomes real to our inner intuition of spirit. It is there we begin to"see” Him most acutely with the perception of our awakened conscience in response to His Word. There we sense and know His Presence. He interacts with us in our deepening conviction through His wondrous Word and by His gracious Spirit.” (W. Phillip Keller)

“Be still and listen to God. Turn off the television. Turn off the radio…If you can, disconnect completely from your cell phone and email. If you cannot do this because of necessity, designate certain times of the day when both are off limits...Create a quiet time…" (Melissa Tsongranis)

“Be still, and know that I am God... (Psalm 46:10)

“The first divine decree about man is that he should be in living union with God, and this union consists of living in God with the mind in the heart: thus anyone who aims at such a life, and still more anyone who participates in it to some extent, can be said to fulfill the purpose in life for which he was created. Those who seek this living union should understand what they are trying to do, and not be troubled at their lack of achievement in any specially important external feats. This work by itself embraces all other action." (St. Theophan the Recluse)

“To abide in Christ involves not only mental assent to the doctrine of the Incarnation. It is a sacramental union with Him, effected in baptism and nourished in the Eucharist." (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 John 2:24-27)

“You can read about him in the creeds and in books of theology, or you can get to know God by becoming involved with Him...You can learn about God with your mind or through your experience. God prefers the latter. He wants us to know Him experientially, to engage him with our whole lives." (John Timmer)

“[Some] view Christianity as"a system of truth” that is"infallibly preserved” only in Scripture...however, Christianity is not a"system,” but life in Christ.” (Clark Carlton)

"The Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like Christ..." (Life Application Study Bible, 1 John 3:2-3)

"When you suffer, you are being conformed to the image of Jesus. When you pray, you are being made holy in the image of Jesus. When you quietly serve a person in need, you are being shaped into the image of Jesus. When you generously give, your heart is being remade into the image of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.” (Allen R. Hunt)

“Contemplative awareness of the risen Jesus shapes our resemblance to Him and turns us into the persons God intended us to be." (Brennan Manning)

"To have Christ formed in us, we must enjoy day-to-day contact with Him and engage in regular personal interaction with the Lord. This Spirit-endowed relationship is very different from a mere rote obedience to a code of rules. Those who organize their lives around law or custom need only learn the rules, and then try to apply them as best they can. Such legalism is essentially impersonal. It operates within the self, reinforced by the surrounding culture…In Christ, by contrast, we have a relationship with the living God. He loves us, illumines us, stands with us, and forgives us as we struggle to have Him and His being formed within our hearts and souls.” (Dynamis 9/11/2015)

“God not only gives us life in Christ, but He also gives us what is essential for living this new life: the power of the life-giving Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit we grow in Christ, having a Teacher within us whose guidance we heed…He gives us the possibility of personal transformation…The indwelling Spirit works in and through our spirits, illuminating our hearts and instructing us in the mind of Christ.” (Dynamis 7/8/2015)

“The acquisition of holiness is not simply the result of having cultivated virtues or of controlling oneself through asceticism, but rather of having an organic relationship with Christ.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“…we must have a synergistic and continual effort with God, to the day we die, of striving to be Christ-like…the Sabbath, Church, prayer and everything associated with striving to live a holy life is a means for us to grow towards God and become more and more Christ like. We call this growth toward God theosis or deification. As we grow in God our human character takes on more and more of God’s divine character.” (Sacramental Living)

“All our spiritual disciplines should be practiced in pursuit of Christ-likeness...The beauty of believers consists in their resemblance to Jesus Christ.” (Donald S. Whitney, Matthew Henry)

"The life in Christ is our free choice, but it becomes possible because our call and election comes from Him (2 Pt 1:10)."You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (Jn 15:16)… The moment we begin to share life with Christ, we participate in God’s divine nature (2 Pt 1:4). He rubs off on us, so to speak, infusing Himself into us and changing us as we heed Him.” (Dynamis 1/30/2015)

"The priorities and intentions—the heart or inner attitudes—of disciples are forever the same. In the heart of a disciple there is a desire, and there is decision or settled intent. The disciple of Christ desires above all else to be like Him." (Dallas Willard)

"Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God...Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else." (C. S. Lewis)

“The living resurrected Christ in our midst continues to transform us as individuals, as families, and as a network of families (our parish community) to become in even greater fullness what we already are…” (Father Don Hock)

“…if everyone strove to focus on God rightly, so many of the world’s ills would disappear because growing towards God transforms our focus from self to the loving support of others manifested by how we give our time, talent and treasure.” (Sacramental Living)

“…if the beauty and glory of Christ do not capture our imaginations, dominate our waking thought, and fill our hearts with longing and desire—then something else will. We will be"continually ruminating” on something or some things as our hope and joy. Whatever those things are, they will"frame our souls” and"transform us into their likeness.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“…the most remarkable thing we see is that He [God] transforms our hungers. He changes not just what we do but what we want to do." (Ravi Zacharias)

“God could miraculously and instantaneously change your life. Usually, however, He chooses to help you gradually, teaching you one lesson at a time. Rather than expecting instant spiritual maturity and solutions to all your problems, slow down and work one step at a time, trusting God to make up the difference between where you should be and where you are now. You’ll soon look back and see that a miraculous transformation has occurred.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 7:21-24)

“My connection to God allows me to create all the good in my live.” (Faith In God)

“Paul says that his goal is to know Christ, to be like Christ, and to be all Christ has in mind for him. This goal absorbs all of Paul’s energy. This is a helpful example for us. We should not let anything take our eyes off our goal—knowing Christ.” (Life Application Study Bible, Philippians 3:12-14)

"Real change doesn’t hinge on a four-part plan or five easy steps. More often it’s a daily decision followed by a continual process in which I allow God to restore and remake my life one day at a time.” (Ryan Shook & Josh Shook)

“...this personal embrace of Jesus always—always—involves transformation of life. It never leaves us the same, doing the same old thing.” (Hieromonk Maximos)

“Each and every human person was created to live in an intimate union with God, sharing in His eternal, divine life, becoming through participation what He is by nature.” (Clark Carlton)

“Only when our greatest love is God, a love that we cannot lose even in death, can we face all things with peace….Jesus gives you inner peace. That peace is radiated out.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing, and peace with God, not the end of all labor. A relationship with God changes meaningless, wearisome toil into spiritual productivity and purpose.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 11:28-30)

“Let’s say you initially fall in love with a person, and, if you are honest, it was partly because of some of the person’s"assets”—his or her looks or connections, for instance. But as the relationship progresses, you begin to love the person for himself alone, and then when some of the assets go away, you don’t mind. We call that growth in love and character. Now, what if you grew in your love for God like that?” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Love for Jesus should never be seen as exempting us from self-control and conversion of life. But it’s just as serious a mistake to think that this conversion is all about keeping a bunch of arbitrary rules unrelated to a personal relationship with love’s source and summit, the Son of God to whom we reach out in love, and in humble service.” (Hieromonk Maximos)

“We should value our relationship with Christ as more important than anything else.” (Life Application Study Bible, Philippians 3:8)

" is because we don’t fully love God just for His own sake that we are subject to such great ups and downs depending on how things go in our lives. We do not find our hearts fully satisfied with God unless other things are also going well, and therefore we are without sufficient roots, blown and beaten by the winds of changing circumstances." (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“When we forget that Christianity is all about a relationship with Christ and we start to settle for the kind of Christianity where we check off our to-do lists for God, then we inevitably experience the emptiness of religion. Religion is all about humankind trying to work its way into God’s approval, and that always leaves an emptiness and ache in the soul.” (Ryan Shook & Josh Shook)

"Every Christian would agree that a man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God.” (C.S. Lewis)

"God has no grandchildren; each person must have a personal relationship with Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 28:10-15)

“The process of Christian growth requires our free will commitment to walk in righteousness and holiness...So Christ must be learned, and relationship with Him must be renewed, a process implying intimate relationship.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 4:11-16)

“If we’re not actively seeking to grow closer to God, we are drawing farther away from Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 13:5)

“The goal of deification,"that you may be filled with all the fullness of God", is accomplished by the working together, the synergism, of our faith and love with God's power and Spirit in us." (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 3:20-21)

“How do we comprehend and know. It is something other than a scientific fact or intellectual awareness. It is a revelation, a divine gift that illumines and transforms our intellect; and a reciprocal encounter, a personal bond with the personal God, who reveals Himself to us through communion with Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 3:18-19)

"It’s the same as the relationships in our lives—you can’t have a relationship without communication. You have to keep the lines open. Today I talk to God all the time. When I’m vacuuming or doing the dishes or driving, whatever. And it’s not always good stuff. Sometimes I say,"God, today really sucks.” But if you’re struggling with your faith, you have to keep trying and talking and searching, and God will find you.” (Crystal McVea & Alex Tresniowsk

“We have all the fullness of God available to us. But we must appropriate that fullness through faith and through prayer as we daily live for Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 3:19)

"How can we move from merely knowing about God to knowing God? How can we get deep insight into our own heart and the hearts of others? The answer is through the Holy Spirit, given to us by Christ when we embrace Him in faith.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“God didn’t want me to do more for Him. He wanted me to be more with Him.” (Bruce Wilkinson)

“Too often we spend all of our time seeking God for answers to our problems when what we should be doing is just seeking God.” (Women of Christ)

“Only when we are brought to the end of ourselves are we in a position to see more of God than we have seen.” (Unknown)

“If you want to get to know someone, you have to spend time with that person; there is no shortcut. The same holds true with God...Do you really know God, or do you just know about Him? The difference is in spending time with Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 1:16-17)

“...a person must surrender all things in order to receive Christ.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 13:44-46)

“Our tendency to sin must never deter us from striving to be more like Christ. Christ calls all of His disciples to excel, to rise above mediocrity, and to mature in every area, becoming like Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 5:48)

"The disciples scattered after Jesus was arrested... Jesus accepted their statement of faith even though he knew their weakness. He knew they would have to grow into people whose words and lives matched even to the point of death. He takes us through the same process.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 16:32)

“Aging is simply a natural biological progression. Maturity, on the other hand, isn’t so automatic. Becoming mature in a particular area of our lives takes intentional pursuit. If we are going to be overcomers in this world and not the overcome, it is essential that we mature in Christ. This can’t just be a side hobby or something we do when we have some extra time; it must become our daily reason for living." (Kasey Van Norman)

“To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labor to make us lovable." (C.S. Lewis)

“...our purpose in life is to become more like Jesus Christ.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick) "Practicing the absence of God is always the default position of anyone who makes no conscious effort to practice His presence.” (John Njoroge)

“We become like God when our ways of thinking, feeling, acting and doing are united with God's ways of doing things.” (Father Stanley Harakas)

"...we must strive to dwell in each minute of our lives if we are to achieve theosis (becoming like God), the purpose for which we were created.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)

“From the moment we become aware of God as God and of ourselves as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or self for the center is opened to us.” (C. S. Lewis)

“Men and women are not only separated from God, but they are also separated from their own true self, since their true self exists and can be realized only when they are united with God.” (Father Stanley Harakas)

“Our life on earth then has great meaning and significance: to develop and to grow little by little into the image and likeness of God. In other words, it simply means we are to become as fully human as possible.” (Father Stanley Harakas)

"Sanctity is what truly defines us as being human. Saints are saints not because they were extraordinary human beings but precisely because they were ordinary human beings. They achieved the state of true humanness, how human beings are supposed to be.” (Father Thomas Loya)

“...daily we give our hearts over to things that aren’t satisfying or renewing. Daily we make choices that draw us away from our deepest passions and desires. Each time we choose to not sit for our time of morning silence, each time we choose to numb ourselves on endless hours of television, each time we choose to withdraw from the ones we love most, each time we eat food that isn’t really nourishing to our body or to our senses—these are all ways we give ourselves over to that which doesn’t satisfy.” (Christine Valters Paintner)

"OK, so I messed up. But hey, what do you expect? I am only human.” Actually this statement, although commonly used in our culture, is a total lie. The truth about being human is not when we"mess up” or stub our toe, get into an accident, sin, get sick and die. The truth about being human is when we do something good and glorious. A truly human person is a saint. A saint is simply someone who is fully and truly human. Until we are saints, we have not really achieved our full humanness.” (Father Thomas Loya)

" helps to keep in mind the two-sided reality of the Christian life. On the one hand, we are complete in Christ (our acceptance with Him is secure). On the other hand, we are growing in Christ (we are becoming more and more like Him).” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 5:1- 5)

“Real change starts when we stop worrying about how spiritual we appear on the outside and start surrendering our messy lives to the God who wants to change us from the inside... The path to real change is not a perfect path but a personal process.” (Ryan Shook & Josh Shook)"Continued spiritual growth must lead, at some point, to letting go of knowing and focusing more on being." (Greg Wright)

"We can't achieve Christ like character and holy living all at once, but we must grow toward maturity and wholeness. Just as we expect different behavior from a baby, a child, a teenager, and an adult, so God expects different behavior from us, depending on our stage of spiritual development.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 5:48)

“God wants his people to become like Christ, for Christlikeness is the will of God for the people of God.” (John Stot)

"We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.” (A.W. Tozer)

"Christian life isn't a collage of things we do, it's a life lived in harmony with the Holy Spirit.” (Pope Francis)

"God is interested in every part of our life, not just the spiritual part. As we live by the Holy Spirit’s power, we need to submit every aspect of our life to God: emotional, physical, social, intellectual, vocational.” (Life Application Study Bible, Galatians 5:25)

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

“...we are all built for God, made to enjoy his presence and a relationship with him.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"There is a difference between doing something because it is required and doing something because we want to. God is not interested in forced religious exercises and rule keeping. He wants our hearts and lives completely dedicated to him. If we love him, obedience will follow.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 5:29)

“How would you feel if someone took a picture of you, framed it, stared at it a lot, showed it to others, but completely ignored the real you? God does not want to be treated this way either. He wants a genuine relationship with us, not mere ritual. He wants us to know him. God knows that if we put anything other than him at the center of our lives, we will not reach our potential and become all that he wants us to be.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 5:8,9)

"Listening is absorbing and accepting information about God. Learning is understanding its meaning and implications. Obeying is putting into action all we have learned and understood. All three parts are essential to a growing relationship with God.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 5:1)

"While knowledge is important, your personal relationship with Christ is essential. Through that relationship, God has given you the Holy Spirit as a teacher...attached to Christ, you are given spiritual understanding as well as experiences with Christ that underscore your faith.” (Life Application Study Bible, Jude 1:3)

“The knowledge of the only true God is far more than intellectual understanding. It is participation in His divine life and in communion with Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 17:3)

"While God does ask us to lay down all that we are and all that we have in His service, He promises something more precious in their place, something richer, deeper, and fuller. We trade our black-and-white lives for lives lived in full color. He calls us to become the people we were created to be, to live the lives we were meant to live.” (Richard Stearns)

“...knowledge of the only true God is far more than intellectual understanding. It is participation in His divine life and in communion with Him." (Orthodox Study Bible, John 17:3)

“To know God you must not just know the facts about him; you must have a personal relationship with him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 9:7-10)

"Nothing can be hidden from God. He knows about everyone ever where and everything about us is wide open to His all-seeing eyes. God sees all we do and knows all we think. Even when we are unaware of His presence, He is there. When we try to hide from Him, He sees us. We can have no secrets from God. It is comforting to realize that although God knows us intimately, He still loves us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 4:13)

“…Christ has intimate knowledge of every person…” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 10:3-5)

“Realize that growth in Christ is never complete. Heaven promises completeness; until then growth is the normal pattern. Growth often endures seasons of drought and drabness. That’s normal…The key to growth includes daily devotion to Christ through Bible study and prayer…Seek God for how He would have you keep growing in your faith.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 8:13)

“Growing strong in God’s presence is often preceded by a journey through barren places in our lives. The person who loves to spend time with God will see his or her adversity as an opportunity to experience God’s faithfulness even more deeply.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 84:5-7)

“God’s ultimate goal for us is to make us like Christ. As we become more and more like Him, we can discover our true selves, the persons we were created to be.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 8:29)

“The interesting thing about being a mirror of Christ is that the closer you get to becoming like Christ, the closer you get to being your true self! And the closer you get to your true self, the more evident God’s plan is for your life.” (Kasey Van Norman)

“Separation from the world involves more than keeping our distance from sinful practices; it means staying close to God…Cleansing is a twofold action: turning away from sin, and turning toward God.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 6:17, 7:1)

“No matter where we are on our spiritual journey, no matter how mature we are in our faith, the sinful world will always challenge our faith. We still have much room for growth. Every day we need to draw closer to Christ so that we will be prepared to stand for truth in any and all circumstance.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Peter 3:18)

“Instead of aggressively grabbing what we want, we should submit ourselves to God, ask God to help us get rid of selfish desires, and trust Him to gives us what we really need.” (Life Application Study Bible James 4:1-3)

“…to reach your desired aim [union with God], it is first of all necessary to stifle your own wills and finally to extinguish and kill them altogether. And in order to succeed in this, you must constantly oppose all evil in yourself and urge yourself toward 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.” (Saint Theophan the Recluse)

"’s a daily struggle to let Sunday filter over into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday . . . in order to get back to Sunday again!...Pray for the refreshing water of the Holy Spirit to fill your life—not just once when you come to faith, not once a week at church, but every day.” (Kasey Van Norman)

“Maturity is about a choice—a commitment. And there are no shortcuts to maturity. The only way to get there is through the intentional process of discipleship. It requires a day-by-day effort to become more like Christ in everything we do....As Christians, our maturity depends on whether we choose to resemble Christ or the rest of the world.” (Kasey Van Norman)

"As Christians, our calling is from God to become like Christ. This is a gradual lifelong process that will be completed when we see Christ face to face. To be"worthy” of this calling means to want to do what is right and good (as Christ would). We aren’t perfect yet, but we’re moving in that direction as God works in us.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“The more a person truly desires the fullness of a life in Christ, the easier it becomes to renounce those things that are contrary to Godliness.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Jude 1:16)

“To become more like God is humanity’s highest goal…But to become like God is not the same thing as trying to become God. Rather, it is to reflect His characteristics and to recognize His authority over your life.” (Anonymous)

“...spiritual growth is not so much a to-do list or an attempt to master the external mechanics of Christian living. It’s more about humbly placing ourselves before God in order to be changed.” (Kasey Van Norman)

“Our union with God in the future world will indeed come about, and that it will be for us the source of light, peace, joy and bliss; this we partly recognize by experience even in the present life. During prayer, when our soul is wholly turned toward God...I would say, we experience the inexpressible well-being. It is good to be here.” (Saint John of Kronstadt)

"The point at which difficulty enters our lives and our work is not incidental; it is central and significant for at least two reasons. First, it is here that we encounter our own need for God and grow in dependence on God." (Gordon T. Smith)

“God does not shield believers [or anyone] from difficult circumstances, but He examines (or tests) both the righteous and the wicked. For some, God’s tests become a refining fire, while for others they become an incinerator for destruction. Don’t ignore of defy tests and challenges that come your way. Use them as opportunities to grow.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 11:6)

“We need to be careful in our learning and study that we don’t allow our intellectual learning to replace or diminish our sense of awe and wonder…God is not something philosophical that we can understand through our brains only… we know God in our hearts and through experience, not just through intellectual study and logical proofs.” (Sacramental Living)

"God is not against reason; He is beyond reason. God cannot be known through reason alone." (Father Anthony Coniaris)

“The virtues of Christ are not acquired and sustained as a result of a forced effort of our human will where strive to consciously do what Jesus would do in all situations. Rather, sacramental living with the right heart, causes an inner transformation that results in the external actions that reflect these virtues and flow as naturally from within us breathing.” (Sacramental Living)

“Knowing God is not a matter of knowing Him through reason; it is primarily a matter of knowing Him through worship and prayer…it comes from steady, daily growth in faith, love, obedience and humility.” (Father Anthony Coniaris)

“…righteousness is both a gift and a goal, a present reality and a promise to be striven for.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 4:17-24)

“Faith and good works have an organic relationship. The more we truly grow in our faith, the more good works will flow from us naturally and often unconsciously on our part.” (Anonymous)

"The virtues of Christ are not acquired and sustained as a result of a forced effort of our human will where we have intense Bible study and mentally strive to consciously do what Jesus would do in all situations. Rather, sacramental living (e.g., Church, worship, daily prayer, etc.), with the right heart, causes an inner transformation that results in the external actions that reflect these virtues and flow naturally from within us.” (Sacramental Living)

“The specifics of how one follows Christ will be different for each person.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 19:21)

“Becoming Christ like is a progressive experience. The more closely we follow Him, the more we will be like Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 3:18)

“Christian growth is a lifelong process…we don’t automatically think good thoughts and have all pure attitudes when we become new people in Christ. But if we keep listening to God, we will be changing all of the time.” (Life Application Study Bible, Colossians 2:20-23)

“The Holy Spirit is God’s"guarantee” of what will come…Each time the Holy Spirit reminds you of Scripture, convicts you of sin, restrains you from selfish behavior, or prompts you to love, you have evidence that He is present. You have the Spirit within you beginning the transformation process.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:4) "In our spiritual life we shouldn’t seek some special feeling or some sensational experience….…sensationalism and emotionalism are not signs of the Holy Spirit…The Spirit is sensational but not in the context of human sensations…mystery is always in the ordinary.” (Sacramental Living)

“…our relationship with God is on allowing Christ to come and dwell within our hearts to the point that we are constantly trying to stop relying solely on our own emotions, reasoning, and feelings, and instead relying on the Holy Spirit who guides us. Think of it as using your own intelligence, wisdom and understanding but always having this deep and intimate friend and companion to turn to within.” (Sacramental Living)

“God has even given us a"guarantee” - the amazing, present activity of God the Holy Spirit within us” (Dynamis 11/3/2012)

“Many Churches use language like"come as you are” and"God loves and accepts you as you are” and the like to attract people. You’re likely reading this thinking what is wrong with that. The problem with… their general message is that what is being communicated is only half of the equation, so to speak. Yes, come are you are as a start and God indeed loves you. However, what these ads should also say is be then prepared to feel totally uncomfortable as you begin to transform on your path to becoming all God wants you to be.” (Sacramental Living)"Human beings have an innate sense of transcendence and longing for ultimate reality experienced only in the internal presence of God.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:4)

“If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” (C.S Lewis)

“[Spiritual growth] is the work of a lifetime and often involves some great hardship and struggle… all of us must struggle hard to get past our own lazy inclinations and seek God with all of our effort because, due to the sinful inclinations within us, it does not, at first, come naturally… spiritual growth and an eventual sense of conviction come through persistence and struggle.” (Sacramental Living)

“As we are purified by God, His reflection in our lives will become more and more clear to those around us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Malachi 3:2, 3)

“The more anyone grows in faith due to this relationship the more they will be at peace with their lives because they will feel God’s presence and grace in all circumstances.” (Sacramental Living)

“Your relationship with God is the most important foundation for your life, and indeed it keeps all the other factors—work, friendships and family, leisure and pleasure—from becoming so important to you that they become addicting and distorted” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“For the heart of the human person is made for God - for truth, for love, for life itself, and not for mere"existence" and is inevitably unsatisfied, frustrated, confused, distressed, angered, bored...until it comes to rest in Him.” (Father Thomas Hopko)

“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing." (C.S. Lewis)

"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)

“To know God is life’s highest purpose.” (Father Anthony Coniaris)

“He [God] is calling us to work at our own deification, to participate in His life, and to have Him act through our lives.” (Dynamis 12/5/2012)

“All that we are and do flows from God and the more we acknowledge this and seek God … the more we will grow in Christ and naturally reflect a greater and greater measure of His love. God has given us a tremendous gift and opportunity to grow in Him and enjoy the fruits of His spirit which are as St. Paul states in Galatians 5:22:love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Sacramental Living)

“If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing [God] that has them?” (C.S. Lewis)

“God does not promise to give us everything we think is good but He will not withhold what is permanently good. He will give us the means to walk along His paths but we must do the walking.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 84:11)

“Let us never infer that we may be mere passive observers of the Spirit - simply waiting for Him to manifest His presence.” (Dynamis 12/5/2012)

“Some think Christianity a passive religion that advocates waiting for God to act. On the contrary, we must have an active faith, training, working hard, sacrificing, and doing what we know is right.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Timothy 6:11, 12)

"God works to change us from the inside out. When the Holy Spirit purifies a heart, He gives self-control so that the person will speak words that please God.” (Life Application Study Bible, James 3:2,3,6)

“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)

“…the Sabbath, Church, prayer and everything associated with striving to live a holy life is a means for us to grow towards God and become more and more Christ like. We call this growth toward God theosis or deification. As we grow in God our human character takes on more and more of God’s divine character.” (Sacramental Living)


“Faith is a relational power or a relationship which brings about the immediate, perfect and supranatural union of the believer with the God in whom he believes.” (St. Maximos the

“Christianity …is a spiritual path towards union with God…True prayer is a movement into ever greater self-emptying. It is the normative means of our daily union with Christ…We are made alive to God through union with Christ.” (Father Stephen Freeman, OCPM 10/26/2015)

“Acceptance of our membership in Christ – acknowledging that we belong to Him – is essential to the formation of a right mind within ourselves. A healthy Christian outlook arises from the experience of our union with Christ and with other members of the Church through the Holy Spirit.” (Dynamis 6/29/2015)

"The world is full of individuals doing their own thing. As long as they remain this way, they will never become a true person, the person they were created to be in union with God.” (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)

"God is always speaking to us but we are often so busy monologuing with ourselves that we may not be able to hear Him...He won’t always speak to us in the manner in which we might expect. Sometimes it may be a verse from Scripture, a verse from the Fathers, a sense in our own heart of intuition or conscience, or just the peace of God. We must be open and ready for any way God chooses to reveal Himself..." (Archimandrite Sergius)

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