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Spiritual Warfare and Growth

“Sin is portrayed in Scripture as an active and powerful force in unrelenting pursuit of its victims (Gen. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8), and the believer is called to total war against it.” (Foundation Study Bible, Psalms 97:10)

“We must consider all evil things, even the passions which war against us, to be not our own, but of our enemy the devil. This is very important. You can only conquer a passion when you do not consider it as part of you." (St. Nikon of Optina)

“When we think every problem we have is of our own making and can be solved solely by our own efforts, we are falling into a trap. It’s like having a serious physical illness and insisting we can cure ourselves without a doctor. St. Paul makes it clear in Romans 10 that the war within us that causes us to do think wrong and do wrong, even when we want to do right, cannot be overcome on our own. It’s the disease of sin, a foreign agent that has infected us. We need Christ to be healed of this.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“An escape from sinfulness requires more than just repentant thoughts. For we are enmeshed in a spiritual war zone, entrenched in patterns of sin that become habitual. Often, darkness becomes imprinted in our souls and bodies so that even our wills our bypassed and we sin automatically. To cleanse ourselves means that by the promised of God, we embark on a sustained struggle for holiness. This cleansing includes genuine sorrow for our sins, confession and repentance. It means willful avoidance of sin arousing situations, reconciliation with those we have wronged, and resolute practice of Christian virtue, and cleaving to God through faith and prayer. It calls us to participation in the holy sacraments. Is this too difficult for us humans? Yes. Thus it is the Holy Spirit, who cleanses us from every stain, and heals our infirmities, who empowers us to live this life of peace with God and repentance before Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 7:1)

“The end result of the Holy Sprit’s work in our lives is a deep and lasting peace. Unlike worldly peace, which is usually defined as absence of conflict, this peace is confident assurance in any circumstance; with Christ’s peace, we have no need to fear the present or the future. Sin, fear, uncertainty and doubt and numerous other forces are at war within us. The peace of God moves into our hearts and lives to restrain the hostile forces and offer comfort in place of conflict.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 14:27)

“The battlefield of spiritual warfare includes entrenched spiritual fortresses (strongholds), human reason (arguments, v. 5), human and angelic powers (every high thing that exalts itself), ideas (thought), and the will (obedience). Our weapons include the Cross, prayer, and the Word of God. Both our thoughts (v. 5) and our actions (v. 6) are to be submissive to Christ…The strongest of all weapons against darkness is our love for God, a strong, vibrant relationship with Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, 1 John 1:5)

“The real battle is not with human cultists, false religionists, atheists, agnostics, and pseudo-Christians, but with the demonic beings working through them.” (Foundation Study Bible, Ephesians 6:12)

“All who stand for good must wage a constant battle with the forces of evil. For the demons still have power in the world (Ephesians 6:12) until Christ comes again in glory…Christians fight back with God's arms, that is, His uncreated divine energy, given to us (Ephesians 1:19–23; 3:16–21) and actively used by us. The Christian has “put on” (Ephesians 4:24) at baptism all the qualities listed as armor in Ephesians 14–17. These qualities must be exercised in the conflict of growth: no struggle, no deification.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 6:10-17)

“Satan knows that the only offensive weapon we have to raise against him is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. He can’t keep it from being powerful, but if he can tempt us to think little of it, he knows it will never be powerful in us.” (Beth Moore)

“It’s hard in the modern age sometimes to take anything supernatural and metaphysical seriously. But Christ clearly did in the Gospels when He cast out demons, rebuked fevers and sicknesses as if they were entities that needed rebuking, and consistently talked about Satan as real. Sometimes our prayers aren’t not as effective as they could be because we believe but deep down still have unbelief.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“Because most of us are not sufficiently aware of the actual conditions prevailing in the spiritual dimension of this life, we behave like inexperienced children – we are liable to paralysis by fear, over-dependence on familiar resources, and an inattentiveness to heart matters. For this reason, Christ our Lord provides instruction and encouragement to awaken us and bring us to a higher state of alert.” (OCPM 12/2/2017)

“God provides signs, some obvious, and many subtle, which can lead us to a better understanding of His will for our lives and can lead to better lives overall for us. The question is, are we watching for them? The smart person isn’t the one who stubbornly plows ahead, but the one who makes the sometimes smarter decision to stop, or to ask for help.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“An honest diagnosis of your own soul always precedes true spiritual healing and growth.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“Often, when new growth occurs, the most dreadful things seem to happen, but then we see that they were exactly what was required.” (Robert A. Johnson)

“Those who actually do progress spiritually do not recognize their great progress; they only experience great compunction and humility and the love of God together with an inexpressible exultation of joy.” (Elder Paisios of Mount Athos)

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