Futility

February 7, 2019

“St. Paul warns us several times in his Epistles about futile thinking, futile faith, and futile perception of reality. It all starts with not understanding and/or not accepting the truth of Christ. His knowledge comes from the experience of someone who once was confident in his own thinking apart from Christ until Christ showed him the futility of it as we read in the Book of Acts. Christ specifically tells Paul that he is ‘kicking against the goads’ (Acts 9:5)…Here Christ is declaring the futility of fighting against divine truth.” (Sacramental Living Blog, Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 9:5)

 

“The apostle Paul provides an account of how human beings failed to retain the true knowledge and revelation of God: ‘What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.” (Rom. 1:19-23) (Father Demetrios J. Constantelos)

 

“This is the rat race, the broad path. It is the wide-open pursuit of this world to the exclusion of God. In a nutshell, this broad path always leads to living for self. For self-fulfillment, self-comfort self-preservation. For money, knowledge, popularity, respect, prestige, position, or possessions. It is living to make a living rather than living to make a life. It is the mindless, futile pursuit of this world.” (Steven Lawson)

 

“The natural tendency of human beings is to think their way away from God…Intellectual pride, rationalizations, and excuses all keep people from God…We humans, you see, have an infinite capacity for self-rationalization…God’s way of thinking is far above ours; He knows all the futile thoughts of the “wise.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 18-21, Chuck Colson)

 

“We all recognize the futility of trying to improve behavior without taming the heart. The Christian may go to church and sing hymns and give alms and adorn the world with plentiful evidence of his faith, yet still fly into a rage when provoked or seethe with jealousy when slighted or burn with lust when aroused or swell with pride when praised. So, some deeper change is needed. Christian life is about becoming a new creation in Christ; it’s the daily renewal of the inward man (II Corinthians 5:17 and 4:16). It is to follow St. Seraphim’s advice to acquire not peace in and of itself, but the Spirit of peace. Such inner renewal brings the heart under the control of the Holy Spirit, who then releases the attributes of Galatians 5 through us according to His time, His measure, His purpose, and His glory.” (Fr. John Oliver)

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