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Thoughts, Words, Actions, Deeds

“For in every condition of human life, there are souls that please God and have their hidden deeds wherein He takes delight. Whence it is plain that it is not so much profession or habit that is pleasing to God as the sincerity and affection of the soul and honesty of deed…The accomplishment of heroic deeds is not necessary; only small, day-to-day good ones.” (Desert Fathers and Mothers, Fr. Joseph Irvin)

“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it…Do you see? Our action precedes God’s cooperation. God assists us when we take action and make a start, but when we do not act, He does not assist. Observe too that deeds follow words, and the word is confirmed by deeds, as with the apostles, whose subsequent deeds and signs affirmed their message.” (Russkaya Vera)

“Those who do not believe in God’s omnipresence in their thoughts and hearts depreciate the power of God, do not ascribe to Him even that property which air possesses, for air is everywhere. Is not the Creator of the air everywhere?. ..when I believe, with lively faith, that “Because true faith always results in good deeds, those who claim to have faith and who consistently do what is right are true believers.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 John 2:28-29)

“The source of the deeds that God will evaluate is the heart. And the Lord said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (NKJV Matthew 15:19). The prophet Jeremiah said, “I, the LORD, search the heart, test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10). If our heart is good, our actions will be good. If our heart is evil, our actions will be evil. Therefore, God will scrutinize the state of the heart of every person. If God judges solely by the state of the heart, we can claim no special standing before God. God looks beneath the appearance of status, wealth, power, reputation, achievement, social class, ethnic background, group membership. As both Paul and Peter say, “God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11) (Acts 10:34). If God does not show favoritism, we should not expect it for ourselves nor treat other according to it.” (Fr. Basil)

“…from the Gospel perspective, hell and Paradise are not so much rewards/retributions in the afterlife and people’s “abodes”, as they are the inner states of human hearts here and now, during our earthly lives. Just as the Kingdom of God is within you (Lk. 17:21), so is hell within us. Besides, if in the afterlife they are separated, so that there is a great gulf fixed (Lk. 16:26) between them and they can’t cross over or each other, then here on earth they often coexist in the same heart, are expressed by the same tongue, manifest themselves in actions of one and the same person, and are mixed to the point that they are extremely difficult to separate from each other, like the mixing of the wheat and the tares in the Lord’s parable. It is imperative for us to understand that hell and Paradise are not somewhere “out there” and in an uncertain moment in the future, but already here and now; that the everlasting Heavenly bliss and torments of hell in the afterlife are the natural fruits and natural consequences of our earthly lives: our intentions, thoughts, decisions, words, deeds, feelings, will, reason, and attitude towards God and our neighbor.” (Priest Tarasiy Borozenets)

“Christian love, however, broadens the horizons and does away with every barrier of ethical, racial or cultural distinction. Love is promoted as a rule of life for all and towards all: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Christian view of human behavior is not formed through the will, the intentions or inclinations, but by doing, by deeds and action…we believe we should be engaged and should transform the world through good deeds that are a natural outgrowth of our faith…These deeds of love and kindness, whether great in the eyes of the world or unnoticed, are all important to God and represent each one of us doing our part.” (Georgios Patronos, Sacramental Living)

“Not by words alone, but also by deeds has God taught us to pray. [Jesus] Himself prayed frequently and demonstrated what we ought to do by the testimony of His own example [see Mt 14:23; Lk 6:12]. But if He who was without sin prayed, how much more ought sinners to pray, and if He prayed continually, watching through the whole night with uninterrupted petitions, how much more ought we to lie awake at night in continuing prayer…Show forth all good and holy things by deeds more than by words.” (St. Cyprian, St. Benedict of Nursia)

“Such deeds are undoubtedly more important than the books we write. What use is my book to someone who is seriously suffering, ill, exhausted or freezing, whose soul is more precious than all the riches of the world, gazing at me with a pleading look? He needs a kind human word, compassion, a piece of warm bread, and help. Does he care about lofty words in my book, if I just pass him by, without giving him anything or helping him in any way? If I write for people but shield my soul from them, passing by suffering and grief; if my neighbor cannot rely on me in a difficult moment in life—what are my “love of God”, “theology” and beautifully printed pages covered with letters for?” (Sergey Krapivin)

“Thinking you have to prove the correctness of your point of view does nothing for truth but only gives power to the demons of pride, anger, and stupidity. The power and influence of good deeds always wins out in the end...we are better off if we do not engage others in lengthy debates and fruitless discussions; we can better change their hearts by our love and good deeds.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Struggling to obey the Lord each day is the only way to grow in holiness and follow the path of the saints to the heavenly kingdom. To identify ourselves with Christ without pursuing this difficult and humbling path is sheer hypocrisy in which we judge ourselves by the contradiction between our words and our deeds. We will never become “fishers of men” by entangling ourselves in the nets of such spiritual pride and delusion. Instead of attracting others to Christ like a beacon in the darkness, we will turn them away by our bad example. There are far too many examples of people who do precisely that in the world today…We do well to remember that our thoughts, words, and deeds both reflect and shape the health of our souls.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“Sins of thought are not an unimportant matter for the Christian, because all that is pleasing to God in us is comprised in thoughts, for the thoughts are the beginning from which the words and deeds proceed…A person’s thoughts are the foundation of his or her words and deeds.” (St. John of Kronstadt, Foundation Study Bible, Proverbs 12:5-6)

“If our thoughts suggest something to us to be done, we must handle it with utmost scrupulosity. It must be placed on the scales of the heart and weighed with the most exacting care. Is it filled with what is good for all? Is it heavy with the fear of God? Is it genuine in the feelings which underlie it? Is it lightweight because of human show or because of some thrust toward novelty? Has the burden of vainglory lessened its merit or diminished its luster? This prompt testing will be done as something public. That is, it is measured against the acts and the witness of the apostles. If it looks to be whole, complete, and in conformity with these latter, then let us hold on to it. Or if it seems defective, dangerous, and not of equal weight with these, let us cautiously and carefully reject it.” (St. John Cassian)

“If we want to resist evil thoughts and expel them from ourselves, we can do so with God’s help—having recourse to unceasing prayer and the other remedies against evil. ” (St. Anastasios of Sinai)

“Just as the most bitter medicine drives out poisonous creatures, so prayer joined to fasting drives evil thoughts away… Let us use the time of the fast to reorder our thoughts " (Amma Syncletica of the Desert, Dynamis 2/16/2015)

“All of us, clergy, laity, monastics, must bring Christ to our minds first, as soon as we awake from our sleep. Let us offer to Him the beginning of all our thoughts like a morning sacrifice.” (St. Symeon the New Theologian)

“…let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth…We are to give our attention to deeds, not just to words…To love in word is to speak loving words but to stop short of doing anything to prove that love. The opposite of loving in word is loving in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18, Orthodox Study Bible, 1 John 3:12, Foundation Study Bible, 1 John 3:18)

“Right thinking is the raw material for right actions (Ps. 119:11; Prov. 23:7; Rom. 12:2; James 1:13–15). Our actions will naturally reveal the direction of our thoughts.” (Foundation Study Bible, Titus 2:1)

“Always test your spiritual acuity, turn to the Lord to guard you against delusion, and watch your thoughts before acting…Behold, I am coming to reward them according to their actions and their thoughts.” (Dynamis 1/17/2019, Wisdom of Sirach 11:24)

“Our thoughts, our words, and our actions and deeds must be loving and in congruence. Unfortunately, they are not always loving and often incongruent. We do the opposite of what we say. We may do one thing in public and another in private. We may say one thing but really think another. Sin is the infection that causes this disharmony. Christ offers us the cure through union with Him. The more we are in union with Him the more our thoughts, words, and actions will be of one accord and will be loving.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“As we draw into closer union with Him through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, He strengthens us against every word and deed that mars the soul and, in turn, He increases our godly understanding and enlightenment…As in God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are undivided, so also in prayer and in our daily life the thought, the word, and the deed ought to be undivided." (Dynamis 1/3/2019, St. John of Kronstadt)

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