Self-Reliance

October 11, 2019

“Do everything with humility and fear of God according to God’s will and to His glory. He who does something out of self-reliance, with boldness and audacity, out of self-gratification or man-pleasing, no matter how righteous the act, only fosters within himself an evil spirit of self-righteousness, arrogance and Pharisaism.” (Saint Theophan the Recluse)

 

“…the enviable level of material well-being and the technological advances of our great land are, in some respects, a spiritual liability in that they blind us to our utter weakness...Both the prosperity and the technology we enjoy are indeed great blessings in our lives, but they nonetheless give us a sense of empowerment and drive us to triumphant feeling of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and independence-a sense that we are somehow both strong and invulnerable. And this illusion of strength, for indeed it is an illusion and only that, stands as a hindrance to the proper relationship with God that each of us as Christians should actively be seeking in our lives.” (Fr. Andrew Demotses)

 

“The very first words spoken by our Lord at the beginning of His ministry were, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17). Those to whom he spoke knew what He meant. He was demanding a total conversion of the inner self, which includes: (a) recognizing that one’s way of life is contrary to God’s plan for man: (b) giving up all self-reliance and surrendering unconditionally to our Creator: (c) converting one’s whole being to the Will of God. For many modern people, that demand of Christ is incomprehensible. To understand Him, one has to know what God Is; that there is a Power and a Being beyond existence as we know it, and yet within it. More than that, one has to have the capacity to give oneself over totally, selflessly and irrevocably to God.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

 

“ Self-reliance has its place, but also its limits. Deep problems that we cannot overcome by our own abilities show us that we are not as powerful as we had imagined… Spiritual disciplines are not exercises in self-reliance, as though we earn something from God by being diligent in performing them. Instead, they are simply ways of helping us share more fully in the life of Christ as we grow in recognizing our sinfulness and opening ourselves to receive His healing mercy… The healing of our souls is found by sharing in the life of Christ. We will be able to unite ourselves to Him in holiness only when we know the weakness of our faith as we turn away from self-reliance and receive His mercy from the depths of our souls.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

 

“…God’s grace does not cancel out free will…[but] Self-reliant hearts are fully ready to abandon the grace of God…What keeps grace in the soul more than anything else? Humility. What makes it withdraw more than anything else? Feelings of pride, a high opinion of oneself, self-reliance." (Dynamis 7/20/2014, Orthodox Study Bible, Deuteronomy 7:1-3, St. Theophan the Recluse)

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