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Battle/Fight Within

“Christianity has always meant an opposition to and a fight with this world – a fight, let me stress it again, which is primarily, if not exclusively, a personal fight, i.e., an internal one – with the ‘old man’ in myself, with my own ‘reduction’ of myself to ‘this world.’ There is no Christian life without martyria and without asceticism, this latter term meaning nothing else, fundamentally, but a life of concentrated effort and fight.” (Fr. Alexander Schmemann)


“You’re sad because you quickly lost that inner state of consolation you were in after taking holy communion. But you should know that spiritual consolation, ‘comfort’, in whatever form it visits us- as boundless spiritual peace, indescribable joy, holy zeal, sweet compunction or anything else- isn’t the main thing to seek in a God-centered life. The prime aspiration and basic concern isn’t solace, but decisively and actively maintaining ourselves, inwardly and outwardly in a good condition which is pleasing to the Lord. Any consolation is given by God as ‘bait’, as a challenge and exhortation. ‘This is what you’ll enjoy; so strive’. So when we lack something, we shouldn’t despair, but fight ‘the good fight of faith’ (1 Tim. 6:12) with greater zeal, steadfastness and persistence.” (St. Theophan the Recluse)


“If we want ‘virtue, boldness and freedom’, sanctity, then we need to be decisive, humble and zealous in order to bring freedom from the passions and to experience peace and joy in the heart. It’s important to understand that the last word in our life belongs to Christ, who overcame every form of death; not to ourselves, who reek of death even in the good things we do. Awareness of this brings hope, because strength and stability are to be found in Christ ‘who came out conquering and to conquer’ and, with him, in all those who relied upon him. The fight we’re called upon to wage is to lay down our will and desire, so that we’re not resisting God’s grace.” (Fr. Andreas Agathokleous)


“If we do something once and then repeat it, it becomes difficult to stop. So much so, that repetition of what we’ve become used to ends up as second nature. Any effort to stop a habit is often experienced as tearing up roots. This is where the importance of habit in spiritual warfare becomes clear, in the struggle waged by the faithful in their efforts to follow the path of God’s will rather than their own, sinful one…when you persist in doing God’s will, however hard it is for you, then your persistence and patience enable you to overcome your problem, which means that your spiritual life becomes ever easier. It may be that, by divine dispensation, the cunning devil will fight all the harder against such Christians, but the grace of God will support them in due measure, now reinforced by their self-control. The habit of a positive approach to God builds our path ‘from glory to glory’, that is, an ascent without end.” (Protopresbyter Georgios Dorbarakis)


“Fight the good fight and God will strengthen you. In the struggle, we identify our weaknesses, shortcomings and faults. It’s the mirror of our spiritual state. If you haven’t striven, you don’t know yourself. Pay attention to small transgressions, as well. If some sin befalls you through lack of attention, don’t despair, but recover quickly; fall down before God who has the power to put you right. Great sorrow is a cover for pride. Excessive sorrow and despair are harmful and dangerous, and are often exacerbated by the devil in order to impede the progress of those who are striving.” (Saint Nectarios of Pentapolis)


“If we are to remain faithful to Christ without being drawn back into sin, we face an unending battle of self-denial. Who can help us win this struggle but Christ? He says, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (Jn 6:38). The Lord Jesus does not ask anything of us that He did not also do as a man. He knows the battle, and thus in Him we have an invincible champion…When we love God above all else, His commandments become weapons that aid us in our unseen warfare, those incessant battles fought in and for the soul of every Christian. God’s statutes are lifelines from the Lord. Our merciful God foresees the demons’ intentions and the weakness of our flesh. He gives His embattled children the commandments in order to expose the demons and allow us to gain control over our passions.” (Dynamis 7/30/2020, 6/30/2022)


“There is nothing lacking in the Lord’s great Self-Offering on the Cross for the salvation of the world. All that is lacking is our constant obedience to His calling to deny ourselves and follow Him. Because of our own passions and the brokenness of our world of corruption, the struggle for faithfulness inevitably requires suffering. The Church is our Lord’s body of which we are unworthy members, and we must constantly take up our own crosses in order to find healing for our souls and strengthen the Church in faithfulness. Our suffering is not somehow pleasing to God in and of itself, but results from the inevitable tension we experience in the struggle to die to all that would separate us from Christ. Truly taking up our crosses means embracing the difficult battle each day to reject the distortions of soul that have become second nature to us.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)


“Through our anxiety about worldly things we hinder the soul from enjoying divine blessings and we bestow on the flesh greater care and comfort than are good for it. We nourish it with what is harmful and thus make it an adversary, so that it not only wavers in battle but, because of over-indulgence, it fights vigorously against the soul, seeking honors and rewards.” (Venerable Nilus the Faster of Sinai)


“If we are serious about being Christian, which means striving to be Christ-like through union with Him, we must expect internal conflict. There is a part of us that naturally gravitates to God and everything about Him. But due to sin and our damaged will, we also have opposition to God within us. Just as Adam and Eve brought sin into the world through pride (i.e., seeking life apart from God), we inherited this condition and our life is a continual battle within. The good news is if we are sincere in our desire to follow Christ, this internal battle both lessens and also becomes a way that Christ uses to refine us as we die to pride and self and live in and for Him. He Himself suffered temptation but did not have internal conflict. The more we grow in Him, we become like Him in this way.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“Every day, and in many moments of the day, there are choices to be made. We have a choice to choose good and a choice to choose evil. We can choose Christ or we can choose sin. Choosing Christ means to put aside the impulse to sin. It means putting sin to death, squashing it, and then choosing Christ. Of course, no one wins this battle every time. Some days, even with the best of people with the best of intentions, evil wins, we choose wrong. That is the human condition. The challenge, and it is a daily challenge, is to die to sin, to put sin away; and to live in Christ.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)


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