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Following Christ

“…becoming Christ’s disciple does not originate with us…We are always free to answer yes or no, but Christ initiates…Following Christ is another entry level requirement for every Christian. We may say that we are Christians, but this label does not make us followers of Christ….We have to act, to do something more than speaking pious words. As Shakespeare says, “‘Tis a kind of good deed to say well: and yet words are no deeds.” Our Lord proclaims, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21). Disciples are those who act when the Lord Jesus calls (Jn 14:15).” (Dynamis 3/18/2023)

“Each person must take up his/her own “cross.” The burden in this world is different for each person, and each has been chosen by God to bear certain struggles for their salvation and the salvation of those around them…Commitment to following Christ is not just a one-time event…it is the continual practice of faith and obedience…” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 9:23)

“This is another struggle and dilemma which St. Paul mentions he faces [Philippians 1:21-24]. On the one hand, he is tired after years of ministry and wants to be with our Lord, which means he wishes to die. On the other hand, his love for his flock causes him to want to continue his life on earth to serve them. Though he thinks dying and being with Christ is his preference, he decides to deny himself to continue serving those whom he loves and who have been entrusted to his ministry. This is Paul taking up his cross to follow Christ. The twist is that though he thinks dying will bring him closer to Christ, he instead chooses to follow the Lord by denying himself and taking up his cross by pressing on in this world. He chooses to do the thing he thinks separates himself from Christ in order to follow Christ! He has to die to his own will, which means continuing to live in this world. He has to live in this world in order to die to himself!” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“The truth is that, if we never get around to repenting, to straightening out our lives and replacing corrupt habits with holy ones, we will never acquire the strength to resist our temptations. We will diminish ourselves to the point that we will not be able even to imagine living as anything other than slaves to our own pleasures, desires, and agendas. If, on the other hand, we acknowledge in humble confession how we have failed to prepare the way of the Lord as we open even the dark and crooked dimensions of ourselves to Him, then we will find the strength to follow Christ one step at a time. In the practical and tangible ways that are available to us, we will learn to serve Christ in our neighbors, especially those in need in various ways.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“When I write on the issues of modernity, I continually point us back to the Cross. Jesus had a famous conversation with a Rich Young Ruler, at the end of which He said, “If you would be perfect, sell what you have, give it to the poor, and come and follow me.” I have imagined the Rich Young Ruler as a modern man. He says in return, “Well, can I keep my money if I promise to only use it for good?” The power of modernity (its wealth, its technology, its politics, its philosophy of individual freedom, etc.) is the stuff that dreams are made of. Strangely, we discover that all of that power keeps us awake at night, anxious and sick. The Rich Young Ruler turned down the offer to become a god (a Christ-like saint) in order to become a manager. That is the sickness of our age.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


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