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Self-Seeking

“ ‘Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic’ (James 3:13-15). The Apostle James distinguishes “earthly, sensual, demonic” wisdom from the true “wisdom that is from above” (vss. 15, 17). Likewise, Saint Paul differentiates between “the wisdom of this world” and “the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:20-21)… Thus, when we choose to live in envy, self-seeking, confusion, and other evils, we can expect only earthly, sensual, and demonic wisdom to prevail (vss. 15-16). But Saint James tells us that if we humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and open our hearts to Him, we allow the Spirit to enter and provide the “wisdom from above” (vs. 17).” (Dynamis 1/10/2023)


“We cannot have peace and war at the same time. And warfare begins with the turmoil of our hearts. In this vein, today’s writing contrasts two types of wisdom, the wisdom from below and the “wisdom from above.” The “wisdom from below” harbors “envy [and] self-seeking” in the heart. It is boastful and deceitful. It is “earthly, sensual, and demonic” (James 3:14-15). When these worldly habits of the heart possess us, they compel us to stir up the turmoil in our hearts in the souls of others…On the other hand, the “wisdom from above” first of all is pure. It has no competing desires that contend with each other within us (James 4:1-2). It entertains no hypocrisy or partiality (vs. 17.) Thus, in its purity, it is “peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, and full of mercy and good fruits” (vs.17). Thus the fruit of our peacefulness is the righteousness of peace of all persons and things around us.” (Fr. Basil)


“…the most fundamental prerequisite for us to recognize and discern the truth is humility. Egotism darkens the mind, it confuses us, it brings us into delusion, into heresy. It’s important for people to understand the truth… The most important thing is to move away from form to essence. Whatever happens should happen because of love. Love always involves making sacrifices…You prepare to gain what Christ offers, to have divine grace enter into you, but it can’t enter unless you have what people must have. What is that? Humility. Unless we have humility, we can’t love Christ. Humility and no self-seeking in our worship of God. ‘Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing’.” (Saint Porfyrios Kavsolkalyvitis)


“… my will isn’t enough. My own ambitions, motivations, and intentions easily go astray by something like self-seeking; they can also be paralyzed by fear, sloth, or whatever. I know I need to leave room for the grace of God’s perfect will, to keep my will on track. Daily communion with Christ opens that door, when I pray with Him, “Thy will be done.” (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)


“We are created to find happiness only in Him, and He does all He can to turn us away from our fearful and self-seeking selves toward Him so we can find the joy for which He created us.” (Thomas Williams)


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