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Spiritual Warfare and Standing Fast

“Who among us has not faltered and taken a wrong step? How often do we let pain or troubles steal our peace in Christ?...a multitude of forces assault us, distract us, and rudely separate us from the Lord’s path. The question is how, then, are we to stand fast in the grace of God?” First and foremost, we stand by faith (1 Thes 3:6-7)… Second, we reframe our understanding of the tribulations that come to every Christian…“we are appointed to” trials (1 Thes 3:3)…by our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. We give thanks that God’s hand is ever upon us, knowing that He is especially near when we endure afflictions. Third, we must determine to reject temptations…Finally, we stir up love for the Lord and His apostles. Our love for Him and His love for us is our bulwark against straying (vs. 6). The Lord closely examines Saint Peter in order to anchor him in that love (Jn 21:15-17). Christ awakens love for Him in every heart that asks!” (Dynamis 11/29/2021)

“Our…task is to remain faithful to what God has given us through Christ and the Holy Spirit in the Church. We must study the scriptures, participate in the sacraments, follow the fathers, imitate the saints. We must strive for humility and wisdom, obedience and courage in our steadfast adherence to the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. We must avoid every exaggeration and every extreme. We must resist every novelty which is presented to us as superior just because it is different. We must flee every alien spirit and close our ears to the many strange voices that call to us saying of our Lord: Lo, He is here! Lo, He is there! We must be firm in our faith and stable in our judgments, steadfast in our devotion and constant in our prayer. We must stand fast in that which is given by God, without prejudice or pride, discerning the spirits and reading the signs of the times in order to determine that which is indeed proceeding from God.” (OCA Holy Synod of Bishops)

“Because we are in a proper relationship with God, the result of our faith, what joy it is to enjoy the peace which we have always yearned for throughout our lives, which seemed to have always eluded us. What do we find, but grace….because of the inconceivable love of God…stand fast in it and enjoy it, this fulfillment of the hope of God’s glory. With that in mind, we may dare to come to terms with so many negative troubles that afflict us while we are on earth. Can we find a reason to give glory even for those problems? We know that traumas offer opportunities to exercise courage, and courage brings out the best features of character, and with such character we evolve into persons of hope. Hope is not empty dreams and delusions, but rather expectation of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky) 

“…in our spiritual life we experience a strong and at times overwhelming tension between evil and good, temptation and grace…the passions are located on the level of the “flesh,” the superficial aspect of our life; whereas grace dwells in and operates from the nous or depths of our inner being. Baptism bestows upon us sacramental grace. But there is nothing automatic about its effect. It can become “operative,” so to speak, only when we allow it to work within us, to guide and protect us in the struggle against demonic temptation….when we take up the “good fight,” by which grace (alone!) enables us to stand fast against “the principalities and powers” of this world and to journey—body, mind, soul and spirit—toward Life in God.” (Fr. John Breck)

“Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast.” (St. Philip Neri)


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