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Strength (Self-Reliance)

“…the people of God did not fight with the hand or weapons so much as with the voice and tongue, that is, they poured forth prayer to God, and thus overcame their adversaries. Therefore, you, too, if you want to be victorious, listen to the apostle [Paul] say, “Be assiduous in prayer, being wakeful.” This is the most glorious fight of the Christian, not to presume upon his own strength but always to implore the assistance of God.” (St. Caesarius of Arles)

“ ‘But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body’ (1 Corinthians 15:35-38). It seems to me that here Paul is refuting those who ignore the particular standards of nature and assess the divine power in the light of their own strength. They think that God can do only as much as man can comprehend. They think that what is beyond us also exceeds the power of God.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

“Sometimes we are actually bound by the ‘strong man’ and may not even know it. We have to overcome the ‘strong man’ not by our own strength, but by relentlessly uniting ourselves to the ‘Stronger Man’ (Luke 14:21-23). The ‘strong man’ tries to deceive us through fears, temptations, and other imagined fantasies and corrupt the ‘simplicity that is in Christ’ (2 Corinthians 11:3). Trying to overcome him by our own strength does not work. We overcome him by continuously (not to be confused with continually) uniting ourselves to Christ through daily prayer, Bible reading with the purpose of knowing Christ, repentance and confession, and the Eucharist. These are our weapons in this spiritual warfare. Christ already has the victory over evil and we can share in His victory. We simply have to turn to Him in prayer without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and be patient and trusting as He works in our life what is best for us according to His good and perfect will.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“If we seek purity of life and holiness solely by means of our own strength, we risk becoming discouraged. The fatal delusion of self-sufficiency eventually plunges us into despair. Let us rather depend upon the Church and the Holy Spirit to bring us to Christ, teaching us to receive the healing touch of His hand and His blessing.” (Dynamis 12/24/2014)

“Each of us is called to commune with God in such a way, that God and each of us should become one, that each of us should become partaker of the Divine nature, a living member, a brother, a sister, a limb of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit, a son and a daughter of the Living God! This is our vocation; but can that be achieved by our own strength? No, it cannot! But it can be achieved by God in us if we only turn to Him with all our mind, all our heart, all our longing, determinably, yes: it is determination, and it is longing, a passionate, desperate longing… And then – and then all things become possible. I have said so often that when Saint Paul asked God for strength to fulfill his mission, the Lord said to him, My grace suffitheth unto thee, My power deploys itself in weakness… And at the end of his life, having fulfilled his vocation, Paul, who knew what he was saying, said, all things are possible unto me in the power of Christ Who sustains me…All things are possible, because God does not call us to more than can be achieved by Him with us and in us.” (Metropolitan Anthony Bloom)


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