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Upright Living

“Man is a being with an upright spine. He cannot change the natural position of his body without losing his dignity. A man on all fours is not quite a man. He’s like the prodigal son, who tormented by hunger desired to feed from the pig trough. There is no other way to do it than by bending down to the ground and assuming the height of those contemptible animals. That is how sin presses us down to the ground. At first it buckles the knees under the pressure of temptation. Then it presses by shame, when the face is lowered and ashamed to look up to the heavens. At this point sin has not become a deed, not committed in fact, and still lives as a thought in the heart like a worm in an apple; yet the person has already lowered his eyes.” (Archpriest Andrei Tkachev)

“ [Psalm 36 (35 LXX)]…reveals the right and wrong uses of free will and the fruits that result in either case. First, it shows that sin or evil is an action of man's free will…sin or evil is not a part of human essence or nature, for God created human nature good in itself. Sinning is altogether the wrong use of free will…the proper use of free will, which is to seek out and hope (v. 8) for God's mercy (vv. 6, 11), His truth (v. 6), His righteousness (vv. 7, 11), and His judgments (v. 7). Also with free will, the upright in heart (v. 11) may be intoxicated by drinking the abundant water (v. 9) that flows from the fountain and by seeing the light which is in light (v. 10). The fountain is the Father, and the Son is the water, the light, and the life that goes forth from this fountain. Those who willingly drink of this water in baptism, and who see this light, partake of life and light (see also Jn 1:4), and also become intoxicated with the Holy Spirit.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Psalm 35:1)

“God knows that we are sinful people. He does not tell us we cannot have His grace because of our sins. Rather, He wants to give us His grace, to help us to overcome sin. However, to partake of grace means that we are to strive to “renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:12-13) Thus we receive God’s grace with expectation of spiritual warmth, healing and strength. But He bestows grace with the expectation that we make an effort to be sober, upright and Godly.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“The spiritual life is a basic prerequisite to whatever life one chooses. The world has become like a wheat field that is ready for harvest, but swine enter and trample it. So now everything is in disarray—weeds, mud, wheat stalks; but here and there on some edge, there is an occasional wheat stalk standing upright. The more spiritual work one does during his youth, the easier it will be for him in all things later in life." (Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos)

“…our human vocation is to become “like” God in whose “image” we are made. In the Philokalia, Nikitas Stithtos writes about the “likeness” to God for which we should strive with the help of the Spirit. He teaches, “‘The Lord is just and holy’ (cf. Ps. 145:17). We are also in the likeness of God if we possess uprightness and goodness for ‘good and upright is the Lord’ (Ps. 25:8); or if we are conscious of wisdom and spiritual knowledge, for these are within Him, and He is called Wisdom and Logos; or if we possess holiness and perfection, since He Himself said, ‘You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Matt. 5:48), and ‘You must be holy for I am holy’ (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16), or if we are humble and gentle, for it is written ‘Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’” (Matt. 11:29).” (Fr. Basil)


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