Stand Up to Temptation
Living in the world is not an easy task for a Christian, on any day. Between the constant emphasis on self and wealth building, we must be on the lookout for temptation around every corner. Even within the Church, we can find those who are not acting within the scope of Christ’s desire for His Church. Some think, naively, that this is a contemporary problem of 21st Century America. It is not. It is as old as humanity, but that does not give us the excuse to give up.
We are now comfortably in the ‘New Year’ as evidenced by the ease with which we write the correct date on documents. It also means many of us have forgotten, if we ever really started, our New Year Resolutions. That makes today a great chance to think again about our goals for this year. Let’s start with today’s Epistle reading.
Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians – 5.22-26,6.1-2
Today is also the feast of St Makarios the Great of Egypt, a holy priest who lived in the desert in the 4th Century. He cultivated the fruit of the spirit in his life with such care, it is even said once he assisted a thief in stealing his own things. You can read more about St Makarios of Egypt HERE.
As the political environment continues to exceed the ridiculous, and social media posts tend more toward personal slander than inspiration, it is high time we cultivate the fruit of the spirit in our lives, and begin to live like Christians in the world. Oh sure, on Sunday morning, IF we go to Church, we behave like Christians, lighting our candles and bowing in front of the Holy Icons. But, what about Monday through Friday at our workplaces?
In the ancient Church, our ancestors didn’t act like Christians only at Church, but every day in every situation. Even ancient pagan writers commented on the goodness of Christians. Today’s nonbelievers write slander against the Church, in part, because of our lack of moral character outside the walls of the Church.
The Church, in celebrating Epiphany earlier this month, celebrated the revelation of the Holy Trinity, and the blessing of creation when Christ entered the Jordan River. We bless our homes and businesses to extend this blessing into our daily lives, but do we live blessed lives? Would we, like Saint Makarios, help others steal our belongings, or would we shoot to kill, in an attempt to save our gold?
This year at Be Transfigured Ministries, we are going to attempt to focus more on the lives of the Saints, as inspiration to Live A New Life In Christ. The saints, like Saint Makarios, have much to teach us, not the least of which is how to stand up to temptation. The ancient world was no friend of the Church, while many of us have grown up in a “Judeo-Christian” world, in which our morals were the morals of society. That is no longer the case, as we know, and it will be increasingly difficult to stand up to temptation. Thankfully we have the saints to inspire us.