Episode 369 – Immediate Response to Follow God

The world is at war with the Church, trying to convince us what is good and what is not good. The world believes that life is disposable. The Church teaches that life is sacred. When we choose to follow Christ, and leave behind the world, it begins with not allowing how the world thinks to influence the way we think. The world will not wait for us to ponder the pros and cons of following Christ. We must choose immediately to leave the world behind and follow Christ. We must choose to live a NEW LIFE with Christ.

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My brothers and sisters, in this morning’s gospel, we hear of Christ calling the first disciples, and we hear a incredibly important distinction on how we must also respond to Christ. He says to the apostles, to these fishermen, follow me. And the gospel says immediately, they even dropped their nets and they followed Christ. Immediately, they left their boat and their father, and they followed Christ. And what was the reward for their immediate response? He says, they went about all Galilee. Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness, and all kinds of disease among the people.

My brothers and sisters, it pains me to acknowledge this, but we are at war with the world. The world is battling for our minds and our hearts. The world is trying to tell us what is good and what is not good. And if we want to follow Christ, if we want to see the power of God, if we want to experience his blessings, then we like the disciples, have to be willing to leave everything aside to follow God. And we have to do it immediately, because the world will not wait.

The world is demanding our attention today. The world wants us to follow as blind sheep, everything the world says is good, but we have to leave that behind. We have to be willing to follow Christ, not just think about him, not just talk about him, but actually follow him. If you don’t believe we’re at war, you have not been paying attention the past few days. Our society, my brothers and sisters, is in the middle of a moral battle about the sanctity of life. And the Orthodox Church is very clear. All life is a sacred gift from God, all of it. Healthy life, sick life, functional life, dysfunctional life, obedient life, disobedient life, it’s all sacred. And anytime our society finds joy in the destruction of life, we have a problem. And the world is trying to draw us away from God.

In the past several days, I have read too many comments by Orthodox Christians, praising the opportunities of abortion. It doesn’t stop at abortion. It pains me to say that Orthodox Christians also in favor of capital punishment. It’s not our duty to kill anyone, no matter what their situation is, because God gave them life. I’m bringing this up today because it is consuming our society. We are being led to make a choice. Do we follow the church or do we follow the world? The apostles in this morning’s gospel, they left everything behind and immediately followed Christ. Now it says they left their nets, but we also know from the rest of the gospel, that they continued to be fishermen. It’s not as if they never went back to get their nets to go fishing. Obviously, the sons of Zebedee, they continued fishing with their father, after they followed Christ in this particular story. But what’s important here is their willingness to leave everything behind for Christ. What are we willing, right now, immediately to leave behind to follow Christ?

You’ve heard me say multiple times that the word repentance, metanoia in Greek, means to change the way we think of the world. Well, this is our opportunity, my brothers and sisters, to leave the world behind and the way the world thinks, and to begin thinking of life the way God thinks. And when we follow him, truly follow him, not just talk about him, we will witness his power and his miracles. It says in the gospel that he went around, preaching and teaching, and he healed people of their infirmities and their diseases.

If our world’s preoccupation with death is not a disease, I don’t know what is. Whether it’s people praising the war in Ukraine, or praising abortion, or praising capital punishment, or this or that, we’re always trying to kill somebody. That’s the way of the world. Leave it behind. Follow God and live the life that he’s inviting us to live, a life of blessings, a life of miracles. Not an easy life. He said to the apostles, “I’ll make you fishers of men.” I like to go fishing, but I’m not very good at it. I like to say I go fishing. I don’t go catching. It’s not easy. It takes patience.

It takes hard work to be a Christian, but it’s worth the response. But we cannot afford to wait. For the sake of our souls, for the sake of our children, we must respond immediately to God, and be willing to live the teachings of Christ, even if the world says otherwise. If the world chooses to go off the ledge, let it. We don’t have to follow it off the cliff, because we’re following Christ. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be blessed. Glory to God for all things.

Episode 369 – Immediate Response to Follow God

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