|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - October 2003||Last Modified October 4th, 2003|
Living As Faithful & Pious Orthodox Christians
All of us should strive as Orthodox Christians to be faithful and pious in the faith in which we have been baptized. For many of you, this statement will make immediate sense. You will understand what is meant by “faithful” and “pious”, and in your heart there will a deep desire to be obedient. For some, though, such words may mean little, and you may feel that we are writing in some sort of code, as if our gracious Lord could and would not speak to us in words that we can understand. It can also be true that our Holy Orthodox Faith is something we may take for granted, and instead of our hearts and minds being warmed afresh by His infinite love, we worship him on “automatic pilot”, with part of us being more concerned with everyday matters – even down to what to prepare for our next meal!
When we become Christians, the path we take in obedience to our Lord Christ should be the path that leads us towards our salvation. The teachings of the Orthodox Church are given to us so that our minds, hearts, and souls can be opened up to a life of faithfulness and piety.
Every Christian who follows our Lord Jesus Christ has the great blessing to be ever faithful - and this word simply means being “full of faith”, believing what He has promised and commanded us, taking those promises and commands as true, wonderful and necessary for our salvation - and in living daily a pious life within the Church. “Pious” is not the way you look, the expression on your face! It is simply being dutiful towards God, our attitude being that of an obedient and loving son or daughter, desiring to please our gracious Lord.
The Saints and Martyrs of our Holy Orthodox Church all sought to live as faithful and pious Christians, and so by their good example we should also strive to do the same. Their lives were filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, inspiring and guiding them. Nothing has changed! The Holy Spirit will dwell with us, too, as we seek the blessed grace of His presence. However, without the grace of the Holy Spirit we will only get lost, become confused, and go astray. Blessed is the good soul who constantly strives to be faithful and seeks to be a pious Orthodox Christian, for then our Lord God places us under His constant protection, and grants us the spiritual rewards of His mercy and love.
“War” is a word we hear and use so much in these days, but the war we should be concerned about - and this should be the only war we should speak about and should deal with as Christians - is the war against our sins. It’s not difficult to wage this war, as the Lord God Himself will have pity on us. In the first place, He gave us the grace and help of the Holy Spirit, Who constantly abides in our Church, the Holy Orthodox Faith we all believe and love. Fighting against our sins begins with prayer. As we pray, our soul becomes conscious of the great love that God offers to us all, the Holy Spirit of God bearing witness in our souls to salvation. We can then release the weight of our sins into His merciful hands and receive His forgiveness. Let us never neglect to pray, offering this prayer frequently, morning, noon, and night.
All of us should strive spiritually to be constantly faithful and pious Orthodox Christians, never passing judgment on anyone, since by passing judgment on others we lose the peace of our God. Then we must not boast, or allow ourselves to be filled with pride, because then we lose the grace of God. We must stop striving for power, or for money, since if we follow this path – and tragically this is the path so many in the world choose to take - we then lose the love of God. Finally, we must not have hate in hearts towards anyone, because what happens at this point in our spiritual life is that we do not then know God – the revelation of His presence that the Holy Spirit makes known to our souls ceases - and we fall away from His grace and love. God loves those who love Him and love others. Great is the abundance of blessings for the struggling soul that strives in the war against sin. In the end, the great outcome for us is that our Lord will let us come to know ever more fully the love and presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit dwells in those who remain always faithful and pious towards those who love their Church and its teachings, defending those teachings and making them known without compromise. No one can take away from us our belief in the Orthodox faith, nor bring us to despair, once we set out on this path of being ever devoted to this faith as pious Orthodox Christians.
So now let us choose to be full of faith, seeking to love all mankind, as well as being pious, doing our duty towards our God and our Holy Orthodox Church, for in this humble approach we find perfect rest in God.
Peace to your soul!
Humbly In Christ Our Lord,
+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Who prays for you!
Glory Be To God For All Things!
Content written/compiled by Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes.
(c)Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes