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Struggle with passions,

humility, circumspection


21. After a person had turned away from Godís commandments and became subject to His condemnation, sin had enslaved him and like a narrow and deep abyss of bitterness, having pervaded inside, captured the soul to its very deepest recesses. Likewise, we can compare the sin within us as a large and leafy tree, whose roots stretch deep into the soil. Thus having entered our soul, sin had overwhelmed it to its deepest recesses, becoming a habit that begins in our childhood and with the years, grows ever stronger leads us toward the vile.

21. Sometimes, good intentions are performed for the sake of self-glorification and public acclaim. But before God it is as same as a lie, a theft and similar sins, as it is said: "For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you" (Psalm 53:5). The sly one seeks a gain for himself even in our good deeds. He is very inventive in order to deceive us with worldly desires. When a person becomes attached to someone through physical love, the sin then snares him, binding him with shackles and dragging him down with his heavy burden, not allowing him to gather his strength to return to God. Whatever a person loves in this world is what burdens his mind and will not give him an opportunity to gather his strength and return to God. The level of our physical attachment determines the strength of the passion that wars with us. This is how the whole human race is testedÖWhen a person is caught by his own self-willfulness and begins to love something, this love shackles him and he is incapable of striving totally toward God. Thus, for example, one might love his house, another ó wealth, another ó highly complex earthly scholarship to secure public acclaim; another loves power while another ó fame; another loves entertaining parties, another to spend his time in "wool gathering" and pleasures; another deludes himself with idle thoughts; another, because of ambition seeks to sermonize; another takes pleasure in laziness and idleness while another is attached to elegant apparel; another gives in to earthly concerns; another loves to sleep, or joke, or swear. Whatever attaches a person to the worldly, large or small, it restrains him and does not allow him to collect his strength.

30. If you see someone exalting himself and is arrogant about his abilities, know that even if he created great signs and resurrected the deadÖ.he is being robbed by an evil spirit without realizing it. Even if he performs miracles ó do not believe him because the sign of a Christian is to hide from others any gifts that God have deemed him worthy to receive. Having the riches of a king, the Christian hides them as though to say: "These are not my riches, someone else put them there." If someone says " What I have acquired is sufficient for me, I donít need any more," ó he is already not a Christian but is in a state of delusion and has become an instrument of the devil. Because rapture in God is insatiable, the extent of oneís savoring it and partaking of spiritual blessings is the measure by which the hunger for it is increased. Such people have a fervent and unstoppable love for God. The more they succeed and acquire, the more they acknowledge themselves as beggars.

36. Like traders sailing on a ship during fair winds and a calm sea fear that sudden strong winds and turbulent waters may place their ship in danger before they reach port, so do Christians, even though they feel benevolent winnowing of the Holy Spirit, , fear that an ill-wind may arouse a turbulence of passions. Consequently, it is essential to take great care in order to reach the tranquil port of eternal life and eternal joy ó the cities of Saints, Heavenly Jerusalem and the Churches of the firstborn. (Hebr. 12:23).

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