Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok: “We Must Learn to Say No to Sin!”

We need to learn to say no to sin. If we start to doubt, we’ve already lost the battle. When one cuts off the sin and says, “No, I won’t do it as long as I live, no matter what happens,” then the sin goes away. I remember that originally there were times when I was standing in the church, covered in sweat, and I was dizzy, and I thought I was about to collapse. If you say, “Even if I faint, I will faint in the church! I will not go anywhere, I will stand right here!”, then suddenly you regain clarity of mind and strength, despite the fact that a moment ago you were almost unconscious. This is a test of our faithfulness to God. If we say, “Oh, I’ve had enough! I can’t take it anymore, I’m suffocating, I can’t breathe, I need to get out of here now!” – that’s it, you lose. There are many such defeats in our lives: sometimes we couldn’t stand up to the pressure, sometimes we missed something, sometimes we decided to spare ourselves.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much (Luke 16:10). When someone keeps making excuses for himself and walks away from God, citing his weaknesses, circumstances, neighbors – he does not learn anything. He gets used to the fact that he will always be a loser. And Christ our God is Nika, the Victor. If we are with God, then we say, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13). If we are just like… going where the wind carries us, where it is easier, then we dig a pit for ourselves which we finally get used to. That pit is gloomy, there is nothing good there apart from our ego, apart from our self-pity, grumbling, and despondency… We have to get out of that pit into the light of God and follow Christ on the narrow path that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven. Confession is the struggle with your old self that has accommodated itself to being in that pit. That’s how your ego works: “I could get out now but what’s going to be out there? It might be even worse out there. Maybe the pit is less bad, after all.” That’s how a person deludes himself and loses years of his life instead of acquiring the skills of living with God and of eternal life. One’s soul does not get accustomed to living in love and to fighting for its freedom. It continues to follow its “flesh and blood”, which, of course, will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

God help us to change our lives!

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