January 28, May 29, September 28
Chapter 7: On Humility
As for self-will,
we are forbidden to do our own will
by the Scripture, which says to us,
“Turn away from your own will” (Eccles. 18:30),
and likewise by the prayer in which we ask God
that His will be done in us.
And rightly are we taught not to do our own will
when we take heed to the warning of Scripture:
“There are ways which seem right,
but the ends of them plunge into the depths of hell” (Prov. 16:25);
and also when we tremble at what is said of the careless:
“They are corrupt and have become abominable in their will.”
And as for the desires of the flesh,
let us believe with the Prophet that God is ever present to us,
when he says to the Lord,
“Every desire of mine is before You” (Ps. 37:10).
Christian Humility Conquers Pride
by Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
As Christians, each and every one of us should strive to acquire humility, for there is no better thing in this life then to live in humility, loving one another and loving God with all our hearts. So often, though, pride gets in our way – and once the heart becomes corrupted by pride we begin to lose our love for not only our God, but also for our neighbor. So it is absolutely vital for our spiritual health that we defeat pride by humbling ourselves in love before our gracious God, and letting that love spread out to touch everyone around us, friend and enemy alike.
Each of us knows that if we continue on our Christian path towards our salvation, we must avoid pride at all cost, since pride consumes all that is good in this life. Our example is the humility shown us by Christ our Lord, which brings great satisfaction to the mind, heart, and soul, like a wonderful spiritual fragrance that comes from the love of our God. What is more important than anything in this life is the love of our God for us! If we desire this love of our Lord God, then we must consider humility as a great Christian virtue in our life.
St Paul writes these moving words in his Epistle to the Philippians (Ch. 2, v.5-8): “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ
Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
This is a powerful picture of true humility for us, a picture that should touch us and cause us day and night to strive to have such humility for ourselves. So pride must be defeated, that spirit of pride in the human heart that can only bring us to despair and loneliness. The despair and loneliness is the absence in our lives of our Lord Jesus Christ and the recognition of His love for us all. Our Lord God loves a humble heart!
St Peter, in his First Epistle, puts this very clearly (Ch. 5 v5b-7): “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
So we have these challenges before us: To defeat the spirit of pride. To be clothed with humility. To be reconciled with each other and with God, so that He may bless us.
Deliverance can be at our doorstep when we as Orthodox Christians seek the help of the Holy Spirit to overcome pride. With pride overcome, our souls by the Holy Spirit then see the Lord, and He is indeed meek, and lowly – this is indeed very special humility. The Holy Spirit can help and will help us and so with urgency we should seek the blessings of the Holy Spirit to allow our lives to be transformed.
One simple act of reconciliation with those around us is to humbly seek their prayers for ourselves. Just to make this little request is a blow in the face for our pride! Through loving prayers for one another we become true brethren of our Church, brothers and sisters loving one another, and always seeking with humility the love of our God, who blesses us with His love.
The earth is the Lord’s, and every person should humble himself and seek to live with profound peace and love while we are on this earth. It is only with this spirit of humility that we can receive the riches of the Kingdom of God, passing them on to our neighbors and receiving the riches He has given them in return. Then we can finally say that there is great joy on earth! Heaven and earth are truly united when we have humility and love for our God and for one another.
Finally, when the soul gives itself to the will of God and conquers pride, then the mind contains nothing but God, and the soul stands before Him with humility, having a pure mind and heart. Peace to your soul!
Humbly In Christ Our Lord,
+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Glory Be To God For All Things!