Saturday, September 11, 2010

Faith, Freedom and Responsibility

There are many who see faith as a limit to their freedom.  "Why should I blindly believe," they ask.  We must remember that faith is a gift from God that does not destroy our freedom but grants us greater freedom.  With faith we are freed from anxiety, sorrow and the fear of death.  But with this faith come responsibility to act.  We have been given a free will, and, using the example of Jesus, we must align our will with that of God.  This may seem at first as a limit to our freedom.  But in fact it leads to greater freedom.  The commandments are simple: Love God and love others.  Our faith calls us to love and to abandon our pride––to give our self-will over to God's will.  When we do good works we must not have pride in them for they will no longer be works of love, but only acts of self-centeredness.  When we act with pride it may feel as a loss of freedom, because our acts become acts of obligation instead of the freedom giving acts of love guided by God's grace.

Elder Macarius provides us with this advice:
When God, using our conscience, calls us to righteousness and yet our self-will opposes Him, He respects our freedom and lets our own will be done; but then, alas, our minds grow dull, our will slack, and we commit iniquities without number.  On the other hand, the fruits of the spirit are soon granted to them who follow the commandments of Christ our Lord.
When we are blessed with faith we act with love and complete freedom guided by God's grace.

Reference: Russian Letters of Spiritual Direction, p 57

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