Tuesday, April 14, 2020

To Find God

Saint Symeon the New Theologian tells us that to find God we must not allow ourselves to be influenced by those promoting the pleasures of this world, to discipline ourselves, and become totally focused only on Christ.

Who ever desires to find God let him ‘deny himself,’” says Saint Symeon. This is what Jesus told His disciples if the wanted to follow Him (Mt 16:24; Mk 8:34). This involves a practice of self-sacrifice to overcome our self-centered orientation. We impose self-discipline, denying our personal desires out of our love for God and our desire to do His will. Paul affirms this, “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24).”

“‘Set enmity’ between himself and all who walk according to the flesh.” Here he references the curse God gave to the snake who deceived Eve. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed.(Gen 3:15). Paul tells us, “He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Rom 8:3-4).” We must creat a separation between us and those who are driven by worldly desires so we will not be misled.

Let him not turn back, misled by any of their so called comforting words, nor let him ‘sit in their seat.’” In Psalms we find,  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the troublesome (Ps 1:1).” Jesus says, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Lk 9:62).” Once we have committed ourself to God and dedicated our life to Him we cannot turn back under the influence of those who only see the pleasures of the worldly life.

Let him not cultivate bad associations.”  Paul instructs us, “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits (1 Cor 15:33).” Again Saint Symeon emphasizes this idea of being careful in the kind of relationships we develop and nurture.

Decide in your own mind, and permit it not to err by listening to vain things.”

Do not delay or be weighed down by sloth! Give not sleep to your eyes. in The Psalms it reads, “I shall not recline on my bed, I shall not close my eyes in sleepNor my eyelids for dozing, Nor give any rest to my temples,Until I find a place for the Lord,:A tabernacle for the God of Jacob (Ps 132:3-5).” We can’t be lazy in our efforts to find God.

Reference: Saint Symeon the New Theologian: The Discourses, p 47

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