Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Christ's command to be perfect and become a son, sets a profound goal for Orthodox Christians: Theosis, becoming united with Him, becoming like Him. This journey towards God's likeness, amidst life's challenges, may seem daunting or even unattainable. Some might not even recognize this as their life's purpose. But this pursuit of union with God is essential. We need clarity on our destination as well as the efforts required in the journey itself.
Theosis is a synergy of our efforts and God’s grace. It's not solely about personal achievements, but about opening ourselves to the presence of the Holy Spirit within us and God's transformative love. In this journey, His Church, its sacraments, its teachings about the way of life, and our community, play a vital role offering guidance and strength. The lives of saints and elders, who have walked this path before us, also serve as inspiring examples of living in pursuit of Theosis.
We must remember that God's love is unconditional. Our journey towards Theosis is not a condition for His love but a response to it. While we must strive for perfection, it is not necessarily our perfection that earns us a place in His kingdom, but rather our humble and repentant heart. Continually seeking His presence, continually learning to act according to His expectations is necessary - a perfection in the way we engage in this journey.
We must embrace this aim without diluting it, trusting in God’s love that it is possible. We must remember that we have the Holy Spirit within us. Let it guide you, surrender to the teachings of His Church, and live a sacramental life. Discipline the body, as Apostle Paul advises, and center your life around Christ, seeking always the goal of becoming like Him. In doing so, you will find true joy from God. He is all loving and will not let you down. Even if doubts arise about reaching perfection, remember that it's also the sincere continual struggle towards this goal that matters. Be perfect in your struggle. The Lord, in His infinite mercy, embraces those who humbly and earnestly seek Him." Be inspired by the potential to become His likeness that God has given all of us.
Orthodox Christians believe in the possibility and beauty of Theosis for everyone, while offering comfort and encouragement to those who may doubt their ability to achieve it.
Reference: Matthew 5:48