10 June 2007

Attending to the Things of God

Excerpts from the sermon preached today at Holy Incarnation Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, a Western Rite Vicariate parish in the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

There is really only one thing that prevents us from doing the right thing. The world allures and entices us, and the devil whispers his deceptive lies into our heart and mind. But the one thing that keeps us from doing the right thing is what St Paul calls our “sinful flesh.” It is what believes the devil’s lies and is attracted by the world’s invitations. And so the flesh is what tells us that doing the right thing is too difficult or too inconvenient, or that we can do it later. Just as it is the flesh that helps us make excuses because we preferred feeding or resting or satisfying our flesh rather than disciplining its passions and desires so that we might attend to the things of God.


Those who live according to the flesh attend to the things that are of the flesh; but those who live according to the spirit, attend to the things that are of the spirit.

Beloved, let us attend to the things of the Spirit. Let us not be dissuaded by the demands of our flesh; let us not be deceived by the empty promises of the devil; let us not be distracted by the glamour or rewards that this world falsely offers. Instead, let us fix our hearts and minds on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of true faith. Having joy set before him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.

Now when our eyes are fixed on Jesus, then we shall readily sacrifice the delicacies, the niceties and the things that our flesh prefers. Instead, with our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will truly learn to taste and see that the Lord is good. And when we have tasted with repentance, with the awe that sees that we stand before the throne of God and live only by His mercy—then we shall neither hunger nor thirst anymore for the things that we falsely believe are so important, so necessary, so worthwhile.

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