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H. G. Bishop Moussa

Some people imagine that they are Christians simply because they know a great deal about the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ, have acquired many of the great Christian doctrines, have offered numerous proofs of the truth of the Christian faith, and have assimilated intellectually all the Church sciences such as theology, ritual, and history.

Some others imagine that they are Christians because they persist in remaining with the congregation of believers in the house of God. They attend the meetings, as well as many sermons that have changed many into philosophers and critics, and not into true disciples of Jesus Christ.

A third group imagine that Christianity is a struggle to become part of the Church environment in some social sense. They offer some visible services to the Church so that they can become members of the Church committee or deacons, or they join one of the different Sunday schools.

What we hope to realize today is that Christianity is not information, practices, or services as much as it is a total stand that has an impact on all life, influencing it with a particular way of thinking. The whole soul enters into a specific way of life and adopts special ways of behaving.

Christianity, in fact, is a position of the heart, from which emanate all the directions of the soul and the aims and objectives of life.

Repentance in Christianity is not a matter of feeling, of appearances, or of formalities. It is a deep inner turning of the spirit on the axis of the center of life. All of life becomes, after that, a spontaneous fruit of this complete, profound, and holistic stand. It is a position in which there is submission to God with all joy and love. Our will has to travel along a path that is parallel to God’s will, and our interests have to emanate from His heart. Our thoughts and the directions of our life, our daily behavior must be an expression of an inner life that submits to God without reservation. The following are some examples:

1. Our Stand Towards Sin:

It is not enough that we refrain from sin out of some sort of reaction, of Puritanism, or out of a feeling that one is doing a favor to God. Our attitude to sin must come from a heart that loves Christ, and therefore hates sin. This feeling is apparent in those who have gone some distance in the way of the kingdom, but they only attain it after they take hold of the beginning. The danger, in our case, is that we may not have made a beginning as yet, that is, that our mingling in the Church environment may not be out of sincere submission to Christ, but may be a blind walk in the same procession as the people who are within the framework of the church.

If we examine the life of the fathers, we will understand what this inner stand means. For example, when the pagan nobleman wanted to wed the pure Potamena, she stood firm in an amazing way that human will alone could never have achieved. She preferred to be thrown in boiling oil to becoming the wife of a pagan nobleman. What made her take this external firm stand? Is it not the decisive inner stand, that is, Christ?

The young man whose hands and feet were tied and who was thrown into a situation in which his tormentors hoped he would sin, how did it become easy for him to bite off his tongue and throw it, with a stream of blood, which is what man holds as most precious, in the woman’s face so that she fled from the power of his purity? How did this awesome situation become easier than committing a sin that he could have found a thousand excuses for? Is it not an soul that is determined to live the life of Christ that is responsible for this glorious action?

How did the pure young man, Didymus, enter into the den of pagans, fearing neither death or the authority of the enemy, to snatch the chaste Theodora from between the teeth of those beast and to remain himself to face death with joy? Is it not because he loved purity and Christ? Is it not because he could not bear to see the bride of Christ between the fangs of Satan, and so gave himself to death in the spirit of sacrifice with which the Lord saved him?

+ Boiling oil ...... and no sin!

+ Death ...... and no sin!

+ The sword ...... and no sin!

These are profound stands with their whole beings that made the glorious external stand easy for them.

And you, dear young man, probe your depths and ask yourself: What if I were in their place? Would I commit sin and find excuses, and how strong these can be?! or would I actually reject sin and accept death?

May the Lord pour His Spirit now in our hearts so that we can take this stand, so that we can prepare ourselves to face sin in its different guises.

2. Our Stand Toward the Commandments:

A prevalent phenomenon in our Church these days is that many of those who attend mass and meetings regularly do not change from the way they are. As soon as someone hurts their pride or takes their money, they quickly become ferocious lions that are ready to tear others to pieces!

As though our Christ was not the victim of false accusations and injustice!

As though our Christianity is no longer a cross that we have to bear and follow our Lord.

It is unfortunate that people refrain from carrying out the thought of Christ. They imagine that it is a thinking that has failed, and that its methods are unacceptable in dealing with people.

Christ said: If your brother sins, go and tell him about it!

Christ said: Love your enemies!

Christ said: It is more blessed to give than to receive!

What is our attitude to these words in practice?

Did it ever happen that my brother sinned against me and did I do what the Lord commanded and go and tell him about it, whether he accepted this or not?

Do I feel that my heart is open to the whole world and all creation without exception, even if there are those who give me a hard time?

Do I offer it the sincere love which I receive directly from the Lord in faithful prayer?

Do I close my heart to my needy brothers and have surplus food on my table while my brother, whether they are blood relations or not, are dying of hunger?

Would that we would read the Bible and underline every commandment that the Lord Jesus Christ gives us and then carry it out, asking Him for grace and help. And how easy it is for those who are faithful in obedience!

3. Our Stand Towards the World:

This is a third touchstone of the sincerity of our inner Christian stand. The Lord put three truths about their relationship to the world before His disciples. (Jn.17:14-18).

1. You are not of this world, just as I am not of this world.

2. Do not take them out of the world, but keep them form the evil one.

3. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

Is this my position in my life, both internally and externally?

Do I live with the sure feeling that I am not of this world, that I am a citizen of heaven and that my only aim is to live in the Kingdom of God?

Or are these merely human expressions and intellectual meditations that have no practical application?

Do my relationships to work, money, colleagues, the family, and service witness to the fact that I am a heavenly person who does not work for himself or for the things of the earth?

Do I live every day claiming the Christ’s prayer: keep them from the evil one. Do I never cease from asking that it may be true in my life and thus use the world as though I did not use it? Or do I live in a way that is no different from the way my worldly brothers live; do I become involved in work and in accumulating money, in establishing my feet on the earth? Do I ignore the effort I must make in the way of holiness and union with God?

Do I pray daily that the Lord might prepare me to behave in this world as an ambassador sent by God for an aim and a purpose? An ambassador who carries to the world a message of salvation, that he utters through the Holy Spirit of God, and that he lives through the action of rich grace and a faithful life?

Would that we might not be lost in the crowd and the noisy procession, but that we might go forward with a deep and total stand. “She said within herself...”; let us touch the border of the clothes of the Savior and, at once, the bleeding of dangerous sin in us will stop. We will enter into a healing of spirit and soul and witness to the crowds who eagerly follow Christ seeking for a way to be saved.

I invite you, dear reader, to enter into your chamber now and to examine your inner stand:
Do you belong to Christ?
Are you against sin?
Do you obey the commandments?
Do you have a message witnessing to the Lord?

May the Lord keep us all and make us true Christians.


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