Being Steady in Progress and Growth of Virtue
By Archdeacon Habib Guirgus
Be eager, O beloved, to acquire grace in your heart and quench the flame of love for virtue by the heat of the Spirit.
Let this holy and
fervent fire be in all your senses. Press forward to the mark and do not
retreat back, "Put your hand to the plow, and do not look back" (Luke
9:62). If you look backward you might slip and fall. If you are not
progressing, that is a sign that you are retiring. If you are not walking you
must be standing! Strive and walk in the path of virtue and do not stand
stagnant, and say with the apostle Paul; "Not that I have already
attained, or am already perfect; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that
for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count
myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which
are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward
the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians
Follow this concept, and know that the one who does not progress in every hour is pulling back every minute.
The one, who does not grow, becomes weak, and the one who does not go forward, retreats backwards.
Beware of evil, for it weakens you and does not allow you to progress.
Beware that the tree has branches with leaves, but is out of fruits and flowers, for there is no motion and growth but stagnant and death.
If there is no gain, there must be loss, and if there is no increase in wisdom, ignorance is escalating, and if our body members and organs become weak, it will cause handicap to the body.
"Be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit" (Psalm 1:3), and its branches reaches the heaven. Do not be "like the chaff which the wind drives away" (Psalm 1:4), and it becomes good only for the fire! Live for God, live with God, and live by God, and you shall grow in every virtue and grace.
Put laziness and sluggishness away from you, and press forward to the mark, to be steadfast in the truth.
If your love for virtue is a little spark, pray and strive to become a flame and a fervent fire.
Come forward to the springs of grace and be quenched from the spiritual life in it.
Feed yourself from the holy Word of God.
Let your soul rise high and be dignified by prayers.
Let your growth increase in perfection and virtue.
Cling onto God and unite with Him, so your branches can grow and your roots are firm in the 'vine'-the vine of Jesus' truth, and be steadfast in Him.
Grow, even a little, for the little will be abundant as the days and years pass by.
The wise who seek perfection and growth in grace, always look up for growth in virtue and grace, and put his heart on high hopes to perfection and is dignified to God. Do not look at what you did, but what you are missing. Do not contemplate on what you have but rather at your goals.
If you look at your achievements, you might boast and be hit with pride, and that can cause the destruction of your achievements, as what happened with the Pharisee, who exalted himself by looking at his virtues and forgot his faults and sins and was not justified (cf. Luke 18: 10-14).
Be like a traveler who is alert to the distance he still has to travel, rather than how much he traveled. Reaching the goal is more important than how much you finished. Do not reach the outside fence and not enter the city.
It is a shame to search for a path and not walk in it to reach your desired goal. Do not hide or bury the talents in the ground, but rather trade and gain, for its owner needs the gain not loss (cf. Matthew 25: 14-20).
Be steadfast in the virtue and be persistent. Many started on the right track, but few perfected it and reached the goal.
When the Israelites left Egypt they were more than 600,000 people, only two entered the Promised Land (cf. Numbers 14:30).
The hardship is not always in putting the base for a building, but continuing and finishing the work.
"He who endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:22). Saint Paul started on the wrong foot, but his end was a wonderful and great one. Judas Iscariot had a wonderful start, but ended in a very evil way. The Ladder seen by Jacob: God was not seated at its footstool or in its midst, but He was seated at its top-end. You will not be questioned or judged on the way you started but the way you ended your life.
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