H.H. POPE SHENOUDA III
How easy it is for one to start
a spiritual life and live with God for days or weeks then relapses and
regresses backward losing everything...!
It is important then for the one who starts, to continue, settle and become firm.
Therefore, the Lord said, "Abide in Me, and I in you." (John15 :4).
He explained to us the importance of the branch's firmness in the vine in order to bear fruit. He praised His saintly disciples not only because they stood by His side during trials ; but as He said, "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. " (Luke22 :28). So He praised their firmness.
In the parable of the sower the Lord tells us about those who were not firm, "...and because they had no root, they withered away... and the thorns sprang up and choked them." (Matt.13 :6).
Therefore, St. Paul the apostle does not talk only about the importance of faith but more about being firm in faith.
He says, "...on those who fell, severity; but towards you goodness if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off." (Rom. 11:22).
He also says to the Colossians, "...to present you holy... if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast." (Col.1 :22-23). And he blames the Galatians who, "having begun in the spirit", but did not continue and, "...are now being made perfect by the flesh." (Gal. 3:3).
Many are those whom the Apostle tearfully mentioned, because they did not continue in firmness.
Some started serving actively, but did not continue...!
Others loved the idea of consecration, but did not abide!
And others started by loving God, then left their first love!
How grim it is for one to live the life of the tabernacle and altar with Abraham, then ends up in Sodom.
Or starts as one of the twelve, then betrays Jesus.
Or starts his life as a mighty victorious and a Nazirite to God and the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him then ends up shaving his hair and pulling the grinder...!
Abiding in the spirit is a test for our will in the midst of tribulations. Therefore, the Bible says, "Remember those... whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. " (Heb.13 :7). They were steadfast and were made perfect in faith.
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