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Deny Yourself


Thursday. [I Cor. 10:28-11:7; Matt. 16:24-28] The Lord demands deci?sive self-denial of those who want to follow Him: Let him deny himself, He says. It could be expressed like this: Cast aside your interests and pursue only the interests of the Lord. You will be fulfilling this when you al?ways do what is pleasing to Him. How can one do this? Mind careful?ly what is in you, and what around you on the outside, and discern strictly in one or another situation, be it internal or external, how to act in the way that is most pleasing to God — then, not pitying yourself and not inserting your own calcula?tions, act accordingly, with com?plete self-denial. You say, “It is hard to determine this.” No, it is not hard. We have been given clear and fixed commandments — they express what we can do to be pleasing to the Lord. All that remains is to apply them to the given situation, and this does not present any great problem. Having common sense is enough. If you cannot figure something out, ask your spiritual father or some?one else whose words you respect, and act according to his directions. But it is always better to sharpen your discernment through reading the word of God and writings of the fathers, so that you will always have a decision-maker with you.

Saint Theophan the Recluse