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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