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My Spirit Shall Not Strive With Man

Fri­day. My Spir­it shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh (Gen. 6:3).[1] Man has two op‐posing forces inside, but one con‐sciousness — the human being. The char­ac­ter­is­tics of this being are de‐termined by his incli­na­tions. If he sides with the Spir­it, he is spir­i­tu­al; if he sides with the flesh, he is flesh‐ly. The spir­it does not dis­ap­pear al‐together even from the flesh­ly, but it is enslaved, and has no voice. It becomes yoked, and serves the flesh like a slave serves its mis­tress, in‐venting all sorts of plea­sures for it. Sim­i­lar­ly, the flesh does not disap‐pear from the spir­i­tu­al, but it sub‐mits to the spir­it and serves it. It los‐es its nat­ur­al rights for food through fast­ing, its rights for sleep through vig­il, for rest through con­tin­u­ous la‐bour and weari­ness, for pleas­ing the feel­ings through seclu­sion and silence. Where the flesh reigns, God does not abide; for His organ of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with man is the spir­it, which is not giv­en its due pri‐ority in the flesh. God’s approach is felt for the first time when the spir­it begins to claim its own through the oper­a­tion of the fear of God and one’s con­science. When conscious‐ness and free­dom also come to help, then God com­mu­ni­cates with man and begins to dwell in him. From that moment on begins the inspira‐tion of the soul, the flesh and of the entire inner and out­er man, while God becomes all in all in him. By be‐coming spir­i­tu­al, man is made di‐vine. What a mar­vel­lous ben­e­fit, and how lit­tle it is remem­bered, val‐ued and sought after!

[1]The Slavon­ic for Gen. 6:3 reads: My Spir­it shall not eter­nal­ly be scorned by men, because they are flesh.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse