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Sinful Slavery

When Moses and Aar­ on began to intercede before Pha­ raoh to let their people go, the an­ swer to this was increased work for oppressed Israelites, to the point that they raised an outcry against their intercessors: ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh (Ex. 5:21). This is exactly what the soul of a repentant sinner experiences. When the fear of God and one’s conscience — the inner Moses and Aaron —begin to inspire a soul to finally rise up onto its feet and shake off the yoke of sinful slavery, joy passes through all of its members. But the enemy does not sleep; he heaps mountains of mental obstacles — thoughts that sin is in­ surmountable, and brings in fear from all sides — fear for one’s pros­ perity, for external relationships, for one’s influence, even for one’s life. It even happens that one stops having only just begun. Be inspired brother! The Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgement, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteous­ ness (Is. 5:16). God is stronger than the enemy. Cry out to Him, and you will hear the same thing that Moses heard then: Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh (Ex. 6:1). The enemy does not have power over a soul; he only can frighten it with il­ lusory terrors. Do not give in, en­ dure, go forward courageously, say­ ing to yourself: I will not give in even unto death, and I will go bravely wherever the Lord calls me, with the spirit of repentance which now acts in me.

Saint Theophan the Recluse

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