Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Godly Friendships

Godly Friends and Spiritual Progress

It is easy to feel trapped by our bad habits. We don't like certain behavioral patterns that have become habitual, and we feel helpless in our attempt to change. Growing as Christians is often fraught with failure, and we find ourselves stuck. Our spiritual progress feels more like a treadmill, only seemingly moving forward, yet noticing the scenery is remaining the same.

Sometimes the only way to move forward is to commit to changing our environment. If we have friendships that keep us from growing, perhaps it is time to leave those friendships behind. Back in the 1960's I hung around with a group of friends, in Berkeley, California, where we'd gather in a coffee house, talking about the poetry books we were going to publish, and the novels we were going to write, but all we did was talk.

One young man shocked the rest of us one day, when he announced he was no longer going to come to the coffee house. He'd decided it was just a waste of time. If he was ever going to make something of himself, he had to make the break. He told us he wanted to go to medical school, and was therefore planning to put all his energy in completing his college degree with the best grades he could possibly get. We all tried to convince him that he could accomplish all of that without abandoning the coffee house scene, but he wasn't convinced. That was the last evening he'd ever join the rest of us.

His decision haunted me, for deep down I knew he was right. My life was going nowhere, and I was feeling increasingly unfulfilled, both spiritually and intellectually. Within six months I made the decision to move to Portland, Oregon, for a fresh start. Abandoning those friends was the best decision I could have made, for none of us was motivated to go beyond that little coffee house ghetto we'd created for ourselves.

Sometimes the only way to make the changes in our lives that are needed for spiritual growth is to walk away from relationships that are keeping us stuck. As Christians, it does make a difference who we hang out with. If you have friendships with individuals who are simply not interested in things of a spiritual nature, you will find yourself wasting precious moments in your journey to God.

Having friendships with fellow Christians is the only way we can keep ourselves centered in Christ. If you want to deepen your faith, spend time with people who desire the very same thing. Build a stronger relationship with Christ by spending time with people whose values are the same. If you waste your time with people who are only pursuing worldly pleasures, you'll end your life doing the same. The time God has allotted us must not be squandered. If we keep company with people whose goals are of a spiritual nature, and whose lives are centered in Christ, our goals will be the same, and we will grow as Christians.

With love in Christ,
 Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday December 11, 2013 / November 28, 2013
25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast). By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Martyr Stephen the New of Mt. St. Auxentius (767).
Martyr Hirenarchus and Seven Women-martyrs at Sebaste (303).
New Hieromartyr Seraphim (Chichagov), metropolitan of St. Petersburg (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Peter, Alexis, Alexis priests (1937).
Virgin-Martyr Paraskeva (1938).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1941).
Blessed Theodore, archbishop of Rostov (1394).
Martyrs Basil, Stephen, two Gregories, John (near Constantinople), Andrew, Peter, Anna, and many others (741-775).
Martyrs Timothy and Theodore, bishops; Peter, John, Sergius, Theodore, and Nicephorus, presbyters; Basil and Thomas, deacons; Hierotheus, Daniel, Chariton, Socrates, Comasius, and Eusebius, monks; and Etymasius at Tiberiopolis (361).
New Martyr Christos of Constantinople (1748) (Greek).
St. Theodore, bishop of Theodosiopolis in Armenia (end of 6th c.).
St. Oda, virgin of Brabant (726) (Neth.).
Virgin-Martyr Juthwara of Cornwall.

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

The Scripture Readings for the Day

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

The Great Apostasy

2 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Luke 20:1-8

Jesus’ Authority Questioned

20 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”
But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?”
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it was from.
And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

 I invite my readers to listen to my
Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:

No comments:

Post a Comment