A Spiritual Manner of Living

“‘The Lord is the Commander in Chief. You are the warrior. He expects you to repulse the enemy. Do not let Him down.’ …. And yet there will be a struggle. Without combat the warrior is but a poor solider. Everything is learned in combat.’ The Christian life runs into many obstacles at the very start, and further on there are more. Whoever enters upon this life, let him arm himself with a firm courage, that he may approach without fear the struggles and obstacles which await him. Force yourself to acquire the habit of standing watch over your heart, and do not give free rein to your thoughts, feelings or instincts, if they are not moved by a spirit that is pleasing to God, but suppress them at once. There is a way to spiritually raise up the Cross in your heart. You do this when you make the firm resolution to crucify yourself or mortify your passions, something which is so essential for Christians that according to the Apostle only those belong to Christ who have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. This spiritual combat should never be relaxed; it must be taken up again and again. If you have fallen, do not despair, get up at once with the firm resolve to fall no more. And continue you struggle. It is especially important not to be discouraged, not to give up the fight.”  (Bishop Theophan in Russian Piety by Nicholas Arseniev , p 119)