What to do when the war with sins seems lost
We know that Lent is the time of not only abstinence, not only prayers, not only trials and temptations, but also a particularly acute struggle against the shortcomings that we in ourselves day after day notice. And at the same time, we remember how many times we had to enter this holy arena, how many times we began to exterminate passions and sins in ourselves and how little we succeeded in this, to what insignificant extent we managed to change.
From this experience, sometimes terrible apathy is born and hands are dropped. It begins to seem already that it is useless to try to change something in oneself, because we "swam - we know" and can tell in advance what it will end for us.
As long as we do not stop our struggle, there remains the hope that we will change
But in fact no one else so dislikes this belief as an enemy of the human race. After all, as long as we do not stop our struggle, until we fold obediently while we are working, there remains the hope that we will change, and most importantly, that we will be honored by the mercy of God and, through this Unsurpassed mercy we will reach salvation.
There are lessons that we must learn from our lives. And this, contrary to popular belief, not only those lessons that testify to our infirmity, of our unfitness to anything good. Every time when passions overpower us, we acquire a certain positive experience. We get the knowledge about ourselves through which it becomes possible to understand what makes us adept at sin and why we are facing strikes of passions so weak.
But in order for this knowledge to be useful to us, so that they can be applied, we must first deeply understand one important thing. All the time of our earthly life is not just a time interval reserved for us so that we live it in accordance with our ideas. This time does not end while we are alive, wars. Even when we do not notice these military operations, even when we stop fighting, even when we are close to surrendering, the enemy of his war against us does not stop or weaken. It will be our every day to pursue us and every minute try to bring us into a worse state. And so we have nothing else but to continue to fight in any state, because not only mercy, but also relief from the recognition of defeat we will not. And of course, we must remember that this is not a war for some earthly circumstances - it is a war for our eternal life.
Select hours of seclusion to analyze your life and identify the causes of sins and falls
And further, as in any war, it is important to understand why the enemy manages to catch us unawares. And this is the work for which Lent is the most good time. We need to find hours of solitude, in which we can so closely, as it usually does not manage in a bustle, to look into our lives, to find in it the reasons for which we most often sin, and the moments in which we most often fall. And here you should not rely solely on your memory - it would be absolutely correct, in my opinion, to write down for yourself the result of these reflections and then try to make a plan for yourself: what and how we intend to overcome.
The person practically never falls at once - any sin has a preparatory period. And for each of us, in relation to some typical, repetitive sins, he is actually very familiar. We are not prepared to fall unconsciously to the fall: a person feels how he lets in himself sin first, then gets used to it, then agrees to what the enemy offers him, how he makes a decisive step at the end of everything. At any of these stages, a person can catch the moment and say to himself: "Stop!" Why do not we do this, why do we grab our head when we have not done anything? .. Because these fore-feelings of sin drown in the stream of our other sensations - brighter, more pleasant, to which we aspire. And during fasting, when this stream for us is scanty, we can more clearly see those processes that occur in our heart.
It is important to remind ourselves that neither we are saved without the Lord, nor does the Lord save us without ourselves
And to this vision, we also prepare each time an amazing song that we hear on Sunday All-Night Vigil for several weeks before the Great Lent. It is called - according to the first words of the corresponding psalm - "On the rivers of Babylon", and at the end of it we are called upon to take and break some babies about the stone. Of course, we are not talking about the babies of men, but about the fact that we should kill sin in ourselves, not when it grew and turned into a giant, but when it is still helpless, like a baby. And what kind of stone are we talking about? This stone can only be one - it's Christ.
During fasting, when we are already beginning to faint, it is important to remind ourselves that neither we are saved without the Lord, nor does the Lord save us without ourselves. God therefore does not give us spiritual prosperity without our hard work, that it will be - such is the order of the fallen man - not assimilated, not evaluated and left in disregard. But if our zeal, our attention is united with the mercy of God, then the fruit of this will certainly be revealed in full force.
In fact, man is a creature that is surprisingly creative, stunningly inventive, and if he seriously sets himself the task of overcoming something, his thought will work in this direction and find a variety of different and unexpected ways. Examples of this we see in life a great many.
So, we know that there are areas where earthquakes often occur. And if a few centuries ago it was an element that can not be countered with absolutely nothing, now humanity is successfully building earthquake-proof buildings, and if cities are damaged anyway, then they do not turn into at least ruins. If people have learned to build earthquake-proof houses, they can build props in their own souls, so that they do not turn it into ruins of an earthquake of temptations. After all, we ask: "Strengthen, Lord!", But we ourselves must work, and first of all strengthen the "load-bearing structures" for which the main mental load falls in our lives.
Moreover, human life and the human soul are far more perfect than any building. Rev. Isaac the Syrian says that, no matter how many times you suffer defeat, no matter how many times the enemy has pushed you, be zealous, be brave - and one day you will tear the banner from the hands of the giants, and it will become the banner of your victory. And the Monk John of the Ladder writes that even when you fall throughout your life, but again and again get up, your Guardian Angel will one day honor your patience, your humility and your zeal, and you will feel that help that will finally make you a winner.