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Life of Faith, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

65- The Self


1- The Self

The self often opposes and refuses God because He is against its sinful desires.

The self feels that God limits its freedom. It desires things God does not agree upon, to enjoy this (liberty) or this negligence, it

thus separates itself from God, as the lost son did. He left his father's house (Luke 15:11-14), to spend his share of the money as he wishes.. or to refuse God. The apostates are examples of those who refuse God and their motto becomes:

It is good that God does not exist, so that I can exist.

These people have misunderstood the real meaning of existence and the real meaning of freedom. Liberty is not doing what one wishes, ones wishes may be wrong, but the true liberty is to be freed from all what assails the self... to be freed from bad habits that enslave him, and from the sinful desires that defiles him, and to be freed from the domination of material things on him. All that prevents the self from souring towards God and from being in God's companionship; which is the real existence.

From the hindrances of the self towards faith is the desire of man to feel himself, in power, greatness and pride and here God sees a rival.

Herod the king found that the new born in Bethlehem will share with him the reign, thus he refused to have faith in Him and tried to get rid of Him by killing Him. The Pharisees are also examples like Herod, who saw Jesus taking their place and familiarity as a teacher. They said one to another “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!“ (John 12:19). Many refused the faith in Jesus Christ's resurrection because of their self, so as it won't be evidence against them being guilty of this man's blood (Acts 5:28).. The self is the greatest hindrance towards faith. Accordingly, the Lord said: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself... “ (Matt. 16:24). Image: Me word in Arabic صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: كلمة "أنا" في اللغة العربية Image: Me word in Arabic

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: كلمة "أنا" في اللغة العربية

He also said “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39). Thus, Saint Peter the apostle says relating to faith "… Nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race “ (Acts 20:24), “I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.” (Phil. 3:8-9). Are you like that? or...

Is your faith hindered due to your self? due to your wishes, desires, ideas and passions?

Is there opposition between God and your self? If it so then deny your self, resist it, overcome it, because better is a man who controls his soul than one who controls a city (Prov. 16:32).

The Pharisees, scribes, and priests took much care of their selves, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. In each self, there were faults. Jesus used to discover these faults without having to speak about them, just by comparison it was revealed. For this reason they hated Him and didn't believe in Him because He was the light that endangered their darkness. Their selves were obstacles on their way of faith.

Not to forget that the devil's self was a reason for losing his faith.

When he thought of how to magnify his soul. How to ascend to Heaven and to sour up above the planets of God, and become like the Most High (Is 14:14), so the (greatness) of his self opposed his faith in God. As for the virtuous angels, they kept their places because, in their faith in God, they considered themselves “His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.” (Ps 103:21).

Many find their selves beautiful in their eyes, their selves are their idols.

What prevents them from the life of faith: the self love, self esteem, the desire to magnify the self, to fulfil the self's passions, and to run away from everything that reveals this self and reveal it disadvantages.. thus they want their selves to live in an atmosphere of coquetry, courtesy and praise. They are annoyed from every sincere word, every reproach and every punishment. So how can they live in faith?

If you were like this, try to improve yourself so that you humble yourself before God and live in faith.

From the matters that also weaken the faith: