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The Spiritual Man, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

22- Remedies for weakness

 

Some advices for the weak man who feels his weakness:

1. Keep away from the sphere of sin which weakens your will.

Stay away from the offences and all the causes which lead you to sin, and you cannot resist them. Distance yourself from every bad effect. Do not say to yourself that you are stronger than warfares. It has been said about sin that,..She has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men (Prov. 7:26). If you are weak, admit your weakness and look for the cause and avoid it...

The advice to keep away from the causes of sin is laid by the church at the beginning of the Morning Prayer, with the First Psalm: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.

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2. Seek strength from God and make your weakness a field for your prayers.

As the chanter said in the Psalm: The Lord is my strength.. and He has become my salvation (Ps 118:14). And also said: If it had not been the Lord who was on our side when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive (Ps 124:2,3). Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain (Ps 127:1). St Paul the Apostle says: ...but all forsook me, but the Lord stood with me and strengthened me (2Tim. 4:16,17). Therefore, seek strength from above and say: My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth (Ps 121:2).

Deepen your prayer. Many are the weak who received strength through prayer and became victorious and sang: For the battle is the Lords, For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few (1 Sam 17:47 & 14:6).

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3. No matter how weak you are, do not despair.

St-Takla.org Image: David faces Goliath with his sling and stones: I Samuel 17:42 صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الفتى داود يواجه جليات الجبار بالمقلاع والحجر: 1 صموئيل 17: 42

St-Takla.org Image: David faces Goliath with his sling and stones: I Samuel 17:42

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الفتى داود يواجه جليات الجبار بالمقلاع والحجر: 1 صموئيل 17: 42

Never lose hope, as despair destroys the soul and makes you surrender to the enemy, and continue doing wrong, as if there is no use of the struggle!! Set before you examples which were worse than yours and the Lord saved them from their sins. Encourage yourself and say: The Lord who saved Moses the Black, Mary of Egypt, Augustine and Mary Magdalene... surely He will save me too...

This does not mean that you lean on your weakness and keep doing it relying on help from God to arrive!! But try hard.

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4. Strive with all your strength, no matter how little.

And listen to the saying of St Paul the Apostle rebuking the Hebrews: You have not resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin (Heb 12:4). All Davids weapon was stone which he put in the sling and drew near the line. By him God defeated Goliath the champion (1 Sam 17:48-49).

Your strife -no matter how weak you are- means your rejection of sin and your wish to get rid of it.

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5. Concentrate on resisting the repeated, constant sins.

Because they are the points of weakness in you, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. These which you repeat in every confession and continually complain of them. Concentrate on them in particular with constant exercises to resist them, forcing your morals on yourself, even punish and rebuke yourself in each fall, seeking Gods help.

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6. Renewal of the mind, to reach good understanding.

St Paul the Apostle says: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2). This means changing your perspective in the matters where you do wrong, by renewing your mind.

 

Many fall because of misunderstanding the meaning of strength, or the meaning of dignity or due to wrong understanding of the meaning of freedom

...etc. They all need renewal of the mind, good understanding of the real meaning of strength, dignity and freedom. Such new understanding and its acceptance keep them from falling.

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7. Your weakness disappears if the love of God enters your heart:

You become weak before sin if you love it more than God and His commandments. If the love enters your heart, it will throw out the love of sin from within. Thus you become strong to resist any temptation... He was right this saint who said that repentance is to exchange a desire for a desire. It means that the desire of the spirit replaces the lust of the flesh, and the love of God replaces the love of the world...

So, follow all the spiritual means that lead you to the love of God. Also associate with those who love Him and read about those who loved Him and follow their example.

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8. Remember that many who were weak became strong and became saints.

Peter the Apostle who feared and weakened before a servant girl and denied Christ (Mt 26:69-70), he himself stood before the high priest and said to him:

We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

He said to the rulers, elders and priests: Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (Acts 4:19,20).

Moses the Black, who at the beginning of his monastic life, was unable to resist the thoughts ,and he went eleven times to his confession father, in one night... He became a spiritual guide to many monks...

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9. Whenever you become weak, remember the working grace of God...

The grace that is able to strengthen you... So, remember the saying of St Paul the Apostle: But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more (Rom 5:20). Grace abounds to protect you against sin...And also remember: For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:10)... Weak by myself but strong with the grace of God working with me... which strengthens me.

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10. Be aware of the fact that God is always with the weak.

He has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty (1 Cor 1:27)... In those, His strength appears.

I remember once that I wrote in my memoirs: The devil said to God: Leave me the strong as I am capable of them, but the weak I cannot manage, as in their feeling of their weakness, they resort to You and fight me with Your strength...


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