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

20- Types of weakness

 

1. One may have a weakness that is not a fault of his.

Like a weakness that was inherited, whether in his body or his mentality.

 

He was born with a weak health or in a low social level or God allowed that for him, as the Lord said about the man who was blind from birth: Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him (Jn 9:3).

The spiritual man may also suffer from the physical weakness. The Lord said about that, to His disciples in Gethsemane: The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mt 26:41). The physical weakness may stand as an obstacle for some spiritual practices. The spiritual man should not get annoyed

because of that, but he has to do as much as his body can endure. What is important is having a strong and good spirit...

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2. A man may have weak nerves:

Therefore his endurance is weak. He quickly rages and gets angry. He needs a strong man to bear him. As the Apostle said: We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of weak (Rom 15:1). Then the strong is the one who can bear. As for the angry who sins against others in his fury, he is the weak...

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This angry man needs to treat the weakness that is in him, I mean the anger.

And that is by keeping away from what causes anger and from the dealings that make him fall in nervousness. And to practise spiritual exercises about keeping out of the way of anger. And on the physical side, to strengthen his nerves. He has to slow down in his actions and in his fury, and think about the bad results of anger before he gets angry. And to read much about the gentle and the calm. He should not surrender himself to this weakness. It is not acceptable from him to say: This is my nature! He is supposed to overcome his nature.

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3. There is another type of people who are weak in their will.

Weak in doing the good that he wants, like what the Apostle says by their tongue: For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the person who wills to do good (Rom 7:19,21)...

Or maybe, it is in the nature of this person to hesitate, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. His will is unable to decide what he should do. Or if he decided on something, he is unable to stand firm and other thoughts could entice him.

But there are many exercises to strengthen the will. One of them is to consult a trusted spiritual father and to take action without delay. Fasting is also another way to strengthen the will . Also through compulsion, correct understanding and strong conviction. And if he is controlled by a specific habit, he has to resist it with all his strength without surrendering to it. Because this surrender will add weakness to his own weakness...

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4. Another person is troubled by his weak faith:

He has a theoretical faith, but this faith becomes weak in practicality, and when faced by a problem, he fears and collapses before it. His fear proves his weak faith in the Lord who keeps him and protects him; while the strong man never weakens, collapses or fears before problems. The children of Israel feared before the Red Sea, due to their weak faith. As for Moses, he did not fear but was strong in his faith and made strength enter the souls of those who were weak and frightened. And he said to them: Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will accomplish for you today. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace (Ex 14:13,14).

Therefore, try to strengthen your faith...

Read much about persons with strong faith. And read about Gods interference in the problems and troubles of His children, His wonders and His miracles. And if you asked a request from God, your faith should not become weak if His response to your prayer was delayed. But be confident that God will work and He will definitely come to save you even in the last watch of the night.

It happened once that the faith of Peter the Apostle weakened when he was walking on the sea with the Lord, because he looked to the fierce waves and not to the Lord, so he became afraid and cried out. The Lord saved him and rebuked him by saying: O you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Mt 14:31). And if your faith weakened, cry out to the Lord with that person who said:

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! (Mk 9:24).

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5. Another type of weakness is soul weakness.

There maybe a man whose soul is weak, the type which the Holy Bible calls: Fainthearted. He quickly becomes worried, troubled, collapses and doubts. He cannot endure, and always needs someone to support him. He maybe old in age, but has the moral of the young. Where then do we stand from that type of weakness?


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