Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
THE GREAT COMMANDMENTS: WHERE DO YOU STAND?
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27
Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you. James 4:10
Good morning Prayer Team!
This new unit on “Where do you stand?” in regards to the two great commandments is going to challenge us to stretch and to grow in many different areas. The intention here is to make us think, evaluate and change. Christ began His ministry with the cry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) To repent, in Greek, “metanoite” means “to change,” and specifically to change our orientation ever more towards Christ. Our life is supposed to be a continual repentance, a continual refining of our direction towards one that points to Christ.
In order to refine one’s direction requires humility, an awareness that one is not perfect and needs “perfecting,” needs refining, needs repentance. Our evaluation began in the last reflection with a call to set goals. Before tackling other specific areas of growth, today we talk about humility. Because without humility, one cannot grow. The opposite of humility is arrogance, pride and omniscience. The person who thinks he just fine the way he is and needs no repentance, this person has no humility.
In Matthew 9:12-13, Jesus said to His disciples, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this mean, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” I have often heard the church described as a hospital, where those who are spiritually sick come for healing. If a person goes to a hospital and says “I am not sick,” the hospital will say “then leave, because we have plenty of people who are sick who need healing.” If a person finds nothing in him or her that needs changing, then this unit of the prayer team probably isn’t going to do much for them.
The Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee told in Luke 18: 10-14, shows the contrast between two men, a boastful Pharisee who offered a “prayer” of self-congratulations and a repentance Publican (tax collector) who asked God for mercy. The Pharisee was boasting about how far he had come and what he had done. The Publican was repenting for what he hadn’t done and was looking at how far he had to go.
In humility we are vulnerable. And it is in being vulnerable that we grow—whether towards God or towards our neighbor.
Humility (from a spiritual perspective)—On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rank yourself on the following questions: Do I come to Christ with a sense of self-congratulations (how far I’ve come) or with a sense of humility (how far I have to go)? Do I make myself vulnerable in prayer, and in confession:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
What can I do to improve in the area of humility? Write down some ways that you show more humility in your relationship with Christ. Write down specific bad habits you have that you want to improve on (i.e. stop gossiping, be more truthful, etc.)
Humility (from a relationship perspective)—Do I seek to serve others? Do I always need to have the last word? Am I a good listener? Do I always insist on things being done my way? Do I think I’m always right?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Write down some ways to show more humility in your relationships with others, in your marriage, in your relationships with your children, with friends and with co-workers.
Lord, thank You for showing me a great example of humility, when You came and died on the cross for my sins. Help me be humble like the Publican. Have mercy on my many faults. Lead me to repentance. Help me to be more humble in my relationships, to be a better listener, to not always insist on my own way, and to be a better friend. Amen.
Work on humility today!
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