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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Fruits of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5: 22-23
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. Ephesians 5:13-15
Good morning Prayer Team!
We’ve hopefully all heard the saying “Your right to swing your fist ends two inches away from my nose.” We all crave control and freedom, however both must be used responsibly. We are not free to swing our fists wildly in a crowd of people because someone will get hurt. Freedom is supposed to be used to honor God and help other people. We are “free” to with control. If you are a boss, you have control over your employees, in the sense that you can hire or fire them and you set their wages. You don’t have total control over how hard they work (though you can set production quotas). And you can’t control whether they enjoy their work, though you can try to create a good work environment.
If you are an employee, you can’t necessarily control your hours or your wages. And you can’t control the kind of boss you have. In some instances you can’t control staying employed at your job. However, you can control what kind of effort you give and you can control whether you contribute something positive or negative to the work environment.
The lesson for today is that the control we crave must be tempered by a self that is responsible. Self-control includes “responsible control”, using our freedom responsibly. One of the great freedoms we enjoy is driving. But we must “control” this freedom by driving responsibly, not being a danger or a menace on the road. Many of us enjoy the “control” of owning our own home. But we must “control” this freedom by being responsible homeowners, taking care of our property and doing our part to be a good neighbor.
We could probably list dozens, if not hundreds, of other kinds of freedom we enjoy on a daily basis and each one could be tempered with some way we must “control” our freedom to use it responsibly, so that in expressing our freedom, we don’t harm our neighbor in the process. Self-control includes an awareness that our freedoms and our expressions of ourselves must be “controlled” because protecting the freedom of others go hand in hand with enjoying freedoms of our own.
Lord, thank You for the many freedoms I enjoy in my life (list some of them, like driving a car, or owning a home). Help me to be responsible with the freedom that You have given me. While I enjoy expressing my sense of freedom, may I also honor You and honor my neighbor, so that in “controlling” my freedom, I may also honor His freedom, and give glory to You, the giver of freedom. Amen.
Remember expressions of self-control even while enjoying freedom today!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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