Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do His commands; seek righteousness, seek humility.

Zephaniah 2:3

The Bible begins with the story of creation, which begins with the words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) The Ten Commandments begin with the words “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2-3) And in one of the last verses of the Bible, in Revelation 22:13, Jesus speaks to John and says “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Throughout the Bible, the relationship between God and humanity is established. He is God. We are His servants. He is the source and center of everything. We are supposed to fit our lives around Him, not Him around us. He is our purpose, our destination, and our present focus. In order to keep our positions in proper alignment, the first thing we need is humility. Humility recognizes that we are not the source and center of everything, He is.

It is easier to serve the Lord with obedience than with humility. Because if we focus on obedience, we focus on following orders. And while obedience and submission are important, there is a danger in only approaching God with obedience and not with humility added to it. Because what do we do with those who are not obedient? Speak down to them. Feel that we are superior to them? What happens when we are not obedient? Should we be beset with guilt and feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy?

Humility helps with both our shortcomings and the shortcomings of others. Let’s look at ourselves first. If God is the Lord, if He is the source and center of everything, then when we fall short, we can come back to Him with humility and place Him back at the center through our personal repentance, confident in His ability to forgive and restore. Going to confession requires humility—it requires us to come to God and to take ownership for not placing Him at the source and center of something. Some people have a hard time with this personal humility. Probably most people have a difficult time with this. It is hard to bow our head in humility and admit to God that we have shifted Him off the center and put ourselves and our needs there instead.

Let’s look at the shortcomings of others. It is very easy and very tempting to judge others, either for their wrongs, or for their beliefs (their “rights”). With respect to their wrongs, Jesus tells us that we should take the log out of our own eye before we judge the speck in the eye of our brother. (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42) With respect to their “rights,” there is also the temptation to criticize people who believe different than us. With so many Christian denominations, there is the temptation to assert that one is better than the other, or rather, one is valid and the others are not. Obviously, I feel very strongly about what the Orthodox believe and how we practice what we believe or I would not be Orthodox. I am very convicted that our theology most closely mirrors the early church, the writings of the early fathers and most especially, the words of Jesus Christ. Our practice of that theology, however, often leaves something to be desired, including my personal practice. This is why there is no need to criticize anyone. We can encourage, just as we need to be encouraged, others in their faith journeys. But we should do so with humility, not self-aggrandizement. God, revealed as the Alpha and the Omega, will sort out things. On a practical level, I am worried about the logs in my own heart and soul, more than the specks that might be in the souls of others.

We need to keep God at the center of our lives, of our focus, of our priorities.

Your nativity, O Christ our God, has caused the light of knowledge to rise upon the world. For therein the worshippers of the stars were by a star instructed to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know You as Orient from on high. Glory to You, O Lord. (Apolytikion, Nativity, Trans. by Fr. Seraphim Dedes)

Personal Reflection Point: How can we seek righteousness and humility?


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

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 multiple books, you can view here:


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