Honoring God Instead of Ourselves

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Sat, 08/21/2021 - 08:30

One of the struggles of living the Christian life, is the daily opportunity to honor God in doing whatever it is that we are doing. If we are students, we honor God when we earnestly do give our best effort with studying and being attentive in class. If we are working, we honor God when we earnestly offer our best mind and effort to the job at hand. No matter who we are, we honor God when our lives reflect the love we have for God and His people. Unfortunately, in too many cases, we choose to honor ourselves rather than God.

Brethren, he who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord, and gives thanks to God. None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. – Romans 14.6-9

In this short passage, just a few verses, we are reminded of our responsibility as Christians to honor God in all aspects of our lives. Whether we are eating, fasting, working, or resting, we have a choice to act in honor of God or ourselves. Have you considered what it means to say, “I can’t go to Church. It is the only day I have to relax.” Are you honoring God or yourself when you say, “God does not want us to be robots,” as an excuse for not living according to the teachings of the Church?

The Orthodox Christian way of life is not meant to make us robots, but to help us learn how to honor God with every choice. It should come as no surprise when self-oriented choices lead to anxiety and depression. When we serve ourselves, we are living isolated lives not as humans but in fact as robots.

The Greek word for human, άνθρωπος – Anthropos, has a double meaning. One we all learned in school, ‘one who walks in an upright fashion’. The other, we learn in the Church, ‘one who lives face-to-face’. When we face the ground like animals, or when we live in isolation, we are not living as humans.

The act of love requires another person. We cannot love without someone to love. If that someone is ourselves, then we are not loving as human beings but mere animals. Animals exist merely to reproduce. Humans exist to love because we are created in the image of God, Who IS love.

Maybe now we can better understand why Christ said we must deny ourselves to follow Him. If He is love, we must learn to look beyond ourselves if we are going to be like Him, and we can begin by honoring God today no matter what we are doing. It isn’t as easy as you might think. Throughout today, keep asking yourself, “Does this honor God or me?” Be honest with your answer and adjust when you need.

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