- Know your faith and know how to explain why we confess Orthodox Christianity.“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
- Be not arrogant. To know and love your faith does not mean to blaspheme other people’s faith and to look down on the representatives of other confessions and religions, for such attitude to others’ beliefs is unworthy of the high name of a Christian. Remember that you are honored to be an Orthodox Christian only by God’s grace and that“we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
- Love the word of God and study it all the time. Every Christian should wholeheartedly read the Holy Scripture, following the teaching of the church and the words of Apostle Paul:“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).
- Set a rule for yourself – to read a piece of the Epistle or the Holy Gospel and the Scriptures of the Old Testament. When Christ said“search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39), He meant exactly the Old Testament.
- Pray. Keep learning to pray for your whole life. Prayer is the main connection between God and the human being. If there is no prayer, there is no connection with God, and we cannot be His sons and daughters, His redeemed people, as well as He cannot be our Father. To recognize God as our Father, we need to be His true children, which is just impossible without the communication through prayer.“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).
- Pray not just in the morning or in the evening, but during the day and sometimes even at night. We all have our own studies and works, our own responsibilities and worries that we cannot ignore or avoid in our life. It is natural that we cannot pray all day and all night. But we can remember about God, thank Him, ask wholeheartedly for help and protection. “God have mercy on me” – this is what we can, and this is our sacrifice of praising God in our everyday life.
- Live according to your faith and do good deeds. If we only believe and do not live by our faith, then there is no place for Orthodoxy at all because in this case there is only self-deception. This is why to do good means to live by the Orthodox faith.“Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:18, 26).
- It is much better for you to do good in secret – not in front of other people so that you can receive appreciation from God, but not from people.“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). It is we who need these good deeds most, for they are supposed to soften our own hearts.
- Participate in the Eucharist. Without loving the Holy Eucharist, it is just impossible to love Christ because the Eucharist itself is Christ. The opportunity to partake of Blood and Body of Christ, to unite with our Lord is both the greatest privilege and responsibility of a Christian. Partaking of Holy Communion during the Liturgy, we are allowed to touch the One, Who is praised by Cherubims and Seraphims.“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54). Going to church to participate in the Liturgy and knowing that we will hear the Savior’s words addressed to us – “Take, eat; this is My body” – we must not disobey our Teacher, we must not reject the Chalice of Christ following our false humility. The true humility is to follow Christ’s calling: “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed” (Proverbs 9:5).
- Remember that the sense of a Christian’s life is to attain the Holy Spirit. The aim of our Christian being is to get involved into the being of the Holy Trinity, to become like Christ, Who came to the world so that we learn how to love God and each other. This is what the Church was established for – dying for any evil and resurrecting for piousness in the sacrament of the Holy Baptism, everyone of us has to become a member of God’s people, with whom the Lord made His New and Final covenant. Through the Chrismation of the Holy Spirit, we received Christ Himself, and now we can take part in His supper. Now, when we have become God’s children and received all these gifts, we have to give to the Lord only one thing in return –“Give me your heart” (Proverbs 23:26), and have to tell the whole world about this Good News – “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
By John Nichiporuk,
a Bachelor of Theology, a student of
the Minsk Theological Academy