> Spiritual Warfare
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Again, I have fallen. I have fallen to the same lustful sin. I feel empty. I feel lost. I am so weak and worthless. I have been praying in the Agpeya, fasting, reading the Bible, and I even partook of Holy Communion the same day I fell again. I struggled against this sin for a short while, and I prayed to God to help me, but in the end, I failed again. My desire for doing this sin has become a bad habit. I really want to stop! Really, I do! But whenever I am tempted, I fall. I tried really hard to get rid of these bad thoughts (I exercised, I prayed, I sang hymns), but they just kept coming back to me over and over again, until the temptation became a desire and I allowed myself to fall again. I don't have Christ in me. The devil is too strong for me, and I feel that the Lord is not helping me. I am ashamed and depressed. I don't feel worthy and I'm too shameful to stand up and pray to God anymore. I'm embarrassed to confess because I've confessed about this so many times before, and I feel too dirty and unworthy to partake of the Holy Communion anymore. I feel that I have gone too far in my path of sin, and that I will never fully get rid of this sin. I know that these are all tricks from the devil, but it is just how I feel. How can I return to God when I want to be cleansed and renewed, but still have these sinful desires in me? I want to get up and fight again, but I am so worried that I will fall again. I feel so empty. I am lost. I am scared. I don't value my life anymore! I hate myself because of my sins! I am nothing. I am not even worthy to live. I turn to you because God loves you and He is with you. Please have pity on me. I know I am weak. Please pray for me. What should I do? Am I going to perish? Has the Lord left me?
But I sat with myself to revise everything and I noticed that the wars are the worst when I am studying for long periods of time. In the summer I do whatever it takes to not waste a minute and to redeem the time that has been lost during the school year; every summer turns out to be a great success. However, the impure thoughts hit me mainly when I am back in school and mostly during the preparation before midterms or finals. I also noticed that when I study, it's only in one spot, for up to 4 hours not moving except to get a quick drink or a snack. Could that be a problem? I decided to go to school yesterday to study for the day, not only did I accomplish a lot more, but my mind was on what I was studying and that is it. However, I can't make studying at school a habit because it feels better to be at my ease when I am at home, and since winter is really cold here, I prefer to be at home during the night studying than worrying about walking back home at 10pm. What can I do? Another problem I noticed was sleep. I usually don't have much time to drag on with my sleep because I start classes at 8 AM everyday and I have to be out of bed by 7 AM. By the time I finish the day, I don't go to sleep till maybe midnight. Saturday would be the main day that I end up sleeping till 11 AM. These are the times that the impure thoughts make me wake up disturbed. I remember in the Abbey someone mentioning this saying, "an empty mind is the devil's workshop." I decided instead of waking up at 11 AM on Saturdays, to wake up at 9 AM, in that way I give my body an extra 2 hours of sleep that should help start a fresh new week. It has been working well so far. I just don't get why the wars worse during the school year but not during the summer. I know it's my fault that I don't pray as much as I use to during the summer, but sometimes I feel that the workload is overwhelming and prayer goes to the bottom of my list. When finals come, I get so upset to see that I made three months pass by without praying my usual prayers. As for fasting, I feel that my fasting is going to waste. It annoys me so much that I am able to have self control over what I eat, but not on what I think. I learned from Your Grace that fasting is abstaining from any sin and filling that emptiness with godly work. What is the point of me fasting if I am not able to do that? How did your Grace balance between prayers and studies when you were in medical school?
Few weeks ago I confessed a serious sin to my spiritual father. Although, I stopped doing those bad deeds, I'm still suffering from the core problem (thoughts of homosexuality). In the recent weeks, I acquired a new bad habit to fulfill those twisted desires through chatting with people on the Internet. As Your Grace can see, I have put myself in another bad situation. I have tried several times repenting for a couple of days only to collapse again. Please pray for me because I feel deep depression and the desperation is getting closer to me.
I am 21 years old. I have been struggling with a spiritual problem for the past few months. Constant bad thoughts about God keep coming into my head.
Even when I am praying or reciting verses from the Holy Bible, the blasphemous thoughts get in the way. Every time I look at the cross I get images of doing horrible things to it.
All day long I am asking God for forgiveness. I had to take medication for depression because of this problem. I would cry every day because I felt like God was so far away from me, and I would get scary images of hell. Could you please help me?
I am a servant and deacon in the Church and also in graduate school. I was tempted and instead of resisting, I quenched the work of the Holy Spirit in me many times until I fulfilled the sin. I do not know why I insisted; it is a weakness of mine and God did give me the grace to overcome, but I refused to accept His help. Immediately afterwards, I regretted it terribly and fell into great despair. I quickly called my father of confession and confessed and repented that very night to him in tears and he gave me the absolution and told me God was not upset. In my heart, I did not believe God really forgave me because I resisted His work during the temptation. I was convinced God would utterly destroy me for this and I slowly lost all hope. My thoughts and feelings all convinced me that God's wrath will consume me very soon. I saw my spiritual advisor, another priest, but even then, I just couldn't believe God would forgive me. On Saturday night, my heart was on fire! I underwent a traumatic psychological breakdown and lost all hope. It was hell. I told myself, "I will go to the Liturgy tomorrow and if God does not take my life from me immediately when I take communion, then there is still hope." I went early to the Liturgy and took communion; so I realized God had not abandoned me. For the next week, I just tried to do everything like normal, go to school, complete my assignments, Church, home, pray, etc., but I was not in my right mind. I had suffered a severe psychological impact from all the despair of the previous 12 days. I knew God accepted my repentance, but my heart didn't. The following Sunday, I could not bear to stand in the Liturgy. My thoughts were just too intense and distracting, but I did take Communion. At night, I saw my spiritual advisor and poured out all my pain to him. He comforted me and gave me great encouragement, a prayer rope, and a cross. He showed me so much love that I needed to feel so badly. I saw him several times over the next week and I got better, but when I am alone, the negative despairing thoughts haunt me. My academic life was almost impacted but my professor gave me a week extension on a major project simply from seeing me one morning in her office. The prayer rope really helps along with Psalm 103 which Abouna taught me, but I am just worried about how long God will keep me in this condition? Will God deliver me? Abouna told me God will heal my mind and heart and I will be even better than before. Will God fully heal me psychologically and emotionally? Can God bring any good out of this situation? Psalm 103 says God will heal all our diseases, remove all our transgressions completely, and He will crown us with loving kindness because His mercy is as high as the heavens, and God pities us as a father pities his children. I wish you would teach me how to understand this trial. Because I brought it upon myself, I feel like God is punishing me, but I know that is not true. Why do I still have despairing thoughts and feelings sometimes during the day? Is this from the devil? How can I overcome guilt? How much does God really love us?
I am a 20 year old university student. I attend church regularly, a youth servant, and minister of outreach in the church. I try my best to obey my father of confession, I am diligent at fasting, I pray either the Prime or Compline everyday...sometimes both. I read spiritual books everyday and the Bible not as much (maybe about 2 times a week on average). I feel like I am addicted to sexual lusts (mental adultery). I try hard after my confessions to fight against my addictions but quickly I fall back into them. This is a serious sin and addiction that has held a strong grip on my life for many years. I don't know how to break free...I want to be free. I do believe the power of God can help but I feel the state of the sin is very big (an addiction). How can I free myself of this sin, I need your advice.
I am having trouble getting closer to God. During the Holy Great Fast I used to read the Holy Bible; but now even if I read; I get mentally distracted; and I lose interest in reading and praying. I feel so far away from Christ. Does your Grace have any suggestions on how I could get on the right track again? Will God forgive me for being uninterested in His Word and for not talking to Him?
I am in turmoil and confused about the issue of pride, self-guilt, self-condemnation and self-excuse. Of the three, which is normal and which is sinful? How can one distinguish and create a balance among them while pursuing inner healing and spiritual growth? I feel guilty about the way I pray the Agpeya because I hardly pay attention during prayers.
I am seeking the wisdom of God. How can I keep on being holy and blameless in my daily struggle?
I am suffering emotional and spiritual distress. I feel spiritually lower instead of growing, and I constantly keep thinking back a few years ago when I was spiritually better.
I have a big problem with lust. I have been fighting my evil desires for years now, but I continue to stumble and sin. I don't want to commit this sin anymore, but when I am tempted to do it, I am so weak, and I just fall again. I repent with tears and confess regularly. I pray, read the Holy Bible, and fast, but still, can't overcome the sin. I am really distressed and sad because I don't feel God's presence because of my sins. How can I overcome this sin? I know that I must keep fighting and never lose hope, but I'm starting to get very worried. Please give me some practical and spiritual advice that will help me.
I have a problem controlling my temper. Although I always feel God's miraculous hands supporting me and alerting me to danger lying ahead of me, yet I can easily get upset and start to fear which is certainly an indication of weak faith that ultimately ends in loss of peace. I want to be Christ-like, full of love, longsuffering, willing to go the extra mile and to witness for Him. Will I ever be so?
I have been going through unexplainable spiritual afflictions, as if the devil himself has been tormenting me, for about two years now. A few days ago I have experienced what seemed to be a sign from God, because much good came from it. The whole day was filled with signs from Heaven. I was filled with joy and I felt like the Holy Spirit has filled me and I felt that God has provided me a sign and has told me that my eternal life will be with God in Heaven forever. All of this because I have passed His test. Please tell me what you think about this.
I talked to my spiritual father of confession about my inability to come into communion with God, and he gave me some good advice. However, I still feel very lost and disconnected from God. I still sin, and feel as though it always has to be my duty, and not God's, to try and build a strong relationship with Him.
I try to rise and be a better person and change but nothing happens. Every sermon I heard, I imagine that its words are easy to follow and I expect myself to become a different person, but I end up failing. Every confession I make, I come out of it and try my best to start all over again, but my trials only last for a couple of days. Every sin, I detest, and I promise God that I will stop doing it, but I easily go back and redo it as if I never tasted its bitterness. The sin of lust is not leaving me alone! Every time I fall, I remember the servant's words to get up and pray right after and I commit the sin. It feels great to cry to God, as if my tears are washing my sins. I ask God to forgive me and I try to start my next day as a new start. I don't know why the wars of my past are hitting me hard now. Finals begin soon and I have no time for this. I need to focus and study but the devil is not leaving me alone. I don't know what to do. I feel God is so mad at me. Why am I so bad?
In my life of sin and spiritual struggle, A number of queries crop up in my mind:
If this life is temporary and will end soon, and all those who are unprepared or fall short of spiritual victory will perish into an everlasting life of pain and suffering; why has God allowed for so many to come into existence and ultimately perish even though it is a direct result of their own choices.
If God is indeed all-knowing, does He indeed know the fate of all individuals, and where they will end up whether in Hell or in Heaven?
How can any sinner enter the kingdom of God? Why do we have to live this life; if there is that chance that we can fall short of salvation?
I'm finding it very hard to get closer to God. I am beginning to understand why I am unable to get closer to God and why He won't reveal Himself to me; it is because of the world and my love for the things of the world. How can I live in the world without letting the world live in me? My question to you is how do I live in this world without being of the world and at the same time feel happy and not left out?
My situation with a young lady did not transpire very well and the negativity of her family has had detrimental effects on me personally which in turn, of course, has affected my relationship with her and other relationships I hold dear. I have reached a real 'dark' point in my life now. I feel I have no spiritual strength anymore, and like David the Prophet said in his psalm, "
my spirit has failed within me
". I feel like I have no more will power to fight Satan or keep him away. I now keep sinning in my old sins and even creating new sins and falling in new ways, ways to which I've never been exposed. I am at a bottom here and I find no relief in Confession or the Divine Liturgy. I do not have anywhere from which I can draw any strength. I really and honestly do not have any idea what I'm supposed to do now. I really want to return to that enlightened state of mind, but I cannot even find a beginning.
Please tell me how to get close to God, since I keep hearing voices telling me there is no hope for me. My life is really so miserable because I no more have Peace in my life. I tried to pray but I always go back and stop praying, my tongue and my thoughts are in the bad stuff.
To liken my spiritual warfare to that of a soldier's; I feel I am like a soldier who is well equipped, armored and well trained; but when it comes to the actual battle; my will subsides; as I get worried, frustrated, or angered by the heat of the battle. How can this soldier's persistence last and succeed in battle for days, weeks, and even years at a time without falling? Or must he always succumb to injuries? What can be done to keep his will strong; and stability enduring?
What is the proof that there is a God; for many are living their lives, much, much better than many Christians? Why do Christians think themselves better than the rest of the world just because they are Christians and are unwilling to look at, consider or study any other religion?
What will happen if we depart from this life not having obtained full victory over a certain sin that we have been fighting against for a period in our lives? Will we be condemned or will God's mercy prevail?
Why did God create us in the first place? Why did he create us with a weak body that would be made to suffer? Why does Christianity have to be so difficult? I don't like how we must struggle so hard. It seems so unfair to me.
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