(Matt. 6: 14-21)
Today, on this Sunday before the fast of Great Lent, we see the focus on the sad incident of Adam and Eve’s disobedience of God’s command, which resulted in the loss of the joys of Paradise (see Genesis chapter 3). The hymns of this Sunday show Adam and Eve sitting outside of Paradise, sorrowing and saying: Ah! Why did we disobey the divine command of our Creator! We violated this one commandment of God, and we were deprived of all the goods we enjoyed.
Throughout the history of mankind, we see that those who disobeyed God were harmed greatly (see Hebrews 2:2). There are countless examples of this. That is why the Orthodox Christian has as their primary care to obey the will of God. From the outset, we have to point out that often our own will, which comes from our selfishness, prevents us from obeying God’s will. The Lord taught us in our prayer to say, “Your Will be done,” but we usually change it and ask for our own will to be done! Saint John the Abbot of Sinai Monastery says: “Obedience means burying our own will and resurrection of humiliation….Obedience means alienation from hypocrisy and from every personal desire.”
But is obedience easy? This question is asked, and Our Lord Jesus Christ has assured us that the weight of His commandments is light, so we can lift them (see Matthew 11:30). Would our Lord full of love ever burden us with commands we could not keep? On the other hand, one can think how sweet the fruit of obedience is with eagerness and joy, seeking to obey our Philanthropic Heavenly Father! Again, St. John of Sinai says: If you live with obedience you move through your life without care; you do not worry about danger and you do not fear death. During the Final Judgement you will not be asked to repent and you will be called to enter into the joy of the Kingdom of God.
Who truly lived in obedience to God and did not profit? Noah who obeyed God, and built the ark (while people were mocking him for a ship in the mountain) was saved while they were drowned! Abraham, obeying God, was ready to offer his son as a sacrifice, enjoyed glory and riches to envy! (see Genesis 22:1-13), and so many others benefited from obedience.
How can we know for sure what God’s will is? The Bible and the Holy Fathers of the Church present God’s will in an authoritative way. On this basis, the Orthodox Church with sermons, Bible commentary, Catechism, and Orthodox publications help us to correctly understand God’s true will. For any question we may have on a topic, our Spiritual Shepherds (the Bishop, our Priest, our Spiritual Father) guide us and we follow his instructions. Understand, that without communicating with one’s Spiritual Father, a believer can not make progress in the spiritual life. This is the reasoning of the Apostle Paul: “Obey your church leaders and be submissive: for they watch out for your salvation, because they will give account to God” (Hebrews 13:17).
My brothers and sisters, be absolutely sure that if we love Christ with our heart and willingly try to obey His own will and not ours, we will be truly glad. We will have the richness of His Grace and His support here and in eternal life.