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Spiritual warfare and humility

11 August 2010

A few years ago a group of us had a synchroblog on spiritual warfare. My contribution is at Notes from underground: Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare (synchroblog). We blogged on the same topic on the same day, and linked to each other’s posts, so that we could get a variety of views on the same topic.

One thing that struck me about the synchroblog was that so few of the links still worked, and that in three years I’ve lost touch with most of the people who joined in the synchroblog. How ephemeral is the blogosphere, and indeed the Web generally!

What reminded me of this was the following post on Father Stephen Freeman’s blog:

Humility and Spiritual Warfare | Glory to God for All Things:

Thus the whole of spiritual warfare wages round humility. The enemy fell from pride, and would draw us to perdition by the same means. The enemy praises us, and should the soul listen to his praise grace withdraws until she repents. Thus throughout her life the soul is occupied with the lesson of Christ-like humility. So long as she has not humility wrong thoughts and impulses will always torment her. But the humble soul finds the rest and the peace of which the Lord tells.

I remembered that in the synchroblog most of the participants were Protestants, and most of them seemed to think that spiritual warfare was a bad thing, because it was motivated by pride.

Some people have asked why Orthodox Christians are always going on about the differences between Orthodoxy and Western Christianity, and this seems to be an example. We go on about the differences because the differences are there. Thinking that spiritual warfare is all about pride, on the one hand, and thinking that it is all about humility on the other, is a pretty radical difference, and it calls for an explanation, or at least a discussion.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Darrell permalink
    11 August 2010 7:21 am

    Interesting post: I picked this up from: the Way of the Ascetics, page 39:

    “The goal of Man’s freedom is neither in himself nor in his fellow man but in God says Bishop Theophan.

    For the cry of freedom is: Repent! And the call is given: Come unto me all that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest Matthew 11:28”

    The prideful person is heavy-laden and the humble person always rejoices, unceasingly prays, and in everything gives thanks. (1 Thes. 5:16-18)

    Humility is something one works at becoming while going through trials, and it is effectuated through the grace of God.

  2. petersprogress permalink
    12 August 2010 7:16 pm

    The way of humility sounds good to me…

  3. 13 August 2010 5:18 pm

    Maybe I’m missing all the posts hinted at here, but it seems simple to me. I try to keep it simple, and hopefully scriptural. The first Adam was put here to subdue the earth, to claim it for the King, extend the Kingdom. He and his wife decided to agree with Satan and gave away the keys to the Kingdom. Jesus came “to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk 19:10). He restored us by the cross and empty tomb. And He appoint us to continue what He began: heal the sick, set the captives free, and proclaim the Gospel. Isn’t that spiritual warfare? To pray that God’s will would be done here on earth as it is in heaven!
    I see that I am among learned men who have pondered deeply on humility and other primordial issues, but I think that if we are about the Father’s business, of taking back what was lost, we are too busy to dwell on how great we are, and constantly humbled by our own inadequacy, constantly brought back to our need for His sufficiency. My soul gets daily trouncing because God is faithful to keep me on short accounts. Let’s anchor our every flowery thought in scripture!

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