Taking on the Image of Christ
To be a Christian is not about conformity to the image of other people, but to the image of Christ
By Abbot Tryphon, January 9, 2020
When we enter into communion with one another in the life of the Church, we come broken, and far from the image and likeness that God intended when He created us. We, to a one, are in need of the healing that comes from a life in Christ. Yet we often hinder ourselves from healing because we fear being who we are. This fear is sometimes based on what others may think of us, or what may happen if we don’t fit in, or are not liked by others. We fear being rejected for essentially being ourselves.
Yet the Lord calls us to put aside our fear, because He loves us just as we are. In Christ there is no fear, because God is love, perfect and unconditional love. In our walk with Christ, we are healed, and made whole. We don’t have to shelve that which makes us who we are, for it is we who are being made whole. Through total immersion in Christ, and in the disciplines of the Church, the transformational power of God’s grace changes us. We don’t become some stamped out version of everyone else, but are changed into the person God intended us to be. We are made perfect, just as we are.” For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).”
In our very weakness we are made whole, for Christ tells us, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).”
To be a Christian is not about conformity to the image of other people, but rather, to the image of Christ. You needn’t shelve a who you are, but take on the image of who Christ is.
“Help me, O God, to put off all pretenses and find my true self.” ~Living Prayer, by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom
With love in Christ,
~Abbot Tryphon, The Morning Offering, https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2020/01/taking-on-the-image-of-christ/.
I must accuse myself, blame myself, judge myself
By Abbot Tryphon, July 3, 2020
We see people’s sins, but we don’t know whether they have made peace with God. We don’t know if the person who has sinned regrets it, but we are not called to judge them, but only to forgive them. As we become aware of our own sins, and begin to realize how much forgiveness and mercy we need, we are less likely to see the sins of others.
If we find ourselves judging others, we must simply turn it around, and judge only ourselves. Abba Dorotheos’ Practical Teaching on the Christian Life, (the one published in Athens, Greece), is a book every Orthodox Christian should own, and one that should be our constant companion, in our struggle to truly forgive others, and turn our gaze on our own need for change.
We must accuse ourselves, blame ourselves, judge ourselves, and get our focus off the other person. The only way we can overcome the sin of judging others, is to see only the sins of ourselves. True repentance comes only when we work on our own fallen nature.
With love in Christ,
~Abbot Tryphon, The Morning Offering, https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2020/07/my-sins-5/.