The Christian must strive for infinite moral perfection: “Be perfect,” says the Savior, “as your Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). That is why he must be vigilant in his thoughts, feelings and actions, because he is surrounded on all sides by enemies of his salvation, which Christ pointed out to us in His parable of the sower and the seed – these are sensual pleasures, riches, life’s care and the devil. The Christian must always be on guard of his salvation, to fight against his passions, evil thoughts, the influence of evil people and cunning demonic forces, because one spark of sin is enough to then ignite the fire of passions and to incinerate in us the seeds of good.
As for the above, the Moscow Metropolitan Innocent advises us: “We must be especially courageous and firm in carrying our sufferings, in carrying our life crosses. These crosses are so painful for some that they feel abandoned by the Lord. But God is always with us, even when it seems to us that we are at the very end of doom, because He will not allow more temptations than we can bear …. In sorrows do not seek consolation in people, if God Himself is not send them: only the Lord is your helper, comforter and mentor; turn to Him, and seek only comfort and help in Him. ”
In the successful struggle of the Christian with the enemies of his salvation powerful means appear: the word of God, the example of the life of the saints, fasting, prayer and especially the grace of God given to us in the sacraments of the Church of Christ.
Only in the love of God and neighbor is the constant struggle with vices and passions the pledge of salvation for man and for eternal life.
Will we, after enduring various sufferings of love of neighbor, find or continue to love or hate him because of the suffering he has caused us and the possible ingratitude, especially if he is our enemy (because the duty of love of neighbor includes the requirement to love our enemies) – this is the greatest test of virtue and the greatest danger to the compassionate, lest he become a philanthropist, misanthrope.
Also, the rage of enmity enters among Christians and prevents them from reconciling and living in peace. “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matt. 6:14). The devil never quarrels with the devil. But under the pressure of the devil’s malice, man against man is at war, and Christian against Christian. The robbers, as soon as they unite, become comrades. Their common interests and goals connect them and, by sharing a table, respect each other as brothers. And we seem to line up at the same spiritual table – we partake of the same cup with the Flesh and Blood of the Lord, we are supposed to be brothers in Christ, but in fact we eat each other like bloodthirsty beasts. This is because we have allied ourselves with the devil. In our sinfulness, it is natural for misunderstandings and quarrels to arise between people. But, once quarreled, we can reconcile. If mutual reconciliation is not achievable, then we must practice patience and forgiveness of the enemy who is uncompromising towards us. “Let not the sun go down upon you; nor give place to the devil ”(Eph. 4: 26-27).