All who have willingly left the things of the world, have certainly done so for the sake of the future Kingdom, or because of the multitude of their sins, or for love of God. If they were not moved for any of these reasons, their withdrawal from the world was unreasonable. But God who sets our contests waits to see what the end of our course will be. (Step 1:5)*

St. John refers, in the first step of The Ladder, to people who have literally left the world to pursue the monastic life. Those of us living in the world are in a slightly different circumstance, but the same mindset applies to us: we’re to renounce the way of the world, and cling to Christ. The way of the world is a path of self-will, sin, and death. In Christ, these mindsets are replaced by God’s will, virtue, and life eternal. St. John tells us that there are three good reasons for choosing Christ over the world – for the Kingdom of Heaven, to repent for our sins, and because of our love of God. For most of us, the path looks like this – we begin by thinking of our eternal soul (repentance), which grows into a desire to do the will of God (the Heavenly Kingdom), and the pinnacle being purely our desire for God (love). Our life in God is never static; we should be forever growing closer to Him, increasing in faith and in love.

Scripture verse for thought today – “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

*All quotes are taken from The Ladder of Divine Ascent by Saint John Climacus, Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston: 2001.