In the very beginning of our renunciation, it is certainly with labour and grief that we practice the virtues. But when we have made progress in them, we no longer feel sorrow, or we feel little sorrow. But as soon as our mortal mind is consumed and mastered by our zeal, we practice them with all joy and eagerness, with love and with divine fire. (Step 1:16)

In the Christian life, our struggle on this earth is to part ways with our sin and to follow the commandments of Christ. The commandments of the Saviour are not simply laws for us to navigate – the commandments flow from the very life of God. Following the commandments makes us to be like Christ; we are being reformed in His image. The virtues are those things that the commandments call us to be – love, mercy, forgiveness, charity, etc. St. John offers us comfort by assuring us that the initial following of the commandments is very difficult. This is a universal truth that we all should know. As we grow in Christ, the struggle becomes less, and eventually we follow the commandments out of our love for Christ. Let us daily engage in the struggle to be like Christ, knowing both that this is the only way to be truly human (in God’s image), and that God will bless and ease the struggles of those who are faithful.

Scripture verse for thought today – “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)