This week we go back to IV Maccabees 1:1 of which most of the rest of this book demonstrates. The NETS version of the Septuagint states that pious reason is able to overcome the passions, and the rest of the book describes this. I sorry I don't have many other versions handy, but another version says religious reason. To me this means that a mind which has been trained in the Bible is able to conquer the passions.
Some examples. A gentleman whom I used to council was sexually abused by older boys when he was about five, and apparently this made him attracted to boys, as he would dream of naked boys. When actually given the opportunity to do something about it in junior high school, he was able to resist, because he had read in the King James Version, that any man who sleeps with another man as with a woman is an abomination. That gave him the power to resist temptation for years, because his mind was fed by the whole word of God. In the early to mid seventies, sadly enough he came in contact with some articles written by Bishop Spong and others declaring the Bible to be wrong on such things and fell into a homosexual lifestyle, of which through counseling and the power of the Holy Spirit, he has been delivered. Forgiveness of those boys who abused him broke the power of pornography over him. (Lord have mercy on those who led him astray.)
Another example from my own life. I was very much a slave of tobacco in the form of Skoal. Swore to myself that when it hit a dollar a can, I would quit. Well the dollar came and went and I was still on it. At the same time I was one of the cosponsors of the EYC in Conroe. One of the kids wanted to try some, and I had to turn him down, because I was his brother in Christ, and could not start him on such an addicting habit. My mind was formed by the Bible, which lead me to understand, that I was responsible for my brother, and this gave me the power to take that Skoal to the altar of the church, leave it there, and pray to God to deliver me from the desire. I have had no desire now in about twenty-five years.
Now I am not exalting our will, not detracting the role of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit uses the same scripture to guide us and set us on the straight path. What is important is our belief. The first example had power to resist, as long as he believed God's word was true. When that building stone was torn down, it no longer had the power to help him, until he was able to believe again.
When we look at heroes, or the saints of the church, then we see interesting things. Unlike the TV programmes, we don't see super powers (except in the case of Sampson) or many supernatural things going on, except when angels are seen. What makes a Biblical hero a hero, that is a saint? It is his commitment to serve God, guided by knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Some of the greatest heroes, such as King David, and St. Peter also messed up a lot, but they were willing to confess their faults, and allow God to move in their lives to transform them into instruments to do God's will here on earth.
We too, need to concentrate on learning God's word. Here at Benim Avraham, the entire New Testament is read every four years. The Old Testament in about six years. We hear the whole word of God, and live by it. The Holy Spirit uses that word to guide us as we work for the kingdom.
If you wish to be a hero of the church, you need to read the whole word of God, and apply it to your life.
Shalom b Yeshuah haMoshiach
Mar Michael Abportus