If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” John 14:15.
A true Christian is one who is striving to abide in the commandments of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.
For the one tasting of the goodness of God, even just a little bit, the commandments become “good and light” (cf. Matt. 11:30).
Through conforming our life, our way, to that of the Lord, to His Word, our spiritual eye is enlightened and purified, “The statutes of the Lord are right, gladdening the heart; the commandment of the Lord is bright, giving light unto our eyes” (Ps. 18:9/19:8)
Thus, the only manner in which the way, the path, of a person is directed aright, made light, is through conforming to the Word of God. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my paths” (Ps. 118/119:105).
For a true Christian the Word, the Commandment, of God has its origin not in anything of this world, not in mere man, but in the God-Man Jesus Christ Who has revealed Himself to us. It is received through the revelation of Jesus Christ (cf. Gal. 1:12).
Those who actively reject the luminous Word of God gradually have the eyes of their heart darkened. Their “reason” becomes madness.
St. Macarius the Great says, “The Word of God is God. And the word of the world is the world. There is a great difference between the Word of God and the word of the world and between the children of God and the children of the world. For every begotten offspring resembles its proper parents. If, therefore, the offspring of the Spirit gives itself over the word of the world and to earthly matters and to the glory of this age, it is stricken with death and perishes, whence it came into existence” (Fifty Spiritual Homilies, Homily 46).
Our Lord commanded us, as those who follow after Him, to be watchful and to take heed. He says this numerous times in the Gospels, see Matt. 7:15; Lk. 21:8; Mk. 13:5 as just a few examples. The Apostle Peter warns Christians, “Therefore, beloved, knowing this (the Word of God) beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability” (2 Pet. 3:17).
Darkness will consume us only if we leave the light.
There are those even who seem to be in the Orthodox Church who have stopped listening to the Word of God and begun to preach the word of the world. Their eyes have been darkened and they now think that their darkness is light. As St. Macarius said, they are stricken with death and thus can only offer death.
To avoid ambiguity I will gladly name a few of the wolves and sheep’s clothing, the bearers of the word of the world, those delighting in death and actively spreading it as if it were the truth: orthodoxy in dialogue, public orthodoxy, orthodox christian studies at Fordham. The Wheel also seems to enjoy dabbling in the word of the world. They feel liberated on the “broad way” of fallen reasoning and they disdain the “narrowness of the straight path” of the Commandments of God.
The false church in Ukraine under the EP is also an example of the attempt to cloth the word of the world in Orthodox garments.
It may be that those who are to be Shepherds of Christ flock bear more culpability, for some refuse to clearly speak against these preachers of the word of the world in the name of the Orthodox Church. Some of the above-mentioned groups are covered and encouraged by those who are to be shepherds of Christ’s flock.
It would be good for us to hear these words of the Lord, “’Woe to the shepherds of who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!’, declares the Lord … ‘You have scattered My flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you and your evil deeds’” (Jer. 23:1-2). And again the Lord speaks with fierceness to the shepherds of Israel, “The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not sought … so they were scattered because there were no shepherds … Therefore, hear the word of the Lord you shepherds, As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because My sheep have become a prey, and My sheep have become food for all the wild beasts … Behold, I am against the shepherds, I will require My sheep at their hand …” (Eze. 34:4, 7-8, 10).
Let us trust only the pure light of the Word, the Commandment, of God. Let us follow only those shepherds who “rightly divide the Word of Truth.” Let us cast aside all those false ones who desire to pervert the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They are, as the Scriptures testify, “Hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by the wind; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved” (Jude 12-13).
As Christians, we are called to the “foolishness” of the Gospel which smells of death to those who are steeped in the word of the world (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18ff; 2 Cor. 2:14ff).