By Jackie Morfesis

I spoke today with a dear friend who I consider a spiritual mentor, an Orthodox monastic. During our conversation she said: “Remember Jackie, the devil is like a prowling lion, waiting for someone to attack.” We know the scripture: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

I am all too familiar with this passage. Why? Because as a child of God, follower of Christ, every day the adverse powers seek to disturb my peace. Even more than disturbing my peace – they seek to destroy us. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

On the faith walk, we seek to do God’s work and our plans are thwarted. We take as in the Greek folk dances, one step forward and two steps back. We seek Him and are glad for the spiritual gifts He has given us, yet in our efforts to use our gifts and bring God the glory, the enemy who wants to hurt God’s children will set up roadblock after roadblock.

We must not get discouraged and we must know who we are fighting. For as St. Paul warns us in Ephesians, we are not fighting flesh and blood. The adverse powers even work through those we know. Those we once trusted. Those we believe are for us not against us. But in truth, our God is for us not against us and man fails and falls short again and again.

The fiery darts of the enemy never cease to be shot at those who love the Lord and do His work. I will not list all the times that my heart and back have felt the darts of the enemy, from family members, friends, and strangers. I can also not count the number of times that I gave my pain to God and He brought justice. Those who hurt me were silenced. Those who attacked my well-being were visited with their own physical ailments and sufferings. I do not wish harm on anyone – but “vengeance is mine saith the Lord.”

I recently visited a Veteran’s establishment. It was evening and I went for dinner. I sat by myself at a table to have a quiet meal. I then overheard something that was so odd to me that I almost thought I could be dreaming. A man at the bar began to question aloud if I was Greek. “Is that woman over there Greek? Why is she coming here? She should leave.” I heard other disparaging remarks. The other men at the bar, most likely fellow veterans did not defend me. In fact, they went along with his derogatory comments.

To think in the year 2024, we are still struggling with ethnic bias. Mean-spiritedness. Ugliness. Something my parents taught me as a child to not have in the 60s and 70s. I suppose this man and his cohorts thought they could bully me with no response. I got up and walked to the bar. I said: “Yes, I am Greek American. My father fought in the Korean War and was a past Post Commander. You should be ashamed of yourselves. You are a disgrace to our nation.”

I am tired. I am tired of the daily attacks by the enemy. I know that I am fighting the adverse powers – I am well aware of the battle. My dear monastic friend told me that I should be careful not to say: “I am tired.” Of course, I know that the Lord is my fortress. He is my refuge. My hiding place. My first love. For I have not forgotten my first love.

Yet, the world is still many times a harsh place. A place that is threatened by the Light of Christ within His child. We do not even have to announce ourselves to anyone. They sense that we stand for the Light and that is enough to make the darkness shudder.

Our faith walk is a daily walk. Every day we are to awake and armor up. We go out into the world and at the same time go inward to the peace of the Holy Spirit that was given to us at our baptism. We are not orphans though many in the world would like us to believe we are abandoned and unloved. They do this with words and actions to show we are unappreciated and not valued. They do this by using their tongue with the spirit of shame, as the men did at the VFW Post tonight.

Yet here is what they do not know. There is no turning back. There is no turning back from our purpose in God’s kingdom. He has a plan for us, and our steps are ordered. What the enemy meant for harm God meant for the good. “As for you, you mean evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). How many times have we experienced disappointment and hardship and instead of it bringing us to destruction, it has served to strengthen us? To embolden our faith. To give us courage. To magnify our mercy. I can hear my father Peter say: “Have courage.” I can hear my grandmother Virginia Manos say: “Persevere.” I can hear my mother Lucia say: “Use your talents.” I can hear my Lord say again and again: “You belong to me. I am your Beloved.”

My spiritual mentor told me today that martyrdom is not only with blood. As Orthodox Christians every day is martyrdom in that we willingly surrender our lives to God’s plan for us. I am not playing Christian. I am not pretending. I am not doing what I do because it will give me a good tally sheet at the Final Judgment. I know we are not saved by works but saved by grace.

God gets all the glory. He gets the glory for our talents. For our service. For our salvation. He gets the glory when the world seeks to steal our joy and the world learns that it is a joy that cannot be stolen.

I may be tired at times – but I am not defeated. I know that God is doing a good work through me and my life. He is an awesome God who sent His Son to have a personal relationship with us. My God is mystery. My God is love. My God is mercy. My God is watching and knows not only the number of hairs on our head but the number of days in our lives till we will be home again, our true home in eternity.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry to hear you were abused by a veteran. Many veterans were abused by our government. America is very sick right now. Let us pray for one another. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  2. Lord in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, I profess my faith boldly in the power of Your supernatural healing and restoration power for those who seek to destroy others with hateful speech spewing anger from their heart. Lord I speak to the power of confession for the wayward ways of not living a Christ-centered life. May evil spirits fall and be replaced with your unwavering love and redemption for those lost souls. Lord we thank you for the gift and sacrifice of Your one and only Son Jesus, who was crucified and took sin upon him to save us from sin. The power of Your salvation for life eternal and for the forgiveness of sin to transform our lives is manifest NOW.

    I command the angel of death be removed from the lives of your sons and daughters so that they may walk in the freedom and glory of Your light, with only Your lamp lit upon their feet with guidance and wisdom imparted from the Holy Spirit.

    All other distractions by the enemy, idols and gods are banished NOW.
    Chains are breaking and falling NOW. People are awakening from years of depression, physical pain, delusion and mental illness NOW. Eyes are opening with clarity being restored right NOW in Your mighty Name. No weapon of evil forces will take root and prosper. We command the devil be cast into the lake of fire RIGHT NOW. People are walking free from the bondage of darkness NOW. Set my friend Jackie free from the insults and oppression and give conviction to those children who are lost NOW so that they may be granted eternal life and salvation. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

  3. Sharing this to my Facebook page. What a wonderful testimony. I find it helps, too, to remember that the evil one wants to destroy us, not because we have any value at all to him, but simply as a way to spit in the Face of our loving God. I will not let him spit in the Face that saved me!

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