Our earthly life is meant to be a journey to eternal life with God. Just as the children of Israel journeyed through the wilderness, all believers journey through their own wilderness.

St. Paul the Apostle gives us a plan to follow in our journey with God.  St. Paul tells us to “put to death [our] members on the earth” and “seek those things which are above, where Christ is.”  (Colossians 3:1,5).  St. Paul urges us to put “off the old man” because we have already “died, and [our] life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3,9).

Monks carry in themselves the death of Jesus Christ in a very apparent way.  A funeral service is prayed on every Coptic Orthodox monk because all monks “put on the new man.” (Colossians 3:10).  A monk’s only ambition is “above, where Christ is.” (Colossians 3:1).  Monks do not measure their success by earthly goals, but by their ability to “put to death [their] members which are on the earth” and “allow the peace of God to rule in [their] hearts.” (Colossians 3:5,15).

Inasmuch, every Christian has been “crucified with Christ; it is no longer [we] who live, but Christ lives in [us].” (Galatians 2:20).

There are two kinds of death: the death of victory and the death of defeat.   Death with Christ on our earthly journey is, in fact, our spiritual struggle.   If we overcome “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry,” then we experience the death of victory. (Colossians 3:5).  However, if we disobey God and fall into sin, then we experience the death of defeat.

When the first Adam disobeyed God, he experienced the death of defeat and the “wrath of God.”  (Colossians 3:6).  Thus, the first Adam lost the Holy Spirit and experienced corruption.  Through obedience, the Second Adam (Jesus Christ) experienced the death of victory and was raised in glory.   When we are successful in our spiritual struggle and experience the death of victory, we will “also appear with Him in glory.”   (Colossians 3:4).

Throughout our spiritual struggle, St. Paul urges us to support each other.  When we love God, we will naturally love one another and share the love of God with each other.  Therefore, we know we are succeeding on our earthly journey when we love one another.  This is because love is “the bond of perfection.” (Colossians 3:14).

Monks forsake the world to strive towards perfection. Perfection is eternal life.  Eternal life will abide in every Christian who overcomes sin and shares the love of God with others.

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