See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 NLT

How great is the Father’s love for us, for you, this morning! God loves the people of the world, every tribe, kindred and tongue. His great love led to our redemption and restoration in Christ, where, by His blood, He gave His pure and spotless life for ours, as universally polluted and unclean as they are—“for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:22. 

Jesus did that. Once and for all. Oh how He loves you and me!

He adopted those who believe into God’s family, to become God’s children, to be changed into His likeness when “we see Him as he really is”. Oh glorious hope—that a struggling soul like mine, and God knows the struggle, can hold tightly to the expectation of becoming like Jesus—this tattered, ordinary life—will be changed into His image! 

In the modern world, dear one, there are so many things to distract our attention from the love of God and the expectation of His coming. The daily surrender to His loving work in our life is often far from our conscious experience—we just don’t think much about cleansing our minds and lives from the pollution of the world that we might be further pure of heart and undefiled. Instead we walk this middle ground of being totally submerged in the world but with a pin-hole of light to Jesus, or under water with only a straw reaching the surface so we can breath. Instead of being unbound we remain shackled, thinking, wrongly, that this is the freedom the apostles described. It is not.

Freedom is found in aligning my will with His. In being purified and cleansed. In living righteously in this world in humility, loving others in tangible ways.

So we purify ourselves, not by ourselves, for it is God who purifies the soul, but He won’t do so if we are not willing, for He allows us to choose. So I daily, consciously, join my will to God and purify myself by the grace and mercy of Christ who lives in me. 

If you wish to be called wise, intelligent and a son of God, strive to present your soul to the Lord in the same state as you received it from Him: pure, innocent, completely undefiled. Then you will be crowned in heaven and the angels will call you blessed.

St. John of Karpathose. Texts for the Monks of India, Text 89. Philokalia. B#22, Vol One
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