God of my salvation or god of my ego

Throughout our life, we go through many changes, experience many ups and downs. Today we are children of light (John 12:36), but tomorrow we are filled with doubts and wonder; “Who is God? Where is God? God has forgotten me”.  This happens because the ego has placed itself in opposition to God, has made a god of itself, and it is impossible for the two to coexist.  The presence of one requires the absence of the other.  It is as if two mighty gods, the God of my salvation and the god I have made out of my self, have come into conflict.  If the ego wins, I will experience psychological isolation, which will include isolation from those around me, along with the feelings of bitterness and sorrow.  These feelings are the proof that the ego has rejected the God of salvation. The “ego” – taken to include body, soul and spirit – has sent God into exile. Before this happens, I am locked in a struggle with God, and woe to me if I should win.

This marks a critical juncture in my life, for it is the moment when I will have to utter definitive “yes” or “no” to God.  This is the moment when all the conflicts and cross-pressures in the soul, when all the contradictions in my life, rise to their most critical levels. If I say “yes”, choosing to reaffirm my ego, I will begin to sink and be lost.  If I say “no”, it will be as if I returned to life, as if I was resurrected and redeemed. In essence, the ego is a king who is fated to suffer regicide; who is condemned to die and be buried in the ground. Yet something even worse, for my life will be one of the endless anxiety and despair. I will suffer eternally in the hell of my inner division, for I will forever call upon God and forever reject Him. I will find myself in a place where I shall no longer be able to repent.

If however, I am victorious; If I decide to put my ego to death, then the King of Glory will rise from the dead (Psalm 23:7), the Lord of my salvation, for whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Matthew 16:24). The darkness of my isolation will be dispersed by the light of God, and He Himself will be my companion; He will grant me genuine spiritual life, which is something greater than my life, for it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. (Galatian 2:20)  His experiences shall become mine. This is the goal of my struggling; this is why I wrestle with God. And it is not just my struggle, but the struggle of every soul, and of the Church as a whole.

Source: Psalms and The Life of Faith

              by Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra

               Pages 218-219

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