Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark and you seek help and do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits.
- St Isaac of Syria
Here are some of my thoughts on this:
- We can add to or increase the "chains" that bind us - these chains can be in the form of addictions, fear of the unknown, fear of the unanticipated, anxieties over job and career, financial worries, fears of failing, I am reminded of that scene in Scrooge where Ebenezer's previous friend and co-worker, Marley, explains to Ebenezer that the chain he bears was crafted by himself "link by link". We have a natural tendency to blame others or circumstances for the chains that bind us. If we are truly "free in Christ" then those chains are crafted by ourselves.
- We have been given a certain amount of light - wisdom? discernment? - but that light can fade and disappear completely.
- We have choices in regard to how we respond to things that happen to us or what things we wrap our lives around.
- We can seek help too late - answers will not be given and we won't find the hope for which we are looking.
- We can "waste" our life by running after those things that are not eternal - status, material goods, the approval of others, physical pleasures, beauty, relationships, careers, money, security, the praise of others, etc.
- New concept - the life God has given me is to be contemplated with the end result of repentance. It is not for my pleasure, my benefit, my selfish goals. If practiced daily, such an attitude would radically change my outlook on life! My life has meaning only in relation to God. That said, my soul is in a sorry condition and needs repentance and cleansing from sin daily. My "feet" need to be washed daily, and the only One who can effectively wash them is Christ through his shed blood and broken body.
My prayer in the morning should be: "Lord, my heart is wicked and prone to evil always. Have mercy upon me."
My prayer during the day should be: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
My prayer at night should be: "Lord, I have sinned without number in what I have done and what I have left undone. Have mercy upon me."