15 Quotes of Spiritual Guidance by Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk

  1. You mustn’t live idly. Instead, do the labour blessed by God. Idleness is the cause of all evil. He who lives in idleness, sins continually. The weak and the elderly, who cannot work, are an exception.
  2. Be cautious of all kinds of sin. Treat them like a deadly poison because all kinds of sin offend the Almighty God and make him angry. He who sins is alienated from God and cannot acquire eternal salvation. Beware of the sin that can kill you forever.
  3. Do not do what your conscience forbids you to do, for the same actions, which your inerrant conscience forbids, God’s Law forbids, too. Good conscience is in tune with God’s Law <…>
  4. Worship God not with your body and outward appearance but with a good conscience, fear, love, obedience, gratitude, prayer, and faith. God is the Spirit that has no shape or substance, and therefore isn’t worshipped by anything other than spirit and truth.
  5. Seek to please God with faith and obedience, that is, do what He wants and what He pleases, and do not do what He doesn’t want and what He doesn’t like. Whatever you do, it’s impossible to please God if you aren’t obedient.
  6. Be afraid to mention the Name of God jokingly or deceitfully to avoid being punished by God immediately, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).
  7. Invoke the Name of your Lord God in the beginning of anything you do, and start with a prayer so that the Lord would help you to begin and to finish your planned action. Hence, a Christian must not do anything that goes contrary to God’s Law; only an action that complies with it.
  8. Do not imitate everything other people do. Those who imitate others recklessly, are spoiled and corrupted; evil multiplies every hour and piety dwindles accordingly. Instead, listen to what the Word of God teaches you.
  9. True Christians reside in this world like travellers, pilgrims, and strangers, who are always looking for their Heavenly homeland with their spiritual eyes and in faith, and aspire to achieve it. Be a traveller and a pilgrim in this world, and look for the Heavenly homeland, and aspire to achieve it. The world with its lures and lust will be an abomination for you. If you are a person who seeks eternal bliss and wants to receive it, hold all temporary things in contempt so as not to lose the eternal by seeking the ephemeral.
  10. Keep away from luxury like you would from a plague. It paralyses a Christian soul, teaching it to steal other people’s property, to harm people and refrain one’s hand from giving alms — which a Christian is expected to do. Luxury is like a gluttonous stomach that knows no satisfaction or like a voracious abyss that devours everything. It needs more and more, and keeps changing things. It leads you to think, “My house isn’t great, I should build a bigger one. My dress isn’t fine, I should have a more fashionable one. I’m ashamed of riding a cab, I should buy a luxurious horse carriage. This meal is bland, why not cook a more delicious one. I don’t want to drink plain wine, I think vodka is better. My servants are poorly dressed, I think I should buy them a more appropriate uniform, etc.” That is how luxury devours everything and debilitates your mind. Beware of luxury. To a natural man, even a little will suffice; lust and luxury demand more and more.
  11. Do not adorn your body with snappy clothes, like some people who call themselves Christians have a habit of doing. May your clothes conform to your status. Christian clothes are clothes of your soul. Christians must adorn their souls, not their bodies. The beauty of your soul is the image of God unto which we are created. Seek this beauty, and it will suffice.
  12. When in church, focus on what is being read and sung. Affection, true prayer, heartfelt singing, and thankfulness will come as a result of it. Do not allow your mind to wander outside of the church even as your body is present in church, so as not to merit the reproach determined by the Holy Writ, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15: 8). If your body is in church, your spirit must be there with it, for you stand in front of God.
  13. Beware of dinners and banquets. It is extremely difficult to go there without damaging your conscience. You won’t return home the same, so take heed. There is nothing better and safer than to stay at home. The things, which your eyes don’t see and your ears don’t hear, will not affect your heart. There is no better way to attract good and God-pleasing thoughts than seclusion and silence. If you mix with a lot of people, you will lose all the good that you’ve earned while alone.
  14. If you have to get out of your house and meet somebody, be attentive and guard your heart with all caution. Remember the Lord your God wherever you go. May the holy fear of God be like a candle that lights up your way and directs your steps. Wherever you go and whomever you meet, God is there with you. He knows everything about you. He sees what you do and hears what you say. Therefore, be careful.
  15. If you happen to sin or do something wrong, do not be desperate but as soon as you discover that you have sinned, kneel before the merciful God humbly and ask for his mercy with a publican’s prayer, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!” (Cf. Luke 18: 13) — and your sin will be absolved. Amen.

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The Editor of the Catalog of Good Deeds.


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