Our purpose here is salvation of the soul. We are passionate about this and it makes perfect sense. Εγκράτεια, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, is the agent by which we channel our passions, we focus all of our energy on the salvation of the soul.

Εγκράτεια means holding within, self-control; another word for self-control is discipline. Discipline also comes from the word for student, disciple, or learner.

Jesus said (Jn 8:31), if you stay within, hold to, my teaching, my Word (Λόγος), then you are truly my disciple.

We maintain self-control, then, to study the Word, Λόγος, so as to be able to pursue also the other fruits of the Holy Spirit, a chain of interlinked molecules, so to speak, including faith, that together form the eternal life of the soul.

Faith decides the matter; faith is how we feel in our hearts. This is what we must have the discipline to work on, a weak and dark heart to make it strong and full of light, full of faith.

Did you fill your heart with faith? Did you love your neighbor?

This will decide the matter between life and death, and the Word of God makes a difference … He sent His Word and healed them.

The forgiveness of sins, being bent out of shape and losing focus, means that, through the grace of God, we can get back on the right path in our pursuit of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we can change our minds, restructure the “molecule”. But doing so requires commitment, hard work, and sacrifice.

The Lord, in His infinite wisdom, is not going to let us rest complacently in the faith for too long. We must keep working at the faith, making real sacrifices to make progress in the faith, until we come into the true Faith, the true sacrifice, as the day of Jesus Christ, and so finally into His Eternal Rest, which is really no rest at all, but Eternal creative energy in motion … hovering … woo, woo, woo … still, silent, and strong.

So the Covenant, the Διαθήκη, is like a plateau, a temporary resting place. We must periodically renew the Covenant, make the sacrifice of our temporary rest, and reach a new plateau, a new level of faith, a new Covenant, and so on.

Ultimately, I wish to be buried in a field of faith, thereby rising again in body and spirit, for faith is the fertilizer, the substance of the living life, faith is the agent by which we communicate with God, and εγκράτεια is the agent by which we focus all of our energy on faith.

Therefore, even as Saint Paul illustrated on several occasions (1Cor 9:25), like the athlete must train and practice through drills and exercises, as a student, disciple or learner, so we too must practice staying focused on the pure and strait Word also through daily spiritual exercises, through study of the Word.