Born in third-century Egypt to faithful believers in Christ St. Macarius grew up as a pious Christian. He would become one of the early Fathers of monasticism and lived his life in the desert wilderness training over 400 men in the ways of God. He spent his life in simplicity and in love. He was known for his fight against the heresy of Arianism and was eventually suffered exile for it. St. Macarius is known by “Wonder Worker” for several recorded miracles performed. As well as such other names as St. Macarius the Great; Macarius the Elder, and St. Macarius the Egyptian.
I personally believe one of his greatest contributions to the faith comes from his teaching and demonstration of what it truly means to be “Dead to the world”. It is a teaching that comes to my heart in such perfect timing and grace for the particular season I am walking in.
A brother once came to the abbot Macarius and said to him, “Master, speak some word of exhortation to me, that, obeying it, I may be saved.” St. Macarius answered him, “Go to the tombs and attack the dead with insults.” The brother wondered at the word. Nevertheless he went, as he was bidden, and cast stones at the tombs, railing upon the dead. Then returning, he told what he had done. Macarius asked him, “Did the dead notice what you did?” And he replied, “They did not notice me.”
“Go, then, again,” said Macarius, “and this time praise them.” The brother, wondering yet more, went and praised the dead, calling them just men, apostles, saints. Returning, he told what he had done, saying, “I have praised the dead.”
Macarius asked him, “Did they reply to you?” And he said, “They did not reply to me.” Then said Macarius, “You know what insults you have heaped on them and with what praises you have flattered them, and yet they never spoke to you. If you desire salvation, you must be like these dead. You must think nothing of the wrongs men do to you, nor of the praises they offer you. Be like the dead. Thus you may be saved.”
Wow! The dead are totally deaf to praise and insult of those around them. To be dead in Christ is to be dead to the inflation of pride that comes from praise and equally dead to the hurt that comes from insult and injury! The opinions of men have no claim on our souls. The only opinion that holds any true merit on our lives is that of God’s! He has the last word about us! That is so freeing! This truth is something I have had to remind myself of over and over the last couple months. It is so easy for us to let the opinions of people affect us. We have no obligation to the thoughts of our enemies or our peers because our life is not in them but in Christ!
I personally crave acceptance and when someone I know thinks badly of me it wrecks my heart. I am greatly affected by what people say and think of me. It has been a serious struggle for many years. Bouncing from inflated pride to depression all because of the words and actions of others seems ridiculous but it is a reality that many love in. I am thankful that Holy Spirit is joining in my weakness to remind me of the Father’s deep love and acceptance for me! Reminding me of all the good he has placed in me. We can not let our mental,emotional, and spiritual state hinge on the fleeting opinions of those around us. Whether they be family or enemy makes no difference. We are dead to it all! Made alive in Christ by a miraculous adoption and everlasting grace!
If you have died with Christ to the world’s way of doing things, why do you let others tell you how to live? It’s as though you were still under the world’s influence.
Stand firm beloved! Focus on the only person whose opinion matters!
Christ has a very high opinion of you! You are the apple of his eye!
Through whom, to whom, as for whom all things exist!