For its first 300 years Christianity was very unpopular. Untold millions of Christians were slaughtered under the persecution of many Roman Emperors.
Then one day in the 300s, Emperor Constantine announced that he was a Christian and that there would be no more persecution from Rome. The Emperor’s favor quickly changed Christianity from a persecuted sect to a seeker-friendly, popular religion. Soon it was made the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Suddenly it seemed like everybody wanted to be a Christian. Few people wanted to miss out on being a part of the Emperor’s and the Empire’s religion.
However, some of the people who had been Christians during the days when it could cost your life, were not too happy to see so much church growth based on superficial popularity rather than on total commitment to Christ.
Large numbers of serious Christians began to run away from the new, casual Christianity. Many moved to the deserts of Egypt to seek God and freedom from bondage to sin. History looks back and calls them The Desert Fathers. Here are a few quotations from unknown Desert Fathers.
“Anyone who lives in a crowd; because of the turbulence, does not see his sins: but when he has been quiet, in solitude, then he recognizes his own faults.”
“Pambo saw a woman that was an actress, and he wept. The bystanders asked him why he wept. He said ‘I take less trouble about pleasing God than she takes about pleasing the worst of men.'”
“Flee from consenting to sin or committing sin.”
“We cannot make temptations vanish, but we can struggle against them.”
“If we remember that God dwells in us, we shall never bring into ourselves anything that is not His.”
“We do not make progress because we do not realize how much we can do. We want to be good without even trying.”
“Nowadays everyone wants to talk but what is needed is action. That is what God wants, not useless talking.”
“When a wicked thought approaches you, the fear of God will destroy it as a fire burns reed. Wickedness cannot overcome men who fear God.”
“What is humility? It is if you forgive a brother who has wronged you before he is sorry.”
“I receive Christ when I receive you, so I must do all I can to show you love.”