this is what i am. a dirty liar. why? because i once said, “today i am going to start reading ‘the imitation of Christ’ by thomas a kempis.”
i never did start reading this book back on that day. however, i have officially started it today. i think i shall read it slowly so it can sink in and, therefore, cause my life maximum displeasure at its current state. here are some prominant quotes from the first two chapters.
chapter I: imitating Christ and despising all vanities on earth. [the title is hard enough for me to take].
“Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ.”
for what else can we do that will bring us gain? not that it is gain which we desire, but our desire is to know Christ and be wed to him and him alone. therefore, what will it profit us to pursue anything other than him? it would be like a chasing after the wind.
“Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone.”
this is one of my prime concerns with the “emerging Church”. in a podcast that i listen to occasionally the two gentlemen said that, “the problem with the emerging church is that they would rather sit around and talk about having an orgasm than actually having one.” we have so many ‘summits’ and ‘conversations’ that we forget to actually DO the things we are speaking of. oh, there is precious time lost in the pursuit of a solution. in the conversations it takes to come up with solutions and the knowledge we seek to gain from speaking of these solutions. the time that is lost is precious because it is time that could be spent loving others, “with actions and in truth” (1 jn 0318)
“This is the greatest wisdom–to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides.”
welcome to tonights main event: the material vs. the immaterial. sometimes i feel as if our sight does us an injustice, for how quick we are to focus our sights on things visible. this is a battle i know first hand. people know me as the guy with “cool shoes”. i don’t want to be known as this guy and it is something that the very Spirit of God has been speaking to my spirit.
“Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible.”
chapter II: having a humble opinion of self.
“Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars.”
(read: the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge)
“If I knew all things in the world and had not charity, what would it profit me before God Who will judge me by my deeds?”
“…he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise.”
“The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy.”
“If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel. To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom.”
(read: “i die every day…” 1 cor 1531)
“All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself.”
(read: ted haggard, paul melnichuk)