By PAT HUTCHENS, A rework of Imitation of Messiah by Thomas A. Kempis—
Open not your heart to everyone, but keep your inmost thoughts only for wise people who fear God. Young people need time and strangers are a risk. Do not flatter the rich nor set out to make friends with people in high society. If you want to choose, choose to be with humble, common, ordinary people. For deeper relationships, especially seek out people who have a gentle spirit and who are devoted to God.
Do not be overly familiar with those of the opposite sex. Keep this and you will save yourself much sorrow. If you make it your goal to keep all your relationships right before God, you will be able to have many good friends and keep a clear conscience as well. If you give God first place in your heart, you won’t always be craving the attention of others.
We are commanded to love one another, but we obviously cannot be close friends with everyone. To love everyone means to do what is right toward each person. It is possible to “love” someone even if you don’t particularly like them. Sometimes the most loving thing one can do for another is to leave them alone, not get involved. Many times we speak of loving someone when we don’t even know them, basing our judgment on what others have written or said. Sometimes we try to please others by be being open or sharing intimately with them, when in fact they often like us less because they see our faults. Not so with God – he knows all our faults. He “remembers our frame – that we are dust.” Study these love passages:
Yahweh our God is One. Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6).
Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18).
Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10).
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God IS love…This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…God IS love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God is in him (I John 4)
Abba (Father), You are Love. I cannot love without You within me, You who so perfectly loved the whole world that You gave your only begotten Son to redeem us. Thank you for loving me even before I knew You. Lord Jesus, I give my heart to you. Fill me with the Spirit of the Holy One and empower me to love God and others. Amen.
A rework of Imitation of Messiah by Brother Thomas A. Kempis