By PAT HUTCHENS, A rework of Imitation of Messiah by Thomas A. Kempis—
God speaks: Keep this in mind. Love of self is more harmful than love for anything else in the world. To the degree you center your love on self, to that degree you are hindered and everything cleaves to you. Love for self causes the world to stick to you like glue. If your love of Me is pure, sincere and consistent, nothing will captivate you or hold sway over you for long. Nothing!
2. It is no wonder that you do not fully commit yourself to me, when there are so many things that you still crave and long for in this life. So, start by committing to this: I will not covet anything I do not have, or that belongs to someone else (the 10th Commandment). Don’t waste your time on fantasy of forbidden things. If you have them, they would hurt you or rob you of your inward liberty. What’s more, you would soon despise them for not filling up your empty heart. Instead, give thanks for what you have; discipline your thought life and bring your mind and thoughts captive to My purpose in your life.
3. Why are you so consumed with things? Why do you wear yourself out with cares of this world? Stand by Me, and you will suffer no loss. Seek after one thing or another, run about here and there seeking your own advantage or your own pleasure and you will never find them. You will never have peace. You will never have a quiet heart. You will never be free from care. Why? Because you will never say, “Now I have enough.” In everything you strive for, there will be something lacking. Everywhere you go, something or someone will oppose you. You will be like a man who draws water with a bucket that has a hole in it.
4. It is not in getting, in storing up material things, in seeking fame and fortune, that you find peace and satisfaction. That is the world’s way. That is the world’s wisdom. The truth is – it is in giving that you receive. Here is a better way. Learn to disregard the rewards of the world. Set your heart to love Me with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. “Do not love the world, not anything that is in the world. In fact, if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God will abide forever” (I John 2:15-17).
5. Cut the world out by the root from your heart, and that includes lust for money, riches, fame and honors. All these things quickly pass away. Besides, it doesn’t matter where you go and what honors you receive if the spirit of devotion for God is lacking. Begin to seek God first where you are right now. The grass is never greener somewhere else, because you take your self will and self seeking heart with you to the new place. Listen to what I am telling you! If you change your circumstances for the wrong reasons, you will find in the new place a double dose of what you were running from.
PRAYER: My Lord and my God, I hear what you are saying. Many lusts and desires remain in my heart. Self and the world stain my motives. I humbly turn back to You, my Lord. I yield to Your will. Fill my empty heart with Your virtues so I may be strengthened inwardly, and freed from the cares and troubles of the world. Protect me from being drawn away by the world. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I draw near to you my God – draw near to me.
A rework of Imitation of Messiah by Brother Thomas A. Kempis