Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Believe Better Things of Others

I started reading through The Imitation of Christ again recently and the other night I happened upon the chapter entitled, "Avoiding Vain Hope and Self-Conceit," which fit very well with my last post on Total Depravity and boastfulness. I present it here for your edification:

A fool is he who puts his trust in men or created things. Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to be reckoned as a poor man in this world.

Do not rely on yourself, but place your trust in God. Do whatever lies in your power and God will assist your good intentions. Trust neither in your own knowledge nor in the cleverness of any human being; rather, trust in God's grace, for it is He who supports the humble and humbles the overconfident.

Glory neither in wealth, if you have any, nor in friends, of they are powerful, but boast in God, the giver of all good things, who desires, above all, to bestow Himself on you.

Do not boast about your good looks nor your body's strength, which a slight illness can mar and disfigure. Do not take pride in your skills and talents lest you offend God, to whom you owe these very gifts and endowments.

Do not esteem yourself as someone better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted for worse in the eyes of God, who knows what is in men's hearts. Take no pride in your good accomplishments for God judges differently than men and it often happens that what is pleasing to men is actually displeasing to God.

If you see anything good in yourself, believe still better things of others and you will, then, preserve humility. It will do you no harm if you account yourself as worst of all; but it will very much harm you to think that you are better than everyone else. Peace dwells in a humble heart, while in the heart of a proud man there is envy and resentment.

-Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) from The Imitation of Christ

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