The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
Book 1 -Admonitions Profitable for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 7 Of fleeing from vain hope and pride
It is so easy to do what comes natural to us – look out for #1. There are may reasons we think we should be treated as #1. Often we think we have more power or influence, have more money, strength, knowledge, beauty or skill than someone else. It is a very scary think to esteem ourselves based on the gifts God, our Creator and Sustainer, has bestowed upon us. All of the earthly things that make us feel lofty are going to fade.
Hope in God – the one who gives every good gift. We are created beings – we didn’t make ourselves. Seriously, right? But, we act like it. At least I do. I prance around as if I own and deserve the next breath and the next one and the next one. When, if fact, each is a gracious gift from God.
Who am I to judge another? God knows the heart of each one. How much better to think of others more than yourself and have God pleased with you than to think of yourself first and have God not pleased. Kempis sums it up well. “It is no harm to thee if thou place thyself below all others; but it is great harm if thou place thyself above even one. Peace is ever with the humble man, but in the heart of the proud there is envy and continual wrath.” Crazy, isn’t it? I need to put others first and I will find peace. Doing what comes natural and looking out for #1 leads to envy and continual wrath.
Confession: this is totally appropriate for me right now– I’ve been too focused on what-are-others-saying? about MY blog, as opposed to reading and commenting on other blogs, being outward focused. How stealthy is sin! Ouch!
I know what you mean. It’s so hard living in a fallen world sometimes – heaven is going to be so awesome!! I often ponder how all sins ultimately resort back to pride – the sin that caused the enemy to fall.