Abode For Christ

"The kingdom of God is within you". Luke 17:21

Turn with your whole heart to the Lord, and forsake this wretched world, and your soul shall find rest. O faithful soul, make ready your heart for this Bridegroom, that He may come and dwell within you! For thus saith He: "If a man love me, he will keep my word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode within him."

Give therefore a place to Christ, and deny entrance to all others. When you have Christ, you are rich, and have enough. He Himself will be your provider and faithful steward in all things, so that you need not trust in men. For men soon change, and quickly fail; but "Christ abideth forever" and stands by us firmly unto the end. There is no great trust to be put in a frail and mortal man, even though he be profitable and dear unto us. They that today are with you, tomorrow may be against you; and often again they turn around like the wind.

Put all your trust in God, let Him be your fear and your love. He Himself shall answer for you, and will do what is best for you in all things. You have not a continuing city here, and wherever you are, you are a foreigner and pilgrim. Neither shall you ever have rest unless you be most inwardly united unto Christ. Why do you here look about since this is not the place of your rest? Heaven ought to be your dwelling place, and all earthly things are passing away, and you together with them. Beware you do not cleave to them, lest you be caught and perish. Let your meditation be on the Most High, and your prayer for mercy directed unto Christ without ceasing.

If you cannot contemplate high and heavenly things, rest yourself in the passion of Christ and dwell willingly in His sacred wounds. For if you flee devoutly to the wounds and precious marks of the Lord Jesus, you shall have great strengthening in tribulation. Neither will you care for the slights of men, and will easily bear words of detraction. Christ was also in the world, despised of men, and in greatest necessity, forsaken by His acquaintances and friends, in the midst of slanderers. Christ willed to suffer and be despised; and do you dare complain of the same? Christ had adversaries and backbiters; and do you wish to have all men your friends and benefactors? When shall your patience attain her crown if no adversity befall you? If you are willing to suffer nought that is against you, how will you be the friend of Christ? Be strong with Christ, and for Christ, if you desire to reign with Christ. If you had but once perfectly entered into the secrets of the Lord Jesus, and tasted a little of His ardent love, then you would care nothing for your own convenience, or inconvenience, but rather would rejoice at slander, for the love of Jesus.

A lover of Jesus and of the truth, and a true inward Christian, and one free from unruly affections, can freely turn himself unto God, and lift himself above himself in Spirit, and with profit remain at rest.

He to whom all things taste as they are, and not as they are said or esteemed to be, is truly wise, and taught rather of God than men. He who can live inwardly, and make small reckoning of things without, neither seeks places, nor waits for times, for performing of religious exercises. A spiritual man quickly recollects himself, because he never pours out himself wholly to outward things. He is not hindered by outward labor or business which may be necessary for the time, but as things happen, so he accommodates himself to them. He who is well ordered and disposed within himself cares not for the strange and perverse behavior of men. A man is hindered and distracted in proportion as he draws outward things to himself.

If it were well with you, and you were well purified from sin, all things would work out to you for good, and to your advancement in holiness. For this cause many things displease and often trouble you, because you are not yet perfectly dead unto yourself, nor separated from all earthly things. Nothing so defiles and entangles the heart of man as the impure love of creatures. If you refuse to be comforted from without, you will be able to contemplate the things of Heaven, and often rejoice in them.

Count not of great importance who is for you or against you. Let this be your aim, and care that God be with you in everything you do. Have a good conscience, and God shall defend you. For whom God wills to help, no man's perverseness shall be able to hurt. If you know how to be silent and suffer, without doubt you shall see the help of the Lord. He Himself knows the time and manner of delivering you, and therefore you ought to resign yourself to Him. It belongs to God to help, and to deliver from all confusion.

It is often very profitable to keep us humble, that others know and rebuke our faults. When a man humbles himself for his faults, then he easily pacifies others, and lightly satisfies those who are offended with him.

him. God protects the humble and delivers him. He loves and comforts the humble; to the humble man He inclines Himself; to the humble He gives great grace; and after his humiliation He raises him to glory. To the humble He reveals His secrets, and sweetly draws and invites him to Himself. The humble man, though he suffer, is yet perfectly in peace; for he rests on God and not on the world. Do not think that you have made any progress, unless you esteem yourself inferior to all.

Keep yourself first in peace, and then you shall be able to pacify others. A peaceable man does more good than he who is well learned. A passionate man turns even good into evil, and easily believes evil. A good, peaceable man turns all things to good. He who is well in peace is not suspicious of any. But he who is discontented and troubled is tossed with divers suspicions. He is neither quiet himself, nor suffers others to be quiet. He often speaks that which he ought not to speak; and omits that which it were more expedient for him to speak. He considers what others are bound to do, and neglects that which he is bound to do himself.

You know how to excuse and color your own deeds, but you are not willing to receive the excuses of others. It is more just that you should accuse yourself, and excuse your brother. If you will be borne with and find grace, bear also with others.

It is no great matter to associate with the good and gentle, for this is naturally pleasing to all, and everyone willingly enjoys peace, and loves those best who agree with him. But to be able to live peaceably with hard, and perverse, or undisciplined persons, is a great grace, and an exceedingly commendable and manly deed.

Some there are who keep themselves in peace, and are in peace also with others. And there are some who neither are in peace themselves, nor leave others in peace. They are troublesome to others, but always more troublesome to themselves. And there are some who keep themselves in peace, and study to bring others unto peace.

Nevertheless, our whole peace in this miserable life consists rather in humble sufferance than in not feeling adversities. Whosoever knows best how to suffer will keep the greatest peace. That man is conqueror of himself, and lord of the world, the friend of Christ, and heir of Heaven.

By two wings a man is lifted up from things earthly; namely, by simplicity and purity. Simplicity ought to be in our intention; purity our affection. Simplicity tends towards God; purity apprehends and tastes Him.

No good action will hinder you, if you be inwardly free from inordinate affection. If you intend and seek nothing else but the will of God and the good of your neighbor, you shall thoroughly enjoy inward liberty.

If your heart were right, then every creature would be a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine. There is no creature so small and mean, that it does not set forth the goodness of God. If you were inwardly good and pure, then you would be able to see and understand all things well without hindrance. A pure heart penetrates Heaven and Hell.

Such as everyone is inwardly, so he judges outwardly. If there is joy in the world, surely a man of pure heart possesses it. And if there be anywhere tribulation and affliction, an evil conscience best knows it.

As iron put into the fire loses its rust, and becomes altogether white and glowing, so he who wholly turns himself unto God, puts off all slothfulness and is transformed into a new man. When a man begins to grow lukewarm, then he is afraid of small labor, and willingly receives outward comfort. But when he once begins to overcome himself perfect-ly, and to walk manfully in the way of God, then he esteems those things less, which before were grievous unto him.

Let nothing be great unto you, nothing high, nothing pleasing, nothing acceptable, except it be simply God, or comes of God. Esteem all comfort vain, which comes to you from any creature. A soul that loves God is not impress-ed with anything inferior unto God. God alone is everlasting, and of infinite greatness, filling all things, the soul's solace, and the true joy of the heart.

(Excerpt from the classic 'The Imitation of Christ' by Thomas a Kempis)