In this lesson we explore one of the first steps in imitating Christ.Preview This Lesson
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Crucifixion, Apse in the Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano
Let’s read each paragraph of Chapter VII and break them down as we go.
Vain is the life of that man who putteth his trust in men or in any created Thing. Be not ashamed to be the servant of others for the love of Jesus Christ, and to be reckoned poor in this life. Rest not upon thyself, but build thy hope in God. Do what lieth in thy power, and God will help thy good intent. Trust not in thy learning, nor in the cleverness of any that lives, but rather trust in the favour of God, who resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.
“Be reckoned poor in this life.” This should sound familiar—the last time we discussed being poor, it was “blessed are the poor in spirit.” Here, a Kempis wants us to focus on the value of power. Each of us has a gift in some area: writing, sports, music, cooking, math—something. While we have the power to do these things, and do them well, we should never think that our power is something that we created for ourselves. Our power and our abilities are a gift from God.
2. Boast not thyself in thy riches if thou hast them, nor in thy friends if they be powerful, but in God, who giveth all things, and in addition to all things desireth to give even Himself. Be not lifted up because of thy strength or beauty of body, for with only a slight sickness it will fail and wither away. Be not vain of thy skilfulness or ability, lest thou displease God, from whom cometh every good gift which we have.
It is a fact that we will fail ourselves, and each other. People will do and say things that hurt us or make us angry. Our bodies get sick and break. We do things we know we shouldn’t. Sometimes we repeat our mistakes. Sometimes we feel guilty about it, and sometimes we don’t. If we only rely on ourselves or our friends and family for a happy life, we’ll never get what we want. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the good things we have in life, but we should never think that our happiness is something that we create by our own power. True and lasting happiness only comes from God, and being united to Him.
3. Count not thyself better than others, lest perchance thou appear worse in the sight of God, who knoweth what is in man. Be not proud of thy good works, for God's judgments are of another sort than the judgments of man, and what pleaseth man is ofttimes displeasing to Him. If thou hast any good, believe that others have more, and so ... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
7th Grade: Morality: Lesson 13: The "Imitation of Christ," Book I, Chapter VII is part of the following course(s):