Humbled by an Ancient

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The other day I randomly stumbled upon this book The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis. After reading only the first page of it I felt like God gave me peace, rebuked me, sanctified me, and humiliated me all in the same moment. Since reading the first page, my wife and I have been going through it for our family devotional and it has been a huge blessing in my our lives. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter:

What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone.

This is the greatest wisdom — to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides.

You can find it here for free. If you want to buy it, I like this version of it the best because of its aesthetic quality . It just has that old book feel with these classic prints in it. If you have any other good devotional books you should share them.

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5 responses to “Humbled by an Ancient

  1. christopherlake

    I’m not sure if this one would strictly fall under the category of “devotional books,” but one work that is suffused with a devotional quality– and a rare holy beauty– is A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. In slightly more than one hundred pages, Tozer shows us the breathtaking “God-ness” of God, and he calls us to a radical life that truly puts God first– not just with our lips, but in our hearts and in our everyday lives. I pray that I will come to know and love God as deeply as Tozer did. I enourage everyone to read this very short, very powerful book.

  2. christopherlake

    encourage, that is 🙂

  3. That is a great quote, thanks for sharing it. It is important to realize that we need to act, not just know.

  4. I just stumbled upon your blog, but I too have received great peace, encouragement, humility, etc…through The Imitation of Christ. I bought it about four months ago and wouldn’t be without it. In fact, I told my wife the other day that it has become second only to the Scriptures for me. Happy reading (if happy’s the right word for it)! 🙂

  5. J-star,

    Hey bud, great post, thanks for the love. I want to do a fam-devo with you…sure I can wait till march.
    Here’s a devo list on my end:

    Spurgeon: Morning/Evening
    Augustine: Confessions
    Heidelberg Catechism
    AND…my Bahnsen/Frame head Teddy bear

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