Yesterday I read an article by Tim Keller titled “The Revolutionary Christian Heart” that has preoccupied my mind ever since. Keller discusses the struggle of heart and mind in various times of history and worldviews. He states,
“For the Greeks and Romans, the great human struggle was between the mind (which they believed was resident in the soul) and the passions (which they believed were resident in the body.) If you wanted to achieve strength, courage, self-control, and wisdom, you learned to sublimate the emotions to the dictates of reason.
For modern people, the great struggle is almost the reverse. We believe our deepest feelings are ‘who we really are’ and we must not repress or deny them. The great human struggle is between the emotions and a repressive society that so often stands in the way of self-expression and realization.
The Bible teaches “none of the above.” It says the human struggle happens within a single entity — the human heart. The main human struggle is not between the heart and something else, but between forces that tear it in different directions. The great battle is deciding to what your heart’s greatest love, hope, and trust will be directed.”
This had led me to meditate on what it means to love Christ solely. I then opened Thomas a Kempis’ classic work, The Imitation of Christ. In it he writes,
“Jesus Christ must be loved alone with a special love for He alone, of all friends, is good and faithful. For Him and in Him you must love friends and foes alike, and pray to Him that all may know and love Him.
Never desire special praise or love, for that belongs to God alone Who has no equal. Never wish that anyone’s affection be centered in you, nor let yourself be taken up with the love of anyone, but let Jesus be in you and in every good man. Be pure and free within, unentangled with any creature.
You must bring to God a clean and open heart if you wish to attend and see how sweet the Lord is. Truly you will never attain this happiness unless His grace prepares you and draws you on so that you may forsake all things to be united with Him alone” (Book 2 The Interior Life, Chapter Eight)
This is a high call indeed and I have a long way to go.