Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 13

The Obedience of a Humble Subject, After the Example of Jesus Christ

The Voice of Christ

My Child, he who attempts to escape obeying withdraws himself from grace, and he that seeks to have things for his own particular use loses such as are common to all.

If a man does not submit himself freely and willingly to his superior, it is a sign that his flesh is not, as yet, perfectly obedient to him, but oftentimes rebels and murmurs.

Learn then to submit yourself readily to your superior if you desire to subdue your own flesh.

For the outward enemy is sooner overcome if the inward man be not laid waste.

There is no more troublesome or worse enemy to the soul than you yourself, if you are not in harmony with the Spirit.

You must, in good earnest, conceive a true contempt of yourself if you will prevail over flesh and blood.

Because you have yet too inordinate a love for yourself, therefore you are afraid to resign yourself wholly to the will of others.

But what matter is it if you, who are only dust and a mere nothing, submit yourself for God’s sake to man, when I, the Almighty and the Most High, who created all things out of nothing, have for your sake humbly subjected Myself to man?

I became the most humble and most abject of all, that you might learn to overcome your pride by My humility.

Learn, O dust, to obey: learn to humble yourself, you are but dirt and mire, and to cast yourself down under the feet of all men.

Learn to break your own will and to yield yourself up to all subjection.

Conceive an indignation against yourself; suffer not the swelling of pride to live in you, but make yourself so submissive and little, that all may trample on thee and tread you underfoot as the dirt of the streets.

What have you, vain man, to complain of?

What answer can you make, O wretched sinner, to those that reproach you, you that have so often offended God and many times deserved Hell?

But Mine eye has spared you because your soul was precious in My sight, that you might know My Love and might be always thankful for My favor and that you might give yourself continually to true subjection and humility, and bear with patience to be despised by all.

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