What would you give to be a better person?
I am sure you are all busy today working on your New Year’s resolutions, promising to make something of your life beyond watching cat videos on Buzzfeed and knitting pussy hats for your girlfriends. Kidding! No, I’m not. I’m sure you are!
Maybe you are even promising yourself to follow MILO’s advice for how to get a girlfriend:
Focus on making yourself irresistible. Which means work out, become successful, be funny, look good, have the world at your fingertips…. You need to focus on making yourself the best possible version of yourself that you could be…. Strive for nothing but your own colossal success, and you will find people just desperate to be around you, of both genders.
Cue SJW outrage. You can see some of it even on MILO’s own YouTube channel.
“’Fall in love with yourself, then find someone like you’ — what more could we expect from Milo but the courtship advice of a textbook narcissist [?],” wrote one user.
I must have missed that memo. When, exactly, did being the best possible version of yourself become a bad thing?
Some would blame Jesus, particularly the advice he gave to the young rich man to sell all he had and give it to the poor:
“And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” — Matthew 19:24
Which sounds like Jesus thought it was a bad thing for people to be rich—or a colossal success.
But think about it. Does Jesus make it easy for anyone to enter into the kingdom? Remember what he said to the apostles when Peter tempted him to avoid his crucifixion:
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” — Matthew 16:24-25.
The poor in spirit, the meek, the mournful, the merciful, the peacemakers, the pure in heart, and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness might be blessed, but our Father in heaven expects us to be perfect. In Jesus’ words:
“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” — Matthew 5:48.
What would Jesus do? Back in the Middle Ages, Thomas of Kempen thought he knew. As he put it in his fifteenth-century best-seller The Imitation of Christ:
For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which maketh a man dear to God. I had rather feel contrition than be skillful in the definition thereof. If thou knewest the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should all this profit thee without the love and grace of God? Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, save to love God, and Him only to serve. That is the highest wisdom, to cast the whole world behind us, and to reach forward to the heavenly kingdom.
Not exactly the book that you would expect MILO to be reading. Or is it?
Think about what Thomas is saying. Knowing everything that the Bible and the philosophers—he means academics—would say is nothing without the love and grace of God. The highest wisdom is to love and serve God.
By now the SJWs should be really mad. Who does God think he is, telling people how to live?
Wait. I thought the SJWs were upset with MILO—and all the rest of us—for wanting to have a successful life. How did we get to the point where the SJWs are mad at God for suggesting that there should be some purpose in life other than making sure nobody is richer than anybody else—and calling conservatives names?
This is the paradox of Christianity that the Left cannot get its head around: serving God makes everything—and everyone—more joyous and beautiful. Not to mention rich.
Be mindful of the duties which thou hast undertaken, and set always before thee the remembrance of the Crucified. Truly oughtest thou to be ashamed as thou lookest upon the life of Jesus Christ, because thou hast not yet endeavoured to conform thyself more unto Him, though thou hast been a long time in the way of God. A religious man who exercises himself seriously and devoutly in the most holy life and passion of our Lord shall find there abundantly all things that are profitable and necessary for him, neither is there need that he shall seek anything better beyond Jesus. Oh! if Jesus crucified would come into our hearts, how quickly, and completely should we have learned all we need to know!
Everything depends on how we define success. For those on the left, success is—and can be—always and only material. To be rich in the terms of the left is to have many possessions. But to be rich—a colossal success—in the terms of the kingdom is rather different.
It is to serve, not be served. It is to make something of yourself by taking up your cross—your responsibilities—and conforming yourself as closely as possible to Christ, realizing in yourself the image and likeness of our Maker, the architect of creation.
It is realizing your responsibility to make something of yourself in order more perfectly to serve the One who made you, including imitating Him by making beautiful things—books, clothes, machines, ideas, food, babies, and cities—and thereby serving others. Give up your life—your selfishness, your envy of others, your victimhood—and you will win riches beyond your wildest dreams.
Want to be irresistible? What better model could you take than Christ, the most perfect human being who ever lived? Fall in love with Christ, and you will become the best possible you, the mirror image of God. MILO says so!
Rachel Fulton Brown teaches medieval European history at the University of Chicago. She reads symbolism for a living and seeks to put the joy back in faith. She blogs as Fencing Bear at Prayer.
Source: Thomas of Kempen, The Imitation of Christ, trans. William Benham
Feature Image via Crux Now
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