Chapter 48

On Control of the Heart

CHRIST. My son, you have still many things to learn.

THE DISCIPLE. What are these, Lord?

CHRIST. How you must frame your desires in accordance with My good pleasure, (Matt. 6:10) and be not a lover of self, but an earnest follower of My will. Desires often inflame you and drive you violently onwards; but consider whether it is My honor or self-interest that moves you most. If I Myself be the cause, you will be content with whatever I shall determine; but if self-interest is your hidden motive, this will be a hindrance and burden to you.

Take care, therefore, not to rely overmuch on any preconceived desire without asking My counsel, lest you regret or become displeased at what first pleased you, and for which you were eager. For not every feeling that seems good is at once to be acted upon, nor is every feeling that runs contrary to your inclinations to be immediately rejected. It is sometimes necessary to restrain even your good intentions and endeavors, lest by over-eagerness your mind becomes distracted; lest by lack of discipline you cause offence to others; or lest you suddenly become confused and upset by the opposition of others.

You must bravely and forcibly resist your sensual appetite, taking no account of what the body likes or dislikes, and struggle to subdue the unwilling flesh to the spirit. (I Cor. 9:27) For it must be corrected and brought under control, until it is obedient in everything. It must learn to be content with little, to take pleasure in simple things, and not to complain at any hardship.

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