I strongly recommend Thomas a Kempis’ book “Imitation of Christ” as a devotional book and I feel it should be in every serious Christian’s library. The only caution I have is to keep in mind that this book was written by a Roman Catholic monk and he refers to purgatory in some chapters. Also, in the fourth book concerning communion you will find references to the Papal teaching of transubstantiation.
Other than that, you need to have your holiness glasses on when you read – as in a number of places he refers to the Christian sinning as normal and you should read that as faults – not – sins for “whosoever is born of God sinneth not” (1Joh 3:8). In numerous books I have read, I have found it common for even deeply spiritual people to refer to the unlawful desires of their flesh and their many faults as sin. Regarding such, I like the definition that John Wesley uses.
The following is a quote from each chapter so you that you get an idea of the quality of writing. This is not a book to be read and then laid down, but a book that you can read and read again – and you should spend time meditating on the principles laid out in the book.
I hope you can get as much good out of this book as I have!
Quotes From Book Two — The Interior Life:
1. Meditation — When Christ was in the world, He was despised by men; in the hour of need He was forsaken by acquaintances and left by friends to the depths of scorn. He was willing to suffer and to be despised; do you dare to complain of anything?
2. Humility — Hence, you must not think that you have made any progress until you look upon yourself as inferior to all others.
3. Goodness and Peace in Man — Behold, how far you are from true charity and humility which does not know how to be angry with anyone, or to be indignant save only against self!
4. Purity of Mind and Unity of Purpose — If you aim at and seek after nothing but the pleasure of God and the welfare of your neighbor, you will enjoy freedom within.
5. Ourselves — If a man would weigh his own deeds fully and rightly, he would find little cause to pass severe judgment on others.
6. The Joy of a Good Conscience — Praise adds nothing to your holiness, nor does blame take anything from it. You are what you are, and you cannot be said to be better than you are in God’s sight.
7. Loving Jesus Above All Things — Give up all other love for His, since He wishes to be loved alone above all things.
8. The Intimate Friendship of Jesus — For what, without Jesus, can the world give you? Life without Him is a relentless hell, but living with Him is a sweet paradise.
9. Wanting No Share in Comfort — A man must fight long and bravely against himself before he learns to master himself fully and to direct all his affections toward God.
10. Appreciating God’s Grace — Resign yourself to patience rather than to comfort, to carrying your cross rather than to enjoyment.
11. Few Love the Cross of Jesus — Jesus has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross.
12. The Royal Road of the Holy Cross — In the cross is salvation, in the cross is life, in the cross is protection from enemies, in the cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the cross is strength of mind, in the cross is joy of spirit, in the cross is highest virtue, in the cross is perfect holiness.