The way is not the way of fanatical self-denial.
As if we were to place provisos on God's Love.
"'For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, "He has a demon"; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard. a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!"'" Luke 7:33,34 (NRSV)
But John the Baptist was not the Messiah.
The Messiah came eating and drinking.
In the same way the Bhagavad-Gita says:
"Great is the yogi who seeks to be with God,
Greater than those who mortify the body,
Greater than the learned,
Greater than the doers of good works."
"Give me your whole heart,
Love and adore me,
Worship me always,
Bow to me only,
And you shall find me."
Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'" Matthew 22:37 (NRSV)
So do not listen to those who tell you that God requires extreme self-denial.
The way is the Way of the Heart.
"The Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 (NRSV)
And "perfect love casts out fear." 1 John 4:18 (NRSV)
[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.]
Photo Credit: infiniteys Flickr via Compfight cc