My Eyes Are Dry

December 1, 2010 at 10:59 am | Posted in A. W. Tozer, Quotes | Leave a comment
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My Eyes Are Dry

Words and Music by Keith Green

My eyes are dry, my faith is old.

My heart is hard, my prayers are cold.

And I know how I ought to be,

Alive to You and dead to me.

Oh, what can be done for an old heart like mine?

Soften it up with oil and wine.

 The oil is You, Your Spirit of love.

Please wash me anew in the wine of Your blood.

_____________________________________________  

“The church has lost her testimony. She no longer has anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an option and not meant to sound bigoted…… Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by culture, actually stands in sharp opposition to it.”

– A. W.  Tozer

 ___________________________________

“The glorious charity of the present day is such, that it believes lies to be as good as truth; and lies and truth have met together and kissed each other; and he that telleth truth is called a bigot, and truth has ceased to be honourable in the world.”

– Charles Spurgeon

____________________ 

The song posted above is one of my favorite songs. I was a young Christian when Keith Green died in a plane crash. I really liked his music. It made you think and search your heart, mind and soul. It’s funny the things you remember and the things you don’t as you get older. I remember being moved to tears as I sat alone eating lunch before going to work while I listened to Green’s album “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt.” There was a song about Romans 7 and I knew I was not the sold out, fully committed Christian that I should be. I asked God for His forgiveness and for the power and filling of the Holy Spirit in my life. Now I knew I was saved and growing and I was a young Christian, but I also knew I was holding back from God.

God graciously taught me about His sanctifying power. He has used me and forgiven me many more times since then. What about you? Are your eyes dry? Is your heart cold? Are you saved but holding back from God? Do you believe the Church is losing its testimony of purity and truth? Are you a part of that? Only you and God know the answer to those questions. Ask Him to forgive you and fill you and renew a right spirit within you and He will.

The quotes are by two of my favorite authors. Both dead and in the presence of the Lord they loved and served. Both of them were great preachers and authors. Both loved the Church and served the Church. Both believed in prayer and the power of God. Both believed in evangelism and making disciples. They are from different eras of time. One would be called an Arminian and the other a Calvinist. Yet they still have something to say that is relevant today.

Take the time to learn and grow and apply that knowledge to daily living. Make an effort to make a difference for the Kingdom of God and His glory. Your labor for the Lord will not go unrewarded.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Psalm 138:1-8

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Choices Reveal – and Make – Character

October 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Insight from A. W. Tozer

Into nine words, having altogether but eleven syllables, Luke packs a world of universal truth: “Being let go, they went to their own company” (Acts 4:23).

Every normal man has a “company,” however small, where he feels at home and to which he will return when he is tired of being alone.

The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will.

The apostles went to jail, and that is not too revealing because they went there against their will; but when they got out of jail and could go where they would they immediately went to the praying company. From this we learn a great deal about them. The choices of life, not the compulsions, reveal character………………

There is always danger that a free nation may imperil its freedom by a series of small choices destructive of that freedom. The liberty the fathers won in blood the sons may toss away in prodigality and debilitating pleasures. Any nation which for an extended period puts pleasure before liberty is likely to lose the liberty it misused……………

The Christian gospel is a message of freedom through grace and we must stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. But what shall we do with our freedom? The Apostle Paul grieved that some of the believers of his day took advantage of their freedom and indulged the flesh in the name of Christian liberty. They threw off discipline, scorned obedience and made gods of their own bellies. It is not difficult to decide which company such as these belonged to. They revealed it by the company they kept.

Our choices reveal what kind of persons we are, but there is another side to the coin. We may by our choices also determine what kind of persons we will become. We humans are not only in a state of being, we are in a state of becoming; we are on a slow spiral moving gradually up or down. Here we move not singly but in companies, and we are drawn to these companies by the attraction of similarity.

I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?

The answer to these questions may tell us more about ourselves than we can comfortably accept. But we had better face up to things. We haven’t too much time at the most. – Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pages 158-161. Christian Publications, Inc. 1966.

A Do-It-Yourself Education Better Than None

September 29, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Insight from A. W. Tozer

I have been slowly reading through Tozer’s Man: The Dwelling Place of God as a part of my devotional reading/studying. I haven’t used every chapter that I have read. I find that Tozer usually challenges my thinking. Usually the posts from my Tozer readings are on Wednesdays. Right now I am considering which of his books to read and post from next. If you would like to listen to him preach go to: www.sermonindex.net. They have a great collection of sermons and it would be well worth the time to look them over and listen to a few.

Tozer has much to say about this subject and took to heart lifelong learning. Remember that this is only an excerpt from his chapter. But I do hope you are challenged to learn.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13

This is written for those Christians who may have missed a formal education. Let no one despair. A do-it-yourself education is better than none. It can be acquired by the proper use of our mental powers.

Our intellectual activities in the order of their importance may be graded this way: first, cogitation; second, observation; third, reading………………..

I believe that pure thinking will do more to educate a man than any other activity he can engage in. To afford sympathetic entertainment to abstract ideas, to let one idea beget another, and that another, till the mind teems with them; to compare one idea with others, to weigh, to consider, evaluate, approve, reject, correct, refine; to join thought with thought like an architect till a noble edifice has been created within the mind; to travel back in imagination to the beginning of the creation and then to leap swiftly forward to the end of time; to bound upward through illimitable space and downward into the nucleus of an atom; and all this without so much as moving from our chair or opening the eyes – this is to soar above all the lower creation and to come near to the angels of God.

Of all earth’s creatures only man can think in this way. And while thinking is the mightiest act a man can perform, perhaps for the very reason that it is the mightiest, it is the one act he likes the least and avoids the most………………………….

After cogitation comes observation (in order of importance, not in order of time). Observation is, of course, simply a method of obtaining information. Without information the most powerful mind can produce nothing worthwhile………………………

While it is impossible to live even a short time without learning something, unfortunately it is possible to live a long time and not learn very much. Observation is a powerful tool, but its usefulness depends upon how well we use it……………

Lastly, reading. To think without a proper amount of good reading is to limit our thinking to our own tiny plot of ground. The crop cannot be large. To observe only and neglect reading is to deny ourselves the immense value of other people’s observations; and since the better books are written by trained observers the loss is sure to be enormous. Extensive reading without the discipline of practical observation will lead to bookishness and artificiality. Reading and observing without a great deal of meditating will fill the mind with learned lumber that will always remain alien to us. Knowledge to be our own must be digested by thinking. – from pages 144-147, Christian Publications, Inc. Copyright 1966.

The Lordship of the Man Jesus Is Basic

September 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Insight from A. W. Tozer

We are under constant temptation these days to substitute another Christ for the Christ of the New Testament. The whole drift of modern religion is toward such a substitution.

To avoid this we must hold steadfastly to the concept of Christ as set forth so clearly and plainly in the Scriptures of truth. Though an angel from heaven should preach anything less than the Christ of the apostles let him be forthrightly and fearlessly rejected.

The mighty, revolutionary message of the Early Church was that a man named Jesus who had been crucified was now raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Less than three hundred years after Pentecost the hard-pressed defenders of the faith drew up a manifesto condensing those teachings of the New Testament having to do with the nature of Christ. This manifesto declares that Christ is “God of the substance of His Father, begotten before all ages: Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world: perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting: Equal to His Father, as touching God His Godhead: less than the Father, as touching His manhood. Who, although He be God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by the taking of the manhood into God. One altogether, not by the confusion of substance, but by the unity of Person. For as reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ.”…..

The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us……………….

But more than this, He is heir of all things, Lord of all world, head of the church and the first-born of the new creation. He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel and the high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell and stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on Him in truth…………………….

Salvation comes not by “accepting the finished work” or “deciding for Christ.” It comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as His own and paid it, took our sins and died under them and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ, and nothing else will do…………– Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, by A. W. Tozer, pages 140-144. Christian Publications, Inc. 1966.

    Rom 8:12-17 (NIV)

(12)Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. (13)For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (14)because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (15)For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (16)The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (17)Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

The Church Cannot Die

September 15, 2010 at 11:49 am | Posted in A. W. Tozer | 1 Comment
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Insight from A. W. Tozer

There is a notion abroad that Christianity is on its last legs, or possibly already dead and just too weak to lie down.

This is confidently believed in Communist countries, and while spokesmen for the West are too polite to say so, one can hardly escape the feeling that they too believe the demise of the church to be a certain if embarrassing fact, the chief proof of her death being her failure to provide leadership for the world just when it needs it most.

Let me employ a pair of mixed and battered but still useful clichés and say that those who have come to bury the faith of our fathers have reckoned without the host. Just as Jesus Christ was once buried away with the full expectation that He had been gotten rid of, so His church has been laid to rest times without number; and as He disconcerted His enemies by rising from the dead so the church has confounded hers by springing again to vigorous life after all the obsequies had been performed over her coffin and the crocodile tears had been shed at her grave…………………………………..

The world is constantly lashing the church because she has no solution for the problems of society, and the religious leaders who do not know the score wince under the lash. Every once in a while some churchman in an acute attack of conscience does penance in public for Christianity’s failure to furnish bold leadership for the world in this time of crisis. “We have sinned,” cries the frustrated prophet. “The world looked to us for help and we have failed it.”

Well, I am all for repentance if it is genuine, and I think the church has failed, not by neglecting to provide leadership but by living too much like the world. That, however, is not what the muddled churchman means when he bares his soul in public. Rather, he erroneously assumes that the church of God has been left on earth to minister the good hope and cheer to the world in such quantities that it can ignore God, reject Christ, glorify fallen human flesh and pursue its selfish ends in peace. The world wants the church to add a dainty spiritual touch it its carnal schemes, and to be there to help it to its feet and put it to bed when it comes home drunk with fleshly pleasures……………………………

We are in real need of a reformation that will lead to revival among the churches, but the church is not dead, neither is it dying. The Church cannot die.

A local church can die. This happens when all the old saints in a given place fall asleep and no young saints arise to take their place. Sometimes under these circumstances the congregation ceases to be a church, or there is no congregation left and the doors of the chapel are nailed shut. But such a condition, however deplorable, should not discourage us. The true Church is the repository of the life of God among men, and if in one place the frail vessels fail, that life will break out somewhere else. Of this we may be sure. – Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pages 137-140. Christian Publications, Inc. 1966.

This is just an excerpt from this chapter of Tozer’s book. If you are unfamiliar with the writing of A. W. Tozer this would be a good book to read. Tozer was a prolific writer and most of the chapters in this book first appeard as editorials or articles in The Alliance Witness, which he edited for thirteen years.

Religious Boredom

September 8, 2010 at 9:39 am | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Insight from A. W. Tozer

That there is something gravely wrong with evangelical Christianity today is not likely to be denied by any serious-minded person acquainted with the facts. Just what is wrong is not so easy to determine.

In examining the situation myself I find nature and reason in conflict within me, for I tend by temperament to want to settle everything with a sweep of the pen. But reason advises caution; nothing is that simple, and we must be careful to distinguish cause from effect. As every doctor knows there is a wide difference between the disease and the symptoms; and ever Christian knows that there is a big difference between cause and effect in the sphere of religion…………

One mark of the low state of affairs among us is religious boredom. Whether this is a thing in itself or merely a symptom of the thing, I do not know for sure, though I suspect that it is the latter. And that it is found to some degree almost everywhere among Christians is too evident to be denied.

Boredom is, of course, a state of mind resulting from trying to maintain an interest in something that holds no trace of interest for us…………. Boredom comes when a man must try to hear with relish what for want of relish he hardly hears at all…………………

When Moses tarried in the mount, Israel became bored with the faith that sees the invisible and clamored for a god they could see and touch. And they displayed a great deal more enthusiasm for the golden calf than they did over the Lord God of Abraham…………….

Those Christians who belong to the evangelical wing of the church…….. have over the last half-century shown an increasing impatience with things invisible and eternal and have demanded and got a host of things visible and temporal to satisfy their fleshly appetites. Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints.

It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf……..

Any objection to the carryings on of our present golden-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant, “But we are winning them!” And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To despising of the world’s treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course the answer to all these questions is no.

We are paying a frightful price for our religious boredom. And that at the moment of the world’s mortal peril. – Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pages 133-136. Christian Publications, Inc. 1966.

What Men Live By

September 1, 2010 at 11:49 am | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Insight from A. W. Tozer

Human life has its central core where lie the things men live by. These things are constant. They change not from age to age, but are the same among all races throughout the world always.

Life also has its marginal zones where lie the things that are relatively unimportant. These change from generation to generation and vary from people to people.

It is at the central core that men are one, and it is on the marginal zones that they differ from each other. Yet the marginal thins divide the peoples of the world radically and seriously. Most of the enmities of the earth have arisen from differences that did not matter basically; but because the people could not distinguish things men live by from things they live with these enmities arose between them, and often le dot persecutions, murders and bloody wars.

Were men everywhere to ignore the things that matter little or not at all and give serious attention to the few really important things, most of the walls that divided men would be thrown down at once and a world of endless sufferings ended.

What does matter after all? What are the great facts that are good all the time everywhere among all men? What are the axiomatic truths upon which all human life may rest with confidence? Fortunately they are not many. Here are the chief ones:

1.      Only God is great

2.      Only God is wise

3.      Apart from God nothing matters

4.      Only what we do in God will remain to us at last

5.      Human sin is real

6.      With God there is forgiveness

7.      Only what God protects is safe

–         Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, by A. W. Tozer. Christian Publications, Inc. 1966. Pages 115-118.

You will need to get a copy of this book to fill in what I left out of this excerpt. Do those seven chief facts mean anything to us as Christians today? Lasting transformational change will not come from starting a new political action group no matter how many Christians join with non-Christians to do it. There was way too much religion mixed with politics for me. But I will write more on that later. For now think about what Tozer has to say and remember it was written sometime in the 1950’s.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Matthew 7:15-29

In Praise of Dogmatism

August 18, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Recently while I was reading a blog there was a title that was a link to another blog. The title was interesting and I clicked on it and was taken to another bloggers article. The second author fancies himself a creative pastor/author and based on the comments he has quite the following of supporters. He was writing about the problem of entertainment in our modern churches and the people responding seemed to think he was onto to something.

The problem from my perspective was that Tozer wrote and preached about that issue back in the 1940’s and 1950’s. There is a site (www.sermonindex.net) that has many of Tozer’s sermons that anyone can listen to. There really is nothing new under the sun, unfortunately I think there has arisen a generation that does not know about Tozer or his work. I hope to help change that by these excerpts from his writings. I will probably go back to the site and encourage the brother to look into the writings of Tozer.

Oh yea, well before Tozer someone else had something to say about culture and forms of worship. The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Timothy 4:1). But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Psalm 138:1-3

In Praise of Dogmatism – Insight from A. W. Tozer

It is vital to any understanding of ourselves and our fellowmen that we believe what is written in the Scriptures about human society, that it is fallen, alienated from God and in rebellion against His laws.

In these days of togetherness when all men would brothers be…. even the true Christian is hard put to it to believe what God has spoken about men and their relation to each other and to God; for what He has spoken is never complimentary to men.

There is plenty of good news in the Bible, but there is never any flattery or back scratching. Seen one way, the bible is a book of doom. It condemns all men as sinners and declares that the soul that sinneth shall die. Always it pronounces sentence against society before it offers mercy; and if we will not own the validity of the sentence we cannot admit the need for mercy.

The coming of Jesus Christ to the world has been so sentimentalized that it means now something utterly alien to the Biblical teaching concerning it. Soft human pity has been substituted for God’s mercy in the minds of millions, a pity that has long ago degenerated into self-pity. The blame for man’s condition has been shifted to God, and Christ’s dying for the world has been twisted into an act of penance on God’s part. ………….

According to this philosophy men are never really to blame for anything, the exception being the man who insists that men are indeed to blame for something. In this dim world of pious sentiment all religions are equal and any man who insists that salvation is by Jesus Christ alone is a bigot and boor.

………. we discuss religion on television and in the press as a kind of game, much as we discuss art and philosophy, accepting as one of the ground rules of the game that there is no final test of truth and that the best religion is a composite of the best in all religions. So we have truth by majority vote and thus saith the Lord by common consent.

One characteristic of this sort of thing is its timidity. That religion may be very precious to some persons is admitted, but never important enough to cause division or risk hurting anyone’s feelings. In all our discussions there must never be any trace of intolerance; but we obviously forget that the most fervent devotees of tolerance are invariably intolerant of everyone who speaks about God with certainty. And there must be no bigotry, which is the name given to spiritual assurance by those who do not enjoy it.

The desire to please may be commendable enough under certain circumstance, but when pleasing men means displeasing God it is an unqualified evil and should have no place in the Christian’s heart. To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men. This is such a common truth that one hesitates to mention it, yet it appears to have been overlooked by the majority of Christians today…………

…………… The Christian will not disagree merely to be different, but wherever the moral standards and religious views of society differ from the teachings of Christ he will disagree flatly. He will not admit the validity of human opinion when the Word of God is clear. Some things are not debatable; there is no other side to them. There is only God’s side.

When men believe God they speak boldly. When they doubt they confer. Much current religious talk is but uncertainty rationalizing itself; and this they call “engaging in the contemporary dialogue.” It is impossible to imagine Moses or Elijah so occupied.

All great Christian leaders have been dogmatic. To such men two plus two made four. Anyone who insisted upon denying it or suspending judgment upon it was summarily dismissed as frivolous. They were only interested in a meeting of minds if the minds agreed to meet on holy ground. We could use some gentle dogmatists these days. – Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pages 112-115. Christian Publications, Inc. 1966.

Self-deception and How to Avoid It

August 4, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Insight from A. W. Tozer

Of all forms of deception self-deception is the most deadly, and of all deceived persons the self-deceived are the least likely to discover the fraud.

The reason for this is simple. When a man is deceived by another he is deceived against his will. He is contending against an adversary and is temporarily the victim of the other’s guile. Since he expects his foe to take advantage of him he is watchful and quick to suspect trickery……..

With the self-deceived it is quite different. He is his own enemy and is working a fraud upon himself. He wants to believe the lie and is psychologically conditioned to do so. He does not resist the deceit but collaborates with it against himself. There is no struggle, because the victim surrenders before the fight begins. He enjoys being deceived.

The fallen heart is by nature idolatrous. There appears to be no limit to which some of us will go to save our idol, while at the same time telling ourselves eagerly that we are trusting in Christ alone……………….

Prayer is usually recommended as the panacea for all ills and the key to open every prison door, and it would indeed be a difficult to overstate the advantages and privilege of Spirit-inspired prayer. But we must not forget that unless we are wise and watchful prayer itself may become a source of self-deception………………

To escape self-deception the praying man must come out clean and honest. He cannot hide in the cross while concealing in his bosom the golden wedge and the goodly Babylonish garment. Grace will save a man but it will not save him and his idol. The blood of Christ will shield the penitent sinner alone, but never the sinner and his idol. Faith will justify the sinner, but it will never justify the sinner and his sin.

No amount of pleading will make evil good or wrong right. A man may engage in a great deal of humble talk before God and get no response because unknown to himself he is using prayer to disguise disobedience. He may lie for hours in sackcloth and ashes with no higher motive than to try to persuade God to come over on his side so he can have his own way. He may grovel before God in a welter of self-accusation, refuse to give up his secret sin and be rejected for his pains. It can happen.

How can we remain free from self-deception? The answer sounds old-fashioned and dull but here it is: Mean what you say and never say what you do not mean, either to God or man. Think candid thoughts and act forthrightly always, whatever the consequence. To do this will bring the cross into your life and keep you dead to self and to public opinion. And it may get you into trouble sometimes, too. But a guileless mind is a great treasure; it is worth any price. – Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, published in 1966.

Boasting or Belittling

July 29, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Insight from A. W. Tozer

We all know how painful it is to be forced to listen to a confirmed boaster sound off on his favorite topic – himself. To be the captive of such a man even for a short time tries our patience to the utmost and puts a heavy strain upon our Christian charity.

Boasting is particularly offensive when it is heard among the children of God, the one place above all others where it should never be found. Yet it is quite common among Christians, though disguised somewhat by the use of the stock expression, “I say this to the glory of God.”

Another habit not quite so odious is belittling ourselves. This might seem to be the exact opposite of boasting, but actually it is the same old sin traveling under a nom de plume. It is simply egoism trying to act spiritual. It is impatient Saul hastily offering an unacceptable sacrifice to the Lord.

Self-derogation is bad for the reason that self must be there to derogate. Self, whether swaggering or groveling, can never be anything but hateful to God.

Boasting is an evidence that we are pleased with self; belittling, that we are disappointed in it. Either way we reveal that we have a high opinion of ourselves.

The victorious Christian neither exalts nor downgrades himself. His interests have shifted from self to Christ. What he is or is not no longer concerns him. He believes that he has been crucified with Christ and he is not willing either to praise or deprecate such a man.

Yet the knowledge that he has been crucified is only half the victory. “Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth I me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Christ is now where the man’s ego was formerly. The man is now Christ-centered instead of self-centered, and he forgets himself in his delighted preoccupation with Christ.

Where we have failed is in the practical application of the teaching concerning the crucified life. Too many have been content to be armchair Christians, satisfied with the theology of the cross. Plainly Christ never intended that we should rest in a mere theory of self-denial. His teaching identified His disciples with Himself so intimately that they would have had to be extremely dull not to have understood that they were expected to experience very much the same pain and loss as He Himself did.

The healthy soul is the victorious soul and victory never comes while self is permitted to remain unjudged and uncrucified. While we boast or belittle we may be perfectly sure that the cross has not yet done its work within us. Faith and obedience will bring the cross into the life and cure both habits. – Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pages 70-73. Published by Christian Publications, Inc. in 1966. Most of the chapters appeared as editorials or articles in The Alliance Witness.

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