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Keys to the Deeper Life by A.W. Tozer
If Paul Were Preaching Today
With the words “That I may know him” Paul answered the whining claims of the flesh and raced on toward perfection. All gain he counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord, and if to know Him better meant suffering or even death it was all one to Paul. To him conformity to Christ was cheap at any price. He panted after God as the heart pants after the waterbrook, and calm reason had little to do with the way he felt.
Indeed a score of cautions and ignoble excuses might have been advanced to slow him down, and we have heard them all. “Watch out for your health,” a prudent friend warns. “There is danger that you become mentally unbalanced,” says another. “You’ll get a reputation for being an extremist,” cries a third, and a sober Bible teacher with more theology than thirst hurries to assure him that there is nothing more to seek. “You are accepted in the beloved,” he says, “and blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. What more do you want? You have only to believe and to wait for the day of His triumph.”
So Paul would be exhorted if he lived among us today, for so in substance have I heard the holy aspirations of the saints damped down and smothered as they leaped up to meet God in an increasing degree of intimacy. But knowing Paul as we do, it is safe to assume that he would ignore this low counsel of expediency and press onward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. And we do well to follow him.
When the apostle cries “That I may know him,” he uses the word know not in its intellectual but in its experiential sense. We must look for the meaning-not to the mind but to the heart. Theological knowledge is knowledge about God. While this is indispensable it is not sufficient. It bears the same relation to man’s spiritual need as a well does to the need of his physical body. It is not the rock-lined pit for which the dusty traveler longs, but the sweet, cool water that flows up from it. It is not intellectual knowledge about God that quenches man’s ancient heart-thirst, but the very Person and Presence of God Himself. These come to us through Christian doctrine, but they are more than doctrine. Christian truth is designed to lead us to God, not to serve as a substitute for God.
… What the deeper life advocates are telling us is that we should press on to enjoy in personal inward experience the exalted privileges that are ours in Christ Jesus; that we should insist upon tasting the sweetness of internal worship in spirit as well as in truth; that to reach this ideal we should if necessary push beyond our contented brethren and bring upon ourselves whatever opposition may follow as a result.
… Also in this writing Tozer stated, “I believe that the imperative need of the day is not simply revival, but a radical reformation that will go to the root of our moral and spiritual maladies and deal with causes rather than with consequences, with the disease rather than with symptoms… Most evangelicals no longer initiate; they imitate, and the world is their model… We are busy these days proving to the world that they can have all the benefits of the Gospel without any of the inconvenience to their customary way of life. It’s ‘all this, and heaven too.’ … To beg for a flood of blessing to come upon a backslidden and disobedient Church is to waste time and effort… God is not interested in increased church attendance unless those who attend amend their ways and begin to live holy lives.”
…We must return to New Testament Christianity, not in creed only but in complete manner of life as well. Separation, obedience, humility, simplicity, gravity, self-control, modesty, cross-bearing; these all must again be made a living part of the total Christian concept and be carried out in everyday conduct. We must cleanse the temple of the hucksters and the money changers and come fully under the authority of our risen Lord once more. And this applies to this writer and to this magazine as well as to everyone that names the name of Jesus. Then we can pray with confidence and expect true revival to follow.
This was gleaned from an article from the Series in Christian Life published by Zondervan Publishing
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