Shirley's Corner - How To Make Spiritual Progress2
Father has used A.W. Tozer more than any other teacher to impact my life. I find myself drawn to his writings year after year and always come away both uplifted and challenged. This week I want to share briefly from his book, "Man, the Dwelling Place of God". His words are so much more powerful than mine..and in tandem with Paul's epistle to the Philippians, they have pierced my heart.
Tozer writes,..."should someone feel a desire to make definite progress in the life of Christ, what can he do to get on with it? Here are a few suggestions:
1-Strive to get beyond mere pensive longing. Set your face like a flint and begin to put your life in order. Every man is as holy as he really wants to be. But the want must be all-compelling.
Tie up the loose ends of your life. Begin to tithe, institute family prayer; pay up your debts as far as possible and make some kind of frank arrangement with every creditor you cannot pay immediately; make restitution as far as you can; set aside time to pray and search the Scriptures; surrender wholly to the will of God. You will be surprised and delighted with the results.
2-Put away every Un-Christian habit from you. If other Christians practice it without compunction, God may be calling you to come nearer to Him than these other Christians care to come. Remember the words, "Others may, you cannot". Do not condemn or criticize, but seek a better way. God will honor you.
3-Get Christ Himself in the focus of your heart and keep Him there continually. Only in Christ will you find complete fulfillment. In Him you may be united to the Godhead in conscious, vital awareness. Remember that all of God is accessible to you through Christ. Cultivate His knowledge above everything else on earth.
4-Throw your heart open to the Holy Spirit and invite Him to fill you. He will do it. Let no one interpret the Scriptures for you in such a way as to rule out the Father's gift of the Spirit. Every man is as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. Make your heart a vacuum and the Spirit will rush in to fill it.
Nowhere in the scriptures nor in Christian biography was anyone ever filled with the Spirit who did not know that he had been, and nowhere was anyone filled who did not know when. And no one was ever filled gradually.
5- Be hard on yourself and easy on others. Carry your own cross but never lay one on the back of another. Begin to practice the presence of God. Cultivate the fellowship of the Triune God by prayer, humility, obedience and self-abnegation.
Let any Christian do these things and he will make rapid spiritual progress. There is every reason why we should all go forward in our Christian lives and no reason why we should not. Let us go on....."
Do Tozer's suggestions seem legalistic and hard?
Jesus' command to His disciples to take up their cross and follow Him was no less difficult. Jesus' school of discipleship always cut to the quick, but look at the results! His disciples were, without a doubt, a "peculiar people" in the eyes of the world and they knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that on this planet they were aliens. But they also knew they were bound for a place not made with human hands, but a place whose Maker was God Himself. They were willing to deny themselves in order to bring with them as many as would join them. Let's join their ranks and determine to make spiritual progress in the time we have left.
"Man, The Dwelling Place Of God"
A. W. Tozer
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