The 20th Century ‘minor prophet’ A.W. Tozer preached a series called the “Deeper Life” in 1956. This article is based on the message, “How can we enter in: Static Christian.” Its message endures. He quotes the old book which says:
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
“Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” –Hebrews 6:1-2 (KJV)
“One of the great problems, even of the early church, was that of the ‘static Christian.’ I think it is a problem even greater than that of getting people converted.” –A.W. Tozer.
Tozer paraphrases Paul who was saying to them, ‘Why are you retarded in your progress of the Way... what hinders you?’
They lacked a moral dynamic that every Christian, Tozer felt, ought to know.
He that can hear will hear God.
Let us go on beyond the basic things.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
“There can be no deeper life until there’s been light. There can be no progress in ‘the way’ until we’re in the way. There can be no growth until there’s been birth. And all the efforts toward a deeper life will only bring disappointment unless we have first settled the matter of repentance from dead works and the forgiveness of sins and the impartation of divine light [and conversion].”
Two things are required to enter the Deeper Life (one negative--away, one positive--toward)
- (Negative) Turn away completely from (or a ‘forsaking of’) the world.
- (Positive) Turn holy toward the Lord.
When we spiritually forsake the world and turn toward God we cannot help act in accord with his will and way. The positive is what is required for the deeper life. Giving up the vices (smoking, drinking, gambling etc) is negative. Leaving the world does not matter--and won’t bring us the intrinsic joy of the Lord--if we haven’t embraced the positive side of seeking God with our whole heart.
Tozer booms, “I have never seen a happy Christian yet that was every world conscious… he’s busy with his negatives! [Yet] I’ve never seen a happy man yet that wasn’t taken up with Jesus Christ the Lord.”
It is ‘power, radiance, joy, and an inward glory’ that are manifest signs of a turning holy toward God. God sees to it as his Spirit sweeps through our beings, taking up residence within us. Our positive turning toward him, and not simply turning away from darkness, is what we have to do. The negative alone won’t do it; it has to be accompanied by the positive and these both can occur at the same time.
“The commonest thing,” said Tozer, “can be done for the glory of God,” whether it be doing the dishes, peeling potatoes, or playing a violin. When the sun shines, nothing can stop it. When the Son shines in our hearts… we cannot help feeling alive in every way.
Copyright © 2008, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.