Monthly Archives: March 2016

A. W. Tozer Beware The Vexed Spirit

Some time ago we heard a prayer uttered by a servant of God who was deeply grieved over the lack of spirituality in the church of which he was the pastor. His prayer was, “O Lord, let me not become vexed with the ways of my people.”

Alas it is more important that we retain a right spirit toward others than that we bring them to our way of thinking, even if our way is right.

Satan has achieved a real victory when he succeeds in getting us to react in an unspiritual way towards sins and failures in our brethren. We cannot fight sin with sin nor draw men of God by frowning at them in fleshly anger. “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

Often acts done in a spirit of religious irritation have consequences far beyond anything we could have guessed. Moses allowed himself to become vexed with the same stroke he closed the land of promise against him for the rest of his life.

It is a splendid rule to refrain from making decisions when we are discouraged. Elijah, in an attack of self-pity, prayed that his life might be taken-and his active ministry ended right there. After that he did no more than get ready for his departure. God raised up another man to carry on, and took his dissatisfied servant home. Piqued prayers can be dangerous.

We have heard of a certain man of God who had been greatly used in praying for the sick with the natural result that he was often called out at very inopportune times and under circumstances that were anything but pleasant. Once when sent for in the middle of the night he threw himself across the bed and complained to God of the lack of consideration the call evinced. That was the end for him. Thereafter no one was ever delivered in answer to prayer, even though he sought with many tears to capture again the gift which he had lost.

It is quite natural, and quite spiritual, to feel sorrow and heaviness when we see the professed followers of Christ walking in the ways of the world. And our first impulse may easily be to go straight to them and upbraid them righteously. But such methods are seldom successful. The heat in our spirit may not be from the Holy Ghost, and if it is not, then it can very well do more harm than good.

It is not an easy task to be prophets and reformers in our generation and yet maintain a spirit of kindliness toward the very ones we are sent to reprove. But it is not out of our reach. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” He can do the impossible if we but yield and obey. He will meet our faith with the calm deep fire of holy hatred for sin expressed in a manner consistent with love.

In this as in everything else Christ is our perfect example. A prayerful, face-down meditation on the life of Christ will show us how to oppose with kindness and reprove with charity. And the power of the Holy Spirit within us will enable us to follow His blessed example.

A. W. Tozer Beware The Vexed Spirit is taken from Alliance Weekly 28 April 1951

A. W. Tozer Maranatha! Glad Day!

An article in a recent issue of this magazine begn with these words, “It is good to be alive in these great days! Brethren, we have been placed in the world for such a time as this.” Amen, say we.

We must meet the present emergency with a spirit of optimism. This is no time for repining, no time for looking backward, no time for self-pity, nor defeated complaining. We are on the winning side and we cannot lose. “Lo, I am with you” makes ultimate defeat impossible.

There was never a better age than this if we know what to do with it. Surely, the days are evil and the times are waxing late, but the true Christian is not caught unawares. He has been forewarned of just such times as these and has been expecting them. Present events only confirm the long range wisdom of Jesus Christ and prove the authenticity of the prophetic Word. So the believer actually turns defeat into victory and draws strength from the knowledge that the Lord in whom he trusts has foretold events and is in full command of the situation.

Let us beware of allowing our spiritual comforts to rise and fall with the war news or the changing political and economical situation. We who lean upon Jesus and trust in the watchful love of a heavenly Father are not dependent upon those things for our peace.

It is not a pleasant thing to see a group of Christians huddled around the radio listening with worried faces to the newscaster or to the commentator painting lurid pictures of atomic bombs, or the destruction of whole populations by bacteriological warfare. Where is our faith? Where is our confidence in the final triumph of Christ? All that those gentlemen say may be true. We have no desire to deny that the signs are ominous and the end is drawing near. But we refuse to get panicky, regardless.

It may easily be that before long one or another of our cities may go up in a puss of smoke and leave no one to tell how it happened? It may be that our own land may be invaded and be made to suffer along with the other nations of the earth. We have been spared hitherto, but we have no guarantee for the future. God may yet chasten us with fire and blood for our presumptuous sins and for our high-handed flouting of His holy laws. No one can say for certain, but it could be.

But suppose it should be? Does that spell the defeat of all our hopes? Is our sense of security dependent upon the turn of events in Washington or Moscow? Is God the God of our better days and not the God of our sorrows too? Is there not a sure hope beyond the smoke and the rubble and the grave? Is there no difference between Egypt and the children of Israel? Is there not blood on a few door posts here and there?

We must fact today as children of tomorrow. We must meet the uncertainties of this world with the certainty of the world to come. To the pure in heart nothing really bad can happen. He may die, but what is death to a Christian? Not death but sin is (or should be) our great fear. Without doubt the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Sooner or later that will come. But what of it? Do not we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness?

Surely this is not the time for pale faces and trembling knees among the sons of the New Creation. The darker the night the brighter faith shines and the sooner comes the morning. Look up and lif up your heads; our redemption draweth near.

A. W. Tozer Maranatha! Glad Day! is taken from Alliance Weekly 21 April 1951

A. W. Tozer “I’m A Stranger Here Myself”

Many of us have had the experience of finding ourselves in a strange city looking for the post office or some other public building. We accost a friendly looking man on the street and inquire where the building is to be found. He looks up with an apologetic smile, shakes his head and replies, “I’m sorry. I can’t help you. I’m a stranger here myself.”

All of us at some time in our lives become suddenly aware that we are in a strange place called the world. We do not remember coming here, and we are not sure when or how we are going to leave. A score of pressing questions fill our minds. We must have the answers. Where did we come from? What are we? Why are we here? Where do we go next? What does God require of us? How can we find the heaven of peace? Such questions as these insist upon an answer. But we have no answer.

Then we approach someone who looks as if he might know. We eagerly put our question, but we get only a shake of the head and the usual, “I’m sorry. I’m a stranger here myself.”

At first, we are frightfully disappointed, for we had hoped someone might know. There are the great stone buildings covered with ivy, where the best brains of the world hold forth day after day. There are the great libraries piled with solemn books, each filled with learned words. But the desired answer is nowhere. A few attempt to direct us but prove by their own bewilderment that they know as little as we do about the whole thing. The philosopher seeks but never finds. The scientist searches but finds no data to help us beyond the last hour and the narrow house and the shroud. The poet soars on stubby wings but soon comes down again, tired and confused. Each one has the same answer: “I’m sorry…. I’m a stranger here myself.”

That is the only honest answer. Others are sometimes given, but they are never valid answers. They spring out of pride or error or uncritical and wishful thinking, and they are not to be trusted. It is no good asking for information of another who is as ignorant as ourselves. We are all strangers in a strange world.

Is our state hopeless then? Is no answer to be had? Must we live in a world we do not understand and go out into a future of dark uncertainty? No, thank God; things are not as bad as that. There is an answer. We can find light. Our questions have been answered. “From a child,” wrote Paul to Timothy, “thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

It is the universal testimony of the saints of the ages that when the light of the Scriptures enters, the darkness of spiritual ignorance vanishes. God’s Word giveth light. It has answer for every question that matters. The merely curious question it ignores, but every real inquiry made by the sincere heart is met with full light.

It is important that we search the Scriptures daily and more important still that we approach them with faith and humility, bowing our hearts to their instructions and commands. Then through faith in Christ, we cease to be strangers and become sons of God.

A. W. Tozer “I’m A Stranger Here Myself” is taken from Alliance Weekly 14 April 1951

A. W. Tozer Faith Rests Upon God’s Character

All things else being equal, the destiny of a man or nation may safely be predicted from the idea of God which that man or that nation holds. No nation can rise higher than its conception of God. While Rome held to her faith in the stern old gods of the Pantheon she remained an iron kingdom. Her citizens unconsciously imitated the character of her gods, however erroneous their conception of the Deity might have been. When Rome began to think loosely about God she began to rot inwardly, and that rot never stopped till it brought her to the ground. So it must always be with men and nations.

A church is strong or weak just as it holds to a high or low idea of God. For faith rests not primarily upon promises, but upon character. A believer’s faith can never rise higher than his conception of God. A promise is never better or worse than the character of the one who makes it. An inadequate conception of God must result in a weak faith, for faith depends upon the character of God just as a building rests upon its foundation.

This explains why unbelief is such a grievous sin; it is pure libel against the Lord of heaven and earth. Unbelief judges God to be unworthy of confidence and withholds its trust from Him. Can there be a more heinous sin than this? He that believeth not God hath made him a liar” (1 John 5:10). Our hearts shrink from the full implications of such a statement, but would not this seem to teach that unbelief attributes to God the character of Satan? Jesus said of Satan, “He is a liar and the father of it.” Unbelief says virtually the same thing of God.

How then shall unbelief be cured and faith be strengthened? Surely not by straining to believe the Scriptures, as some do. Not by a frantic effort to believe the promises of God. Not by gritting our teeth and determining to exercise faith by an act of the will. All this has been tried–and it never helps. To try thus to superinduce faith is to violate the laws of the mind and to do violence to the simple psychology of the heart.

What is the answer? Job told us, “Acquaint thyself with him and be at peace; and Paul said, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. These two verses show the way to a strong and lasting faith: Get acquainted with God through reading the Scriptures, and faith will come naturally. This presupposes that we come to the Scriptures humbly, repudiating self-confidence and opening our minds to the sweet operations of the Spirit.

Otherwise stated: Faith comes effortlessly to the heart as we elevate our conceptions of God by a prayerful digestion of His Word. And such faith endures, for it is grounded upon the Rock.

A. W. Tozer Faith Rests Upon God’s Character is taken from Alliance Weekly 7 April 1951