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Morning and Evening with A.W. Tozer
Devotional: January 29th
We have developed in recent times a peace-loving, soft-spoken, tame and harmless brand of Christian of whom the world has no fear and for whom it has little respect. We are careful, for instance, never to speak in public against any of the false cults lest we be thought intolerant. We fear to talk against the destructive sins of modern civilization for fear someone will brand us as bigoted and narrow. Little by little we have been forced off the hard earth into a religious cloud-land where we are permitted to wing our harmless way around, like swallows at sundown, saying nothing that might stir the ire of the sons of this world. That Neo-Christianity, which seems for the time to be the most popular (and is certainly the most aggressive), is very careful not to oppose sin. It wins its crowds by amusing them and its converts by hiding from them the full implications of the Christian message. It carries on its projects after the ballyhoo methods of American business. Well might we paraphrase Wordsworth and cry, "Elijah, thou shouldst be living at this hour; America has need of thee." We stand in desperate need of a few men like Elijah who will dare to face up to the brazen sinners who dictate our every way of life. Sin in the full proportions of a revolution or a plague has all but destroyed our civilization while church people have played like children in the marketplace. What has happened to the spirit of the American Christian" Has our gold become dim" Have we lost the spirit of discernment till we can no longer recognize our captors" How much longer will we hide in caves while Ahab and Jezebel continue to pollute the temple and ravage the land" Surely we should give this some serious thought and prayer before it is too late—if indeed it is not too late already.
Actually the purest saint at the moment of his greatest strength is as weak as he was before his conversion. What has happened is that he has switched from his little human battery to the infinite power of God. He has quite literally exchanged weakness for strength, but the strength is not his; it flows into him from God as long as he abides in Christ. One of the heaviest problems in the Christian life is that of sanctification: how to become as pure as we know we ought to be and must be if we are to enjoy intimate communion with a holy God. The classic expression of this problem and its solution is found in Paul's epistle to the Romans, chapters seven and eight. The cry, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death"" (7:24) receives the triumphant answer, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (8:2). No one who has given attention to the facts will deny that it is altogether possible for a man to attain to a high degree of external morality if he sets his heart to it. Marcus Aurelius, the pagan emperor, for instance, lived a life of such exalted morality as to make most of us Christians ashamed, as did also the lowly slave Epictetus; but holiness was something of which they were totally ignorant. And it is holiness that the Christian heart yearns for above all else, and holiness the human heart can never capture by itself.
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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