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The Deeper Life, by A.W. Tozer, Part 2
 

   *The Deeper Life, part 2
A.W. Tozer

Suppose some angelic being who had since creation known the deep, still
rapture of dwelling in the divine Presence, would appear on earth and live
awhile among us Christians. Don't you imagine he might be astonished at what
he saw ?
He might for instance, wonder how we can be contented with our poor,
commonplace level of spiritual experience. In our hands, after all, is a
message from God not only *inviting us *into His holy fellowship but also
giving us detailed instructions about how to get there. After feasting on
the bliss of intimate communion with God, how could such a being understand
the casual, easily satisfied spirit which characteresis most evangelicals
today ? And if our hypothetical being ever knew such blazing souls as
Moses,David,Isaiah, Paul, John, Stephen,
Augustine,Rolle,Rutherford,Newton,Branerd and Faber, he might logically
conclude that 20th century Christianity had misunderstood some vital
doctrine of the faith somewhere and had stopped short of a true acquantance
with God.
What if he sat in on the daily sessions of an average Bible conference and
noted the extravagant claims we Christians make for ourselves as believers
in Christ, and compared them with our actual spiritual experiences ? He
would sureley conclude that there was a serious contradiction between what
we think we are and what we are in reality. The bold claims that we are sons
of God, that we are risen in Christ and seated with Him in havenly places,
that we are indwelt by the life-giving Spirit, that we are members of the
Body of Christ and children of the new creation, are negated by our
attitudes, our behaviuor, and most of all, by our lack of fervour and by the
absence of a spirit of worship within us.

Perhaps if our heavingly visitor pointed out the great disparity between our
doctrinal beliefs and our lives, he might be dismissed with a smiling
explanation that it is but the normal difference between our sure standing
and our variable state. Certainley then, he would be appalled that as beings
once made in the image of God, we could allow ourselves thus to play with
words and trifle with our own souls.

Significant, isn't it, that of all who hold the evangelical position, those
Christians who lay the greatest store by Paul are often the least Pauline in
spirit. *The is a vast and important differenece between a Pauline creed and
a Pauline life*. Tens of thousands of believers who pride themselves on
their understanding of Romans and Ephesians cannot conceal the sharp
spiritual contradiction that exists between their hearts and the heart of
Paul.
The difference may be stated this way :Paul was a seeker and a finder *and a
seeker still*.* *They seek and find and *seek no more*.
After "accepting" Christ, they tend to substitute logic for *life, *and
doctrine for *experience*.
For them the truth becomes a veil to hide the face of God; for Paul it was a
door into His very Presence. Paul's spirit was that of the loving explorer.
He was a prospector among the hills of God, searching for the gold
of*personal spiritual acquaintance
*.
Many today stand by Paul's doctrine who will not follow him in his
passionate yearning for divine reality. Can these be said to be Pauline in
any but the most nominal sense ?

With the words "That I may know Him" Paul answered the whining claims of the
flesh and raced towards 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 hart
pants after the waterbrook, *and calm reason had little to do with the way
he felt*.
Indeed a score of cautious and ignoble excuses might have been advanced to
slow him down, and we have heard them all. "Watch out for your health" , a
prudent freind warns. "There is a danger that you become metally unbalanced"
, says another. "You'll get a reputation of 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 heavingly
places in Christ. What more do you want? You have only to believe and to
wait for the days of His triumph." So Paul would be exhorted of 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 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
meaning, not to the mind but to the Heart. Theological knowledge is
knowledge about God. While this is indispensible it is not sufficient. It
bears the same relation to man's spiritual need as well does to the need of
his physical body. It is not the rock-lined pit for which the dusty
traveller 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 *substitut*e for God.

From "The Deeper Life by A.W. Tozer, published by Sovereign World Limited.

 


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