Celebrating the Cloud of Witnesses  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , , ,

Next to the Bible, the biographies of men and women who have all-out sought God and been radically messed up in the process have been impactful to me. I remember delighting in not just reading the "works" of guys like Jonathan Edwards, Erasmus, George Whitefield, John Wesley, John Calvin and Thomas Aquinas - but then reading their biographies to be inspiring and challenging. It was peculiar and telling to see how many times the lives we most celebrate today were nothing special in their lifetime - theirs was a life of simple devotion, frequent adversity, and uncertain ends. It was a lifestyle of worship and relentless pursuit of the Holy. Posthumously God has used the dust of these saints to help inspire and draw future generations to Himself.

I just ordered the biography of A.W. Tozer and am excited to get it. Much of his life he was deemed too intense, too focused on God, difficult to engage - and then suddenly a generation of college students began sensing the Truth (capital T) behind the words of this man and a public ministry began to explode. Decades after his death his books are revered for their simple focus, their depth, their uncomfortable call to nothing less than Him.

What stories inspire you? Do you read the lives of men and women of faith and wrestle with what lessons are to be learned in your own?

Consider these drips from Tozer and wait in anticipation with me for his biography!

Let a man set his heart only on doing the will of God and he is instantly free. If we understand our first and sole duty to consist of loving God supremely and loving everyone, even our enemies, for God's dear sake, then we can enjoy spiritual tranquility under every circumstance.

The sovereign God wants to be loved for Himself and honored for Himself, but that is only part of what He wants. The other part is that He wants us to know that when we have Him we have everything -- we have all the rest.

Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit; these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.

What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.

Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and bring Him nearer to our own image.

The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still.

No man should desire to be happy who is not at the same time holy. He should spend his efforts in seeking to know and do the will of God, leaving to Christ the matter of how happy he should be.

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organizations do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.

God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and is cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it.

This entry was posted at Saturday, April 25, 2009 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 thoughts and responses

Mike, I read your comments about A.W. Tozer with great interest. I like Tozer a lot. I also like the writings A. B. Simpson, the Founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance a lot. My sense is that Tozer is the most famous pastor in the history of the C&MA. I hope you enjoy his books as much as I do. The Pursuit of Man and the Pursuit of God are two of my favorites. Blessings to you as you read on.

Paul Schlieker

December 23, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Yes, both great works by Tozer.

December 23, 2010 at 7:14 PM

Post a Comment