Tozer Devotional

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  • "I Am with You Always"It is hardly possible to overstress the importance of unceasing inward prayer on the part of the one who would live the God-conscious life. Prayer at stated times is good and right; we will never outgrow the need of it while we remain on earth. But this kind of prayer must be supported and perfected by the habit of constant, unspoken prayer. But someone may question whether in a world like this it is possible to think of God constantly. Would it not be too great a burden to try to keep God constantly in the focus of our minds while carrying on our normal activities in this noisy and highly complex civilization? Francois Malaval had the answer to this: "The wings of the dove do not weigh it down," he said. "They carry and support it. And so the thought of God is never a burden; it is a gentle breeze which bears us up, a hand which supports us and raises us, a light which guides us, and a spirit which vivifies us though we do not feel its working." We all know how the presence of someone we deeply love lifts our spirits and suffuses us with a radiant sense of peace and well-being. So the one who loves God supremely is lifted into rapture by His conscious Presence. "Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord" (John 20:20). If only we would stop lamenting and look up. God is here. Christ is risen. The Spirit has been poured out from on high. All this we know as theological truth. It remains for us to turn it into joyous spiritual experience. And how is this accomplished? There is no new technique; if it is new it is false. The old, old method still works. Conscious fellowship with Christ is by faith, love and obedience. And the humblest believer need not be without these.
  • Beholding His GloryIt is true that a select company of Christians through the centuries have testified that they were rapt into a state where for varying lengths of time they were able to experience the Beatific Vision at least to some degree while still here in their natural bodies, seeing the everblessed One not with their physical eyes but with the eye of the Spirit. Being myself extremely cautious and slow to accept the unusual, I have tended to back away from this burning bush; but the holy characters of some of those who made such claims, their salty good sense and their sound basic theology along with their devoted service to mankind, have certainly placed them above the faintest suspicion of being fanatics or impostors. I for one must accept their testimony as valid. I suppose the vast majority of us must wait for the great day of the Lord's coming to realize the full wonder of the vision of God Most High. In the meantime, we are, I believe, missing a great measure of radiant glory that is ours by blood-covenant and available to us in this present world if we would but believe it and press on in the way of holiness. In seeking to know God better we must keep firmly in mind that we need not try to persuade God. He is already persuaded in our favor, not by our prayers but by the generous goodness of His own heart. "It is God's nature to give Himself to every virtuous soul," says Meister Eckhart. "Know then that God is bound to act, to pour Himself out into thee as soon as ever He shall find thee ready." As nature abhors a vacuum, so the Holy Spirit rushes in to fill the nature that has become empty by separating itself from the world and sin. This is not an unnatural act and need not be an unusual one, for it is in perfect accord with the nature of God. He must act as He does because He is God.
  • Wants or WishesThe third class of blessing consists of spiritual treasures which are ours by blood atonement but which will not come to us unless we make a determined effort to possess them. To make things clearer let me set forth four propositions touching this heritage of joy which God has set before us; 3. You will have as little as you are satisfied with. God giveth to all men liberally, but it would be absurd to think that God's liberality will make a man more godly than he wants to be. The man, for instance, who is satisfied to live a defeated life will never be forced to take victory. The man who is content to follow Christ afar off will never know the radiant wonder of His nearness. The man who is willing to settle for a joyless, barren life will never experience the joy of the Holy Spirit or the deep satisfaction of fruitful living. It is disheartening to those who care, and surely a great grief to the Spirit, to see how many Christians are content to settle for less than the best. Personally I have for years carried a burden of sorrow as I have moved among evangelical Christians who somewhere in their past have managed to strike a base compromise with their heart's holier longings and have settled down to a lukewarm, mediocre kind of Christianity utterly unworthy of themselves and of the Lord they claim to serve. And such are found everywhere. 4. You now have as much as you really want. Every man is as close to God as he wants to be; he is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wills to be. Our Lord said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6). If there were but one man anywhere on earth who hungered and was not filled the word of Christ would fall to the ground. Yet we must distinguish wanting from wishing. By "want" I mean wholehearted desire. Certainly there are many who wish they were holy or victorious or joyful but are not willing to meet God's conditions to obtain. That God has placed before His redeemed children a vast world of spiritual treasures and that they refuse or neglect to claim it may easily turn out to be the second greatest tragedy in the history of the moral creation, the first and greatest being the fall of man.
  • Claiming All That Is Ours in ChristThe third class of blessing consists of spiritual treasures which are ours by blood atonement but which will not come to us unless we make a determined effort to possess them. To make things clearer let me set forth four propositions touching this heritage of joy which God has set before us: 1. You will get nothing unless you go after it. God will not force anything on you. As Joshua fought his way into possession of the Promised Land you also must fight on toward perfection, meeting and defeating whatever enemies would stand in the way to challenge your right of possession. The land will not come to you; you must go to the land and on up into it by the way of self-renunciation and detachment from the world. "Those who travel on this road," says John of the Cross, "will meet many occasions of joys and sufferings, hopes and sorrows, some of which are the result of the spirit of perfection, others of imperfection." 2. You may have as much as you insist upon having. "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you" (Josh. 1:3) said God to Joshua, and this principle runs throughout the entire Bible. The history of Israel is dotted with stories of those who pressed boldly on to claim their possessions; such, for instance, as Caleb who, after the conquest of Canaan, went to Joshua, demanded the mountain Moses had promised him, and got it. Again, when the daughters of Zelophehad stood before Moses and pleaded, "Give unto us . . . a possession among the brethren of our father" (Num. 27:4) their request was granted. Those women received their inheritance, not by the indulgence of Moses but by the command of God whose promise was involved. When our requests are such as honor God we may ask as largely as we will. The more daring the request the more glory accrues to God when the answer comes.
  • Claiming All That Is Ours in ChristThose spiritual blessings in heavenly places which are ours in Christ may be divided into three classes: The first is those which come to us immediately upon our believing unto salvation, such as forgiveness, justification, regeneration, sonship to God and baptism into the Body of Christ. In Christ we possess these even before we know that they are ours, such knowledge coming to us later through the study of the Holy Scriptures. The second class is those riches which are ours by inheritance but which we cannot enjoy in actuality until our Lord returns. These include ultimate mental and moral perfection, the glorification of our bodies, the completion of the restoration of the divine image in our redeemed personalities and the admission into the very presence of God to experience forever the Beatific Vision. These treasures are as surely ours as if we possessed them now, but it would be useless for us to pray for them while we journey here below. God has made it very clear that they are reserved for the time of the manifestation of the sons of God (Rom. 8:18-25). The third class of blessing consists of spiritual treasures which are ours by blood atonement but which will not come to us unless we make a determined effort to possess them. These are deliverance from the sins of the flesh, victory over self, the constant flow of the Holy Spirit through our personalities, fruitfulness in Christian service, awareness of the presence of God, growth in grace, an increasing consciousness of union with God and an unbroken spirit of worship. These do not come to us automatically nor must we wait to claim them at the day of Christ's coming. They are to us what the Promised Land was to Israel, to be entered into as our faith and courage mount.

 

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