Seeking God with ALL Our Heart
By Dr. A. W. Tozer’
August 13, 2017
Any Christian who desires to may at any time experience a radical spiritual renaissance, and this altogether independent of the attitude of his fellow Christians.
The important question now is, How? Well, here are some suggestions which anyone can follow and which, I am convinced, will result in a wonderfully improved Christian life.
1. Get thoroughly dissatisfied with yourself. Complacency is the deadly enemy of spiritual progress. The contented soul is the stagnant soul. When speaking of earthly goods Paul could say, “I have learned to be content” (Philippians 4:11); but when referring to his spiritual life he testified, “I press on toward the goal” (3:14). “So stir up the gift of God that is in thee” (2 Timothy 1:6, KJV).
2. Set your face like a flint toward a sweeping transformation of your life. Timid experimenters are tagged for failure before they start. We must throw our whole soul into our desire for God. “The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matthew 11:12).
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
If you were about to use a bowl, you would want to be sure it is clean. The same thing is true when bowls are placed before family and company. The bowls are to be clean! Bowls accumulate a lot of impurities. They must be cleansed inside and out. We, who know Jesus as Savior and Lord, are like those bowls. We need to be clean inside and out. How? When we come to Jesus, we are placed in Him and He fills us with Himself. At that moment, we are clean inside and out. But we get “dirty with sin(s). However, as I John 1:7 promises: “….if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” As we walk in the light of God’s Word, we are completely clean outwardly and inwardly. But we get dirty! So, I John 1:9 tells us how to keep our “bowls” clean: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us (our) sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He washes away all impurities. When we are cleansed, we become: “….a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, (and) prepared unto every good work.” (From II Timothy 2:21). Then, we can identify with the second stanza and chorus of Mary E. Maxwell’s hymn, “Channels Only,” and have it be our own reality: “Emptied that Thou shouldest fill me, a clean vessel in Thy hand, with no pow’r but as Thou givest graciously with each command. Channels (vessels; bowls?) only, blessed Master — but with all Thy wondrous pow’r flowing through us, Thou canst use us ev’ry day and ev’ry hour.” Selah! If we are “clean bowls” filled with His Presence, some might want a taste of what He has placed in our bowls! Ron
Memories, things nostalgic, are wonderful places to visit. Just don’t stay overnight! Plans and preparation for the future are wise to have and do. Some, especially as we age, we like to return to and settle down in Memory Lane. Others fret and stew over what will happen, if….? Or how will I be able to make ends meet? My point is that we tend to devote much time looking back or looking ahead and comparatively little time thinking about “Now.” We can’t change the past; we can, however, learn from it. We cannot live in the future; each new moment is “Now.” Now is the current reality! Isn’t it time to major on our day by day, hour by hour, lives and live wisely? The wise Psalmist, in Psalm 90:12 exhorts us to ask: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply (our) hearts unto wisdom.” Satan is well aware that if he can move us to think much on the past and/or future, that we will neglect the present. Everything that is going to be accomplished for the glory of God has to be done here and now! That is why our enemy works overtime to move our thoughts anywhere but in our current reality. He’s a master at distracting our minds and emotions from letting “now” be used by and for God and for us to think about most anything but maturing Spiritually. Let’s not let him get away with his evil strategy. Instead, let’s do what Redd Harper told us that he was doing In his song, “Each Step of the Way.” He testified: “I‘m following Jesus one step at a time, I live for the moment, in His love Divine. Why think of tomorrow? Just live for today, I’m following Jesus each step of the way.” Selah! Capture the moment and let God use it. Ron
When we think about our life before Christ became our Savior and Lord, we may think of what it means in a too general way. We might say and think: “I’ve been saved from sin.” While that is true, it fails to encompass the broad spectrum of what grace has accomplished. Think on this partial list: We are saved from sin’s penalty; we are being saved from sinful habits and activities, foul speech and wrong attitudes and values; we are being saved from guilt and have been saved from condemnation; we are being freed from things like fear, worry, anger, bitterness; we are being shaped into Christ’s likeness; we are freed from having to spend eternity in Hell; we are freed from Satan’s rule and kingdom; we will have freedom from, death, disease, crime, evil, sorrow, etc. All these are just a sampling of what is involved in being set free! Plus, we are given countless blessings as Christians; a personal relationship with the entire Godhead, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. We are given guidance, purpose, aid, etc. And we are loved! This is what Jesus was telling us in John 8:36 when He said: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Barney Elliott Warren found this freedom brought him joy unspeakable. In his hymn by that name, he declared: “I have found His grace is all complete, He supplieth every need; while I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet, I am free, yes, free indeed. I have found the pleasure I once craved, it is joy and peace within; what a wondrous blessing, I am saved from the awful gulf of sin. I have found that hope so bright and clear, living in the realm of grace; oh, the Savior’s Presence is so near, I can see His smiling face. I have found the joy no tongue can tell, how its waves of glory roll; it is like a great o’erflowing well, springing up within my soul. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, full of glory, full of glory; it is joy unspeakable and full of glory, oh, the half has never yet been told.” Selah! The greatest of all freedoms is the freedom that Jesus gives! Ron
Resentment, hurts, sour thoughts, self pity, etc. combine in what we call bitterness. We start to hold grudges, think how bad some people are and even tell others how bad they are. In some cases, we wish them ill. For real or imagined wrongs they have done, we withhold forgiveness and sometimes even plot to get even. Bitterness, like an infection, spreads its poison through our hearts and minds. We become irritated, offended, sarcastic, angry, and very negative. Our lives radiate this bitterness and infect others, but damages us far more than those who have caused the bitterness or whatever circumstances caused this bitterness. We let what they have done or said make us prisoners of those who have hurt or offended us. In Hebrews, Chapter 12, Verse 15, this is what the writer warned them (and us) to escape: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Now, here’s the “kicker!” When we harbor bitterness, we create an emotional focus on the offender and/ or offense. Then as we focus, silently, slowly, we start becoming like the offender. Now, think how much we have offended God with our sin(s). Suppose He harbored bitterness and would not forgive us. Where would that leave us? Weigh carefully the words found in this hymn, “To be at Peace with Every Man:” “To be at peace with ev’ry man each faithful soul desires, for which they do the best they can, like as Saint Paul requires. Their aim is not revenge to seek, nor yet in malice live: but like their Saviour humble meek and freely will forgive. To wrath and spite they give no place but keep their Lord in view; they pray for His renewing grace to bear His Image too. Their charity to all extends, they feel for other’s grief, they pity foes as well as friends, and pray for their relief.” (Author unknown). Selah! Withholding forgiveness, even when undeserved, leaves you bound in bitterness; forgive and be free and like the Master! Ron
In a recent article, I likened “hatred” to a spiritual cancer that eats away at our souls. There are too many physical cancers that can’t (so far) be healed. However, the cancer of hating can be completely cured! Loving God whole-heartedly and loving all He has created can bring a full cure for spiritual cancer. That kind of love enters our being by our intense absorption of Who God is, what He’s like, what He’s done for us, how deeply He loves us, and what He means to us. This comes from daily, devotional involvement in His Word (the Bible). As we increasingly internalize Scripture, studying, applying, obeying, we experience what Paul, in Romans 5:5, told the church there in Rome: “….the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” We can’t hate what we truly love and we can’t hate someone that we love. We can hate sin and what it does, and what it does to others, but love the sinner at the same time. Two stanzas from, “Oh! to Be Like Thee,” a hymn by Thomas O. Chisholm, speak especially to loving that banishes hating: “Oh! to be like Thee, full of compassion, loving, forgiving, tender and kind, helping the helpless, cheering the fainting, seeking the wand’ring sinner to find. Oh! to be like Thee, lowly in spirit, holy and harmless, patient and brave; meekly enduring cruel reproaches, willing to suffer, others to save.” Selah! There is a deep and wondrous blessing, a joyous freedom in our hearts as we let love evict hate. Ron
We are responsible for giving in to anger! “….the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (From James 1:20). To say, “I can’t help it, I just get so angry. I can’t control my temper!” is a Satan provided excuse that will not stand up in God’s court! It is true that anger will strike. However, God provides strength to “slam the door in its face.” There is, on our part, a justifiable anger at sin and evil, but not against the sinner. We are to be: “….gentle unto all (men), apt to teach, patient….” (From II Timothy 2:24). The more that we abide in the vine, the more that the fruit of the Spirit will be harvested. The Divine Husbandman, as we abide in Him, will weed out the toxic weeds of anger. Peace of heart and anger cannot live together. Anger can and must go! “There comes to my heart one sweet strain, a glad and a joyous refrain; I sing it again and again–sweet peace, the gift of God’s love. When Jesus as Lord I had crowned, my heart with this peace did abound; in Him the rich blessing I found–sweet peace, the gift of God’s love. In Jesus for peace I abide, and as I keep close to His side, there’s nothing but peace doth betide–sweet peace, the gift of God’s love. Peace, peace, sweet peace! Wonderful gift from above! O wonderful, wonderful peace! Sweet peace, the gift of God’s love!” (From, “Sweet Peace, the Gift of God’s Love,”- By Peter P. Bilhorn). Selah! The more of God’s peace of heart that we experience, the more that anger will find no place to root! Ron
What a lesson from ancient Israel! When she looked at the problem, she became discouraged. When she looked to God, she was delivered. It’s as simple as that. If we will stop looking at the problem, we will be freed from discouragement. The problem is too big for us alone. It is, however, not too big for God. We do not have to be discouraged. God does not discourage us; that’s Satan’s work. God wants us to learn, to be disciplined, to act on His principles, to be guided by His Word, and to obey and apply His Word. When we conduct our lives that way, discouragement cannot stand a chance. One such principle is that we need to learn to give thanks. If we really stop and very carefully and exhaustively consider all that we have to be thankful for, discouragement will fade gradually in proportion to our heartfelt gratitude In I Thessalonians 5:18, we are given a command to obey: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” We are not to give thanks for everything, but in everything. It will not suffice to just make a list and say thanks; we need to be deeply thankful and grateful for God’s many blessings! “Leave It There” by Charles A. Tindley expresses musically how we can be freed from discouragement: “If the world from you withhold of its silver and gold, and you have to get along with meager fare, just remember, in His Word, how He feeds the little bird – take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain, and your soul is almost sinking in despair, Jesus knows the pain you feel, He can save and He can heal – take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail, don’t forget that God in heaven answers prayer; He will make a way for you, and will lead you safely through – take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. When your youthful days are gone, and old age is stealing on. and your body bends beneath the weight of care; He will never leave you then, He’ll go with you to the end – take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. Leave it there, leave it there, leave it there, leave it there, take your burden to the Lord and leave it there; if you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out. take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” Selah! That burden is what discourages us; take it to Him and don’t take it back! Leave it with Him!! Ron