Word and Deed and Tozer

>> Wednesday, March 02, 2011

"We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.  This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church.  Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him, or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God."
The Knowledge of the Holy
A.W. Tozer

The question that explodes through my head and every fiber of my being as I read this one paragraph of Tozer is this - "What has my life left unsaid?" ... not an easy question for self-analysis.

Too much of my life has been spent "not saying" things of grave importance and I don't think I am alone.  Too often today, we as Christians seem satisfied with our mental image of God becoming clearer to us, all the while the message of our speech and actions discloses to a world around us a confusing (at best), or false (at our worst), message of the all-significant gospel.  This is the message the Church must make clear - I must make clear - because the world needs desperately to see it.  Not only does our failure in this stifle our walk and witness, but it actually distorts the mental image of God we try exclusively to focus our energy on.

Think about this, if all we are content with in our Christian life is building our mental image of God, we simply are not going to build an accurate image.  Paul addresses this in Colossians 3:
  "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth...Put to death what is earthly in you...see that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator...Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience...above all put on love...whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
This command to "set our minds on things above" is immediately followed by one of the more vivid pictures of our life in Christ - a life of active service in which we "put to death" our old self and actively "put on" our new self.  Scripture makes it clear that "setting our minds on things above" is only accomplished through acting on the truth.  Think about what Paul writes in Romans 12:
 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship [rational service].  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Paul continues by providing one of the most clear pictures of practical Christ-like living.  We see scripture’s exhortation to live a life marked with action.  I believe a healthy understanding and practice of these things help us “put to death” the old self and actively “put on” the new self, helps us in the practice of “setting our minds on things above”, helps our transformation by the “renewing of our minds”, helps us to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”.  Here is what scripture teaches us in Romans 12:9-13:
  • Allow love to be genuine
  • Utterly detest evil and hold on to what is good
  • Love the body with brotherly affection
  • Excel in showing honor
  • Activate zeal and show intensity in spirit in service to God
  • Rejoice in hope, patient in tribulation, constant in prayer
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek opportunities for hospitality

As Christians we must be sure that our lives are composed of word and deed - not simply thought and intent.  Only when Christians become men and women of word and deed can the Church portray an accurate image of God, and this - as Tozer opens The Knowledge of The Holy - is "the most important thing about us."

aiming to speak and do,

Note:  My intention is to launch deeper into this call to Christ-like living and share some thoughts on the active marks of Christ-likeness provided by Paul in Romans 12.  I hope the posts in this topical series encourages you as it encourages, humbles and strengthens me.

:: Other posts in this series on "Christ-Likeness" from Romans 12 ::


Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting, reading and giving thought to my thoughts...please leave a comment, I love to read 'em ::


Powered by Blogger.

  © Blogger template Webnolia by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP