Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
Psalm 27:14 ESV
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
Psalm 27:14 ESV
As Veteran’s Day approaches I am reminded freedom comes at great cost. American soldiers paid a price, often with life or limbs, to preserve our freedom. May God bless our service men and women as they serve our country.
Just as soldiers paid a price for our physical freedom, one solitary person paid the ultimate price for our spiritual freedom. Jesus died in our stead so we could be free from the bondage of sin which leads to physical death. Death is not the end for those who believe in Him. They will experience eternal life on the other side of death.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT
In the second chapter of his book, Tozer poses the question, “What is God like?”
“When the Scripture states that man was made in the image of God, we dare not add to that statement an idea from our own head and make it mean in the exact image. To do so is to make man a replica of God, and that is to lose the unicity of God and end with no God at all.”
Tozer goes on to say:
“Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms. We want to get Him where we can use Him, or at least know where He is when we need him. We want a God we can in some measure control. We need a feeling of security that comes from knowing what God is like…”
Tozer adds that the answer to the question, what God is like, can be answered in the person of His son, Jesus Christ.
“In Christ and by Christ, God effects complete self-disclosure, although He shows Himself not to reason but to faith and love. Faith is an organ of knowledge, and love an organ of experience. God came to us in the incarnation; in atonement He reconciled us to Himself, and by faith and love we enter and lay hold on Him.”
We can only begin to understand what God is like if we study what Tozer regards as God’s attributes, which he addresses in the rest of the book. A divine attribute he says, “is something true about God.”
“A man is the sum of his parts and his character the sum of the traits that compose it. These traits very from man to man…The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God, it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. The harmony of His being is the result not of a perfect balance of parts but the absence of parts. Between His attributes no contradiction can exist.”
When we look at God’s attribute of love, using the above above quotation, it is not something He has, love is who he is. Tozer goes on to discuss many other attributes such as the Trinity, His self existence, eternity, infinitude, omniscience, sovereignty and many more.
It is a great book, which I highly recommend reading. For those of us with a casual view of God it will shake up our perception of Him. As you progress through the book, you will be acquainted with the depths of God’s love and the height of His holiness.
Check out this song by Addison Road, “What do I know of holy”. It certainly captures a desire to know what is God like.
Vaclav Havel said, “The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself, but when he plays the role destiny has for him.”
Each one of us has a purpose for our existence. When that purpose materializes, life has greater meaning.
The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me. Psalm 138:8 NLT
Embrace the role your spiritual destiny has for you!
Yes, I can still move my arms and legs.
But these legs can no longer bear the weight of my body,
Nor, can my hands hold anything heavier than a book.
A call light regulates the pace of my day.
But I have no control over when it will be answered,
Nor, do I hold any assurance anyone will remember to come.
I took simple movement for granted until mobility left me.
Hour after hour passes while I lay in bed.
But my mind finds no benefit from the idleness that drowns me,
Nor, can my body find the restoration it so desperately seeks.
My eyes are continuously heavy; I’m prone to doze.
But I can’t seem to enter the peaceful sleep I crave,
Nor, can my dreams produce one image of happier times from yesteryear
For years I denied myself rest, believing everything else to be more important.
I pursued contentment relentlessly in happier times.
But it could not be found in exhausting my resources,
Nor, could it be attained with busyness, productivity or fraternization.
In solitude, a chorus of “Is this all there is?” constantly mocked me.
Recently disease has stripped me of all I hold dear,
And has left me with nothing save the faith I once considered childish.
Perhaps, I’m my own worst enemy as far as contentment is concerned.
Self-assurance always kept me from investing in hope.
But brokenness proved the hope I did have was sorely misplaced,
And when death reared its head, nothing on earth could chase it away.
It was then I returned to my faith completely; mind, heart, soul and strength.
Because faith’s stated purpose isn’t “Living to die,”
Instead, God grants me the promise of everlasting life, which extends beyond the grave.
With hope, the contentment I vainly pursued now tugs at my heart as I struggle to pray.
We face many obstacles in life. Some of them deal with our physical reality such as illness, injury, competing against others and personal achievement. Other obstacles challenge our minds and emotions like academics and relationships. But what about spiritual obstacles?
Enter the word “because.” It fascinates me when I think about it in a spiritual sense. Because seems like a harmless enough word. I probably started using it when I was three years old (I’ll have to check with Mom on that one). Used in a spiritual context, it appears to have a dual meaning. On one hand, people believe, because? When pressed, folks in this camp are not really sure why they believe what they do. Perhaps belief stems from family tradition or a creed or simply just “because.” On the other hand, there are those who believe, because! These folks are speaking from personal experience. There is a certainty or conviction that supports their belief. This dual portrayal of the word begs a question, “which camp do you find yourself in?” Perhaps a story would explain my point more clearly.
I imagine Because to be like a mighty river snaking through the landscape of our lives. And just like every other river it has two shores. One shore is swampy, continually subjected to flooding and lacks firm ground. This shore is canvased by travelers who are content with being told how to be religious.
The opposite shore stands high and dry and is established on firm ground. I imagine its edge to be lined with boulders, making it impervious to erosion by the river. On this shore are those who have a certainty about their faith, which comes from a personal experience.
Once upon a time I wandered the swampy shoreline, plodding through the muck and mire. I tried hard to elevate my standing by being very religious. As time passed, I congregated with others who shared my view. Trying to be good should count for something, and we believed it would eventually get us to the other side of the river. Surely there’s strength in numbers. How could so many people be wrong? The people on the other side of the river are no better than us. Together we planned to build a bridge across the river. We thought we deserved to be on the other shore. The soggy, spongy ground was not able to support a foundation for the bridge, however. I found myself becoming restless.
I decided to search closer to the shoreline of the river Because for another means to cross it. I happened to discover a derelict one-person craft. People on the opposite shore saw I had located the craft and began to shout, “get in the vessel.” They called the vessel “Faith.” These people claimed I could use the boat for free because its owner had paid for my passage.
I hesitated by the river’s edge. The appearance of the water rushing past was intimidating. It’s current was frighteningly strong. I spotted whirlpools and rapids that I would have to engage if I attempted to cross. The boulders lying just beneath the surface of the raging water would certainly destroy the vessel Faith. I eyed the boat once more and noticed its interior contained only a simple wooden poll.
This looked more and more like a suicide mission. There’s no way I could make it across on my own. Overcome with sadness, I began to back away. As I did, my eyes caught the movement of people on the other shore once again. Hey, wait a minute. Is this how they made it across? Those people, the subjects of my gaze, were shouting more words of encouragement. I strained my ears to listen, “come experience what we’ve experienced,” they cried.
I thought about what they said. I was tired of trudging around in the muck with nothing but uncertainty to look forward to. The people shouting from across the river had something I didn’t have and I found myself wanting it. I turned back to the river and launched the vessel called Faith and jumped in. There was no turning back, I was committed. To my surprise, the moment I laid my hands on the wooden poll I was immediately transported to the other shore.
Today, I stand on the rock solid shore of certainty. It is a blessed and humble feeling to be here. I have discovered a special kinship with travelers on this side of the river. The belief we share is based on a personal experience, of being carried across the river in Faith.
Having once been on the other shore myself, I will not judge those who have not come. Instead will I call out to them, “Come, experience what I’ve experienced.” Take the journey in the vessel of Faith across the river of Because.