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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Be Dangerous

If you read this blog often, by now you know what a fan I am of the (now deceased) author A. W. Tozier. One of his books, he is quoted to have said, "To escape the snare of artificiality it is necessary that a man enjoy a satisfying personal experience with God. He must be totally committed to Christ and deeply anointed with the Holy Spirit. Further, he must be delivered from the fear of man. The focus of his attention must be God and not men. He must let everything dear to him ride out on each sermon. He must so preach as to jeopardize his future, his ministry, even his life itself. He must make God responsible for the consequences and speak as one who will not have long to speak before he is called to judgment. Then the people will know they are hearing a voice instead of a mere echo."

Now Tozier, in my opinion was an incredibly intelligent man, with a true anointing from God Himself. Of course I never heard him preach or got to watch him live his life. I can only assume that he lived out what he wrote about. I'm particularly intrigued by his statement (from above), "He must so preach as to jeopardize his future, his ministry and even his life itself." Wow! That would be some kind of preaching. Has anyone ever preached that way? Did Tozier really preach that way? And if this is God's view of men He's called to be preachers, wouldn't it be similar to other men (and women) that God calls to anything?

What would the world look like if we parented our children "... so as to jeopardize our future, our ministry and even our life itself?" What if we ran our businesses against this kind of criteria? What if we served in our churches this way? Would our families be different? Would our churches and businesses be different? Would our world be different? I suspect so! But then, isn't that what God really calls all of us to --- to be different and make everything else radically different than the way we found it?

I've been in business a long time. I've been in church a long time. There is a metaphor that's often used in both places. When someone is extremely loyal to another or to a cause, it is often said that they "will walk through fire" for the object of their loyalty or a belief they regard highly. I think this means the same thing that Tozier is saying above. It means that we so believe in something, and we've spent enough time on our knees to develop the strength of that belief --- that we become willing to "walk through fire" for it. Or we become willing to speak and so as to potentially jeopardize our future, our ministry or possibly even our lives.

I've often admired Islam, Hindu and other other false religions for the devotion their followers have. When the Muslims launched the historic terrorist attacks in the U.S. a few years ago, I probably noticed something others may have missed. I noticed people who so believed something that they were willing to die for it. And I thought to myself, "How many Christians have that kind of strength in their faith?" Don't get me wrong. It is sad that Islam has misled so many. But I find it even sadder that Christians, on the whole, don't have that conviction in their beliefs.

My prayer today is simply this. "Lord, whatever I have to do today, tomorrow or the next day, let me be firm and resolute in my belief about what I am called to do. Let me act on the strength of that conviction. Let me be dangerous with Your word and Your leading in my life. Amen."

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