The evil habit of seeking ‘God-and’ prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the ‘and’ lies our great woe.”
Skye Jethani recently “tweeted” this Tozer quote–so I’ll use him as my muse for this post today…
Tozer has a way of cutting to the quick–making us terribly uncomfortable in just a few pithy sentences. I’ve been reflecting on our expectation of the miraculous power of God within the Church and our own lives since Easter Sunday. The resurrection of Christ changed everything forever for all of us who believe in Him.
Here’s where that Tozer quote makes me uncomfortable. I really don’t think Christ is “enough” for us anymore in the Church. Sure, we sing along with Chris Tomlin’s anthem, but do we live like we believe it?
When the lights go out and I return to me everyday life in my neighborhood, do I trust that Jesus Christ in and of Himself is enough to bring me to complete wholeness and health (spiritual, physical and emotional) as a human being?
I’m feeling both discouraged and petulant today–sad that God hasn’t changed a lick in forever and, like a spoiled, impatient toddler, I’m on to something new every ten minutes. A.B. Simpson’s hymn/poem “Himself” used to be one of the clarion calls of our denomination (The Christian and Missionary Alliance, in case you were wondering…).
Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.
All in all forever… Jesus will I sing
Everything in Jesus and Jesus everything
Once ’twas painful trying, Now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.
Once ’twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;
Once ’twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.
Once ’twas busy planning, Now ’tis trustful prayer;
Once ’twas anxious caring, Now He has the care.
Once ’twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;
Once ’twas constant asking, Now ’tis ceaseless praise.
Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.
Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.
Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;
Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the veil.
Trusting Christ to be who He says He is–like Simpson so beautifully writes–trusting God to empower us to put Jesus at the center of all things is hard over the long haul, to stay relentlessly committed to. The things of this earth have a nasty habit of creeping in to steadily diminish our full reliance on Christ–whether it’s psychology, the next, great book by the next, great evangelical Christian leader (Skye once also cleverly tweeted that “he reads dead people”). Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not against learning from other sources.
“All truth is God’s truth” was the motto of my Wheaton College education. But when those other sources start sapping the bedrock of my non-negotiable belief that Christ is my All, my Healer, my Miraculous Immanent Sanctifier, my primary source of life’s power to grow as His devoted follower–that’s when I (and we Christians) sink into powerlessness.
I’m discouraged by Christians who keep dragging around their old sinful selves, the sins of the past because we refuse in faith to crown Christ as Living Lord over everything—that the resurrected Jesus is high and lifted up and powerful enough today to free me from any sin that is entangling —worthy of honor and glory and praise!
So, I’ll call you what you are (or can be ) today. Powerful, life-filled Christians—don’t get trapped or live powerlessly in and with “God-and“-ism. Expect the victory Jesus won by coming to life on Sunday to be enough to conquer every day’s obstacles.