Thursday, March 8, 2007

Possessing Nothing

I know God's Word is where I need to be most. Still sometimes I find a book that awakens a new part of me. I believe that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit all scripture should do this, but I also think there are certain authors that God has used to really bring to life the Christian walk - C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer to name a couple.

So, that was my guilt free intro to tell you that I just finished reading Tozer's "Pursuit of God". Wow, what a convicting experience. The chapter on possessing nothing really made me take a hard look at my life. I have often returned from a trip to Haiti with a huge pile of guilt on my shoulders because I feel so blessed with my easy life here in the States. I wonder why I was born here and get to have running water and don't have to worry if my children will eat today. Part of me wanted to run away and live a monks life. If I could just deny all these worldy things then my physical life would suit the lowliness of being that I know is in my heart. After all, I do not deserve any of this. I am a pitiful sinner just like everyone else. Why have I been so blessed. I know, I know, talk about being self absorbed!! Someone needed to whack me over the head with the "it's not about you!" stick.

Anyhoo, then I got to the part where he studies Abraham's test of sacrificing Isaac. So, go read Genesis 22:16-18. Tozer has this to say about it,

"The old man of God lifted his head to respond to the Voice, and stood there on the mount strong and pure and grand, a man marked out by the Lord for special treatment, a friend and favorite of the Most High. Now he was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who possessed nothing. He had concentrated his all in the person of his dear son and God had taken it from him. God could have begun out on the margin of Abraham's life and worked inward to the center. He chose rather to cut quickly to the heart and have it over in one sharp act of separation. In dealing thus, He practiced an economy of means and time. It hurt cruelly, but it was effective. I have said that Abraham possessed nothing. Yet was not this poor man rich? Everything he had owned before was still his to enjoy: sheep, camels, herds and goods of every sort. He had also his wife and his friends, and best of all he had his son Isaac safe by his side. He had everything, but he possessed nothing. There is the spiritual secret. There is the sweet theology of the heart which can be learned only in the school of renunciation."

So, whether you have much or little is really meaningless in the spiritual realm. As long as whatever you have is wholly surrendered to the Lord you are the blessed "poor in spirit". So, now I look around me and consciously say to myself, "if it were gone tomorrow I would still have the Lord and He would still be good and He would still be in control." And that knowledge is all I ever really need to possess!

"The blessed ones who possess the kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. These are the "poor in spirit." They have reached an inward state paralleling the outward circumstances of the common beggar in the streets of Jerusalem."

A.W. Tozer

1 comment: