Sunday, January 4, 2009

Beginning a Journey Toward Spiritual Renewal

Ten Ways to Prepare your Heart for Renewal began a series of regular postings on this topic I plan to publish over the next few weeks. In a blind leap of faith, I’m going to suggest that some of the words I write will not be FROM me. They will be THROUGH me—and TO me, as well. I’m determined to be painfully honest as I share my own faltering, hesitant steps on this journey toward personal spiritual renewal. It’s so easy to become stale and stagnant. I’m a beginner, again, after all my years of walking with Jesus. It’s a new year, and I’m making a new start at personal renewal.

I trust you will be able to discern the difference between my words and His as you visit this site. Expressions of my faltering walk are my own. Any words that ring with a greater Truth are from God, to all of us. So let’s travel together on this path toward a deeper relationship with Him. I’d love to have you comment on posts, adding your own insights and encouragements—your own words from the Lord—for the edification of all of us.

My words: Yesterday I took one small step along this path to renewal. The seventh way to prepare your heart, according to Thursday’s post, is to listen to worship music, so I spent all day cleaning my office for the sole purpose of making a place near my mini-boom box for my worship tapes. Aren’t you impressed? Finally, in the evening, I sat down and listened to one of those tapes and got a brief, refreshing taste of the fruit of the Spirit. A great supply of tapes are now sitting over there against the wall waiting for my next visit.

But this morning I forgot all about asking God’s blessing on our worship before I went to church. I was too busy thinking up blog post ideas ABOUT renewal to ask for it. Thankfully, our worship leader led us all into God’s presence at the beginning of the service and I was blessed in spite of myself.

God’s words: In cleaning out my office I uncovered, dusted off, and opened up a little book that immediately rattled the foundations of my already shaky spiritual complacency. It’s called, Gems From Tozer, and I’m going to share some of those gems with you over the next few weeks. These words are truly from God. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) has been called “a 20th Century Prophet” but his words ring truer today than they did when they were written in the 1900’s.

I have to warn you, as with most prophecies, these gems don’t just sparkle, they’ve got very sharp edges. I can already feel them cutting through my phony self-righteousness and exposing my spiritual poverty. Hmm. This renewal business might just have to start with repentance. I hadn’t figured on that.

Oh well. If I have to go there I won’t go alone. I’m dragging you with me. We’ll start, tomorrow, with Tozer’s thoughts on the first step in opening our hearts to renewal. Please don’t run away. Once we get through this “repentance” business we’ll begin to get to the “joy” part. I’m pretty sure of it. So please come back. I need your companionship on this journey.

Almost every day of my life I am praying that “a jubilant pining and longing for God” might come back on the evangelical churches. We don’t need to have our doctrine straightened out; we are as orthodox as the Pharisees of old. But this longing for God that brings spiritual torrents and whirlwinds of seeking and self-denial—this is almost gone from our midst.

A.W. Tozer

1 comment:

Tim Rovenstine said...

Thanks, we'll join you on the journey. Tim and Roberta