Tozer: Success and the Christian
What a treat to see how Tozer shares how to find Christ relevant to life! I [Melanie] have been reading Success and the Christian: The Cost and Criteria of Spiritual Maturity by A. W. Tozer compiled by James L. Snyder. Although we have never read this work before, it is very interesting to see the many elaborations that are similar to those we have written in Desperate Dependency: Finding Christ Relevant to Every Area of Life.
According to Tozer, who is a Christian?
Tozer finds Christ relevant to the life.
From “The Deeper Life” (chapter 5) of this work, I gleaned the following comments.
A Christian is not one who has been baptized, necessarily, though a Christian is likely to be baptized. A Christian is not one who receives Communion, though a Christian may receive Communion, and if he’s been properly taught, he will. But that is not a Christian necessarily. A Christian is not one who has been born into a Christian home, though the chances are more likely that he will be a Christian if he has a good Christian background. A Christian is not one who has memorized the New Testament, or is a great lover of Christian music, or who goes to hear the Apollo Club sing the Messiah every year. A Christian may do all of those things and I think it might be fine if he did; but that doesn’t make one a Christian. A Christian is one who sustains a right relationship to Jesus Christ.
Christians enjoy a kind of union with Jesus Christ. Everybody sustains some relationship to Jesus Christ; just the same as everybody in America sustains some relation to Krushchev [former leader of the Soviet Union]. My personal relation is one of active hostility so far as can be possible within a Christian framework. We can’t hate people, but we can hate everything they stand for, and I want it known that I do. But everybody has a relationship to everybody else, and everybody has a relation to Jesus Christ. The relation he sustains may be one of adoring faith and love; it may be one of admiration; it may be one of hostility; it may be one of complete carelessness; but it is an attitude of some sort. A relationship of some sort exists between every human being and Jesus Christ; that is, every human being that ever heard of Jesus Christ. But a Christian is one who sustains a right and proper relation, a biblical relation, to Jesus Christ. (p. 67-68)A. W. Tozer
Did you see Tozer’s answer to “Who is a Christian”? “A Christian is one who sustains a right relationship to Jesus Christ.” And we certainly agree with Tozer that “Everybody sustains some relationship to Jesus Christ.” “But a Christian is one who sustains a right and proper relation, a biblical relation, to Jesus Christ.”
Tozer speaks about earthly love.
Tozer finds Christ relevant to love.
Tozer and Snyder offer these insight regarding “Freedom from Earthly Loves.”
What do I mean by earthly love? I mean any love out of the will of God, any love that we would not allow God to take away. If you have anything in this world or anybody in this world that you would not let God take away from you, then you don’t love Him as you should and you don’t know anything about the deeper life in experience. For the Spirit-filled Christian life means that I am delivered from earthly loves to a point where there is no love that I would not allow Jesus Christ to take away—be it money, reputation, my home, my friends, my family or whatever it may be. The love of Jesus Christ has come in and swallowed up all other loves and sanctified them, purified them, made them holy and put them in their right relationship to that all-consuming love of God so that they’re secondary and never primary.
I want to ask you this question: Is there anything or anyone on Earth that you love so much that you’d fight God if He wanted to take him? Then you are not where you should be and you might as well face up to it and not pretend to be something you’re not. Complete freedom means that I want the will of God only. And if it is the will of God for me to have these things, then I love them for His sake, but I love them with a tentative and relative love and not an all-poured-out love that makes me a slave. It means that I love nothing outside the will of God and that I love only what and who He wills that I should love. Then you can love everybody. (p. 78-79)A. W. Tozer
Are you a slave to love?
If you love anything enough that there’s any question about whether God can have it or not, you know nothing about the deeper life; you are a slave to that love whatever it is. If we’ve been freed from every earthly love, then we have no unsatisfied longings and we have no wishes and no dreams. (p. 81)A. W. Tozer
Tozer speaks about earthly fears.
Tozer finds Christ relevant to fear.
Freedom from earthly fears means that I choose the will of God now and forever; it is my treasure, my whole attitude. The only fear I have is to fear to get out of the will of God. Outside of the will of God, there’s nothing I want, and in the will of God there’s nothing I fear, for God has sworn to keep me in His will. If I’m out of His will, that is another matter. But if I’m in His will, He’s sworn to keep me.
And He’s able to do it, He’s wise enough to know how to do it and He’s kind enough to want to do it. So really there’s nothing to fear. (p. 82)A. W. Tozer
According to Tozer, what’s a deeper life?
So I don’t say that the deeper life—the Spirit-filled life—means that you won’t be normal. If lightning strikes near you, you’ll jump. And if somebody comes at you with a needle, you’ll shrink—you are human. But that is one thing; it is quite another thing to walk around chained by human fears—chained by the fear of death or the fear of sickness or the fear of poverty or the fear of friends or the fear of enemies. God never means that His children should thus be afraid. (p. 84)A. W. Tozer
When Tozer addresses the issue of finding Christ relevant to life, he speaks about the deeper life. In terms of DDCommunity we speak of being desperately dependent on Christ. But what about you? Does Christ make a noticeable difference in your life? Do you find Christ relevant to every area of your life? How desperately dependent are you on Christ?
Excerpts are taken from Success and the Christian: The Cost and Criteria of Spiritual Maturity by A. W. Tozer and James L. Snyder, (Camp Hill, PA.: WingSpread, 1994). (Tozer died in 1963.) (As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.)
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