Has everyone engaged in their obligatory New Year’s Day listen? I certainly hope so.
New years are tricky things: the optimist looks forward to all the joys and newly-turned pages that are to be expected (some realistic, some not-so-much) while the pessimist wonders how soon it will be until they “botch” it, noting that nothing new is under the sun.
God’s calling the church forth this year, just as He lovingly and persistently does every year. The optimist might think it’s going to look completely new and out of the box and different than it’s ever been – they might be right. The pessimist might think that it’s just a passing fad, that folks are getting away from the core and foundational issues at hand – they might be right. It’s a fine line we walk, this new year. We’re dealing with a brand new world with age-old problems.
My mom sent me a quote from A.W. Tozer that speaks to this condition: it strikes to the core of the discomfort and unrest that many speak of, and yet it’s nothing new.
One marked difference between the faith of our fathers as conceived by the fathers and the same faith as understood and lived by their children is that the fathers were concerned with the root of the matter, while their present-day descendants seem concerned only with the fruit.
Our fathers looked well to the root of the tree and were willing to wait with patience for the fruit to appear. We demand the fruit immediately even though the root may be weak and knobby or missing altogether . Impatient Christians today explain away the simple beliefs of the saints of other days and smile off their serious-minded approach to God and sacred things. They were victims of their own limited religious outlook, but great and sturdy souls withal who managed to achieve a satisfying spiritual experience and do a lot of good in the world in spite of their handicaps÷
÷The bough that breaks off from the tree in a storm may bloom briefly and give to the unthinking passer-by the impression that it is a healthy and fruitful branch, but its tender blossoms will soon perish and the bough itself wither and die. There is no lasting life apart from the root.
Much that passes for Christianity today is the brief bright effort of the severed branch to bring forth its fruit in its season. But the deep laws of life are against it. Preoccupation with appearances and a corresponding neglect of the out-of-sight root of the true spiritual life are prophetic signs which go unheeded. Immediate žresultsÓ are all that matter, quick proofs of present success without a thought of next week or next year÷There is but one test for the religious leader: success. Everything is forgiven him except failure÷.
The whole Bible and all the great saints of the past join to tell us the same thing. žTake nothing for granted,Ó they say to us. žGo back to the grass roots. Open your hearts and search the Scriptures. Bear your cross, follow your Lord and pay no heed to the passing religious vogue. The masses are always wrong. In every generation the number of the righteous is small. Be sure you are among them.Ó
From The Best of Tozer complied by Warren Wiersbe