We are about to depart for Mexico in less than a month and as such I’ve been reflecting on what God has been teaching me over the past year. He has certainly been teaching me many things but one major and continuous thread has been one of God ruthlessly tearing away the idols of material possessions that I continually place in my life.
Over the past year we have sold or gotten rid of the vast majority of our material possessions and have been seeking to live as simply as possible. We have been minimizing, simplifying, and selling…the buzz words of our times…especially for the cool young latte drinking Christians.
However, God has been teaching us that “minimizing”, “simplifying” and “selling” our idols (material possessions) is not the same thing as freeing ourselves from them. Whether you possess hundreds of idols or simply one idol…one idol is one too many in our hearts before God. Materialism is not dependent on the amount of items you have. It is not an external condition but an internal condition of the heart.
This past week I decided to reread The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer (b/c its a great book and FREE on Kindle Books!) I want to share two quotes from the second chapter entitled, “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing.” I pray you chew on these a bit as I have this week…they pretty much summarize what I’ve been learning and experiencing over the past year.
“The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things. 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; that is what the word “poor” as Christ used it actually means. These blessed poor are no longer slaves to the tyranny of things. They have broken the yoke of the oppressor; and this they have done not by fighting but by surrendering. Though free from all sense of possessing, they yet possess all things. “Theirs is the Kingdom of God.””
“Let us never forget that such a truth as this cannot be learned by rote as one would learn the facts of physical science. They must be experienced before we can really know them…The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die obedient to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. As we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self-pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart.”
Would you consider praying with me as Tozer prays at the end of the chapter…
“Father, I want to know You, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from You the terror of parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that You may enter and dwell there without rival. Then You shall make the place of Your feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for You will be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ”