OK, first of all Tozer would be very unsuccessful today in the world of TV Evangelism…lol! At first impression of the thought of doing this study, I may not have been necessarily too enthused, but have changed my opinion. The word “insightful” may describe his work , but is obviously not solely based on his own attributes .
I believe the first part of the lesson may be describing election and our response to His calling. I didn’t use to believe in election, but that was based in part on my ignorance of scripture : Ephesians 1:5,11. I am not clear on where our free will and God’s will meet. Tozar seems to lean towards God’s foreknowledge of our response to His will.
I like it when he talks about God molding us with heavy tools in the third paragraph. I can definitely relate to that! I also appreciate paragraph 4 when he talks about God through His grace taking all of our Idols away. All the things we put first before Him. I think Paul talked about an affliction he had and that he prayed to have it taken away, but God chose not to do so to keep him humble, not conceded.
A line that really stood out to me is when Tozar says at the end of the seventh paragraph: “And you will learn , probably to your astonishment, that it is possible to live in all good consciousness before God and men and still feel nothing of the “peace and joy” you hear so much by immature Christians.” Tozar reminds me that man’s behavior/condition 50+ years ago are basically the same issues that are present today. When I watch some of Billy Graham’s old sermons from the 1950’s, the sins that he talks about are the same sins that we struggle with today, just different channels available.
I’m grateful that he points out in the last few paragraphs that spiritual growth through God’s love will involve certain sufferings, not only “its power to purify, to detach, to humble, to destroy the fear of death and, what is more important to you at the moment, the fear of life”. The latter part has been real in my life as of late. Things aren’t necessarily that much “fun” right now and sometimes feel like drudgery, but I believe God is teaching me the bigger picture.
Mark J. Congrove
Pastor, Bethel Baptist church
Grace Bible College
Follow me on Twitter @ vicarc1