Tag: Spirit

Growing Up in Christ

A.W. Tozerby A.W. Tozer

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Galatians 5:16

The true Christian is a saint in embryo. The heavenly genes are in him and the Holy Spirit is working to bring him on into a spiritual development that accords with the nature of the heavenly Father from whom he received the deposit of divine life. Yet he is here in this mortal body subject to weakness and temptation, and his warfare with the flesh sometimes leads him to do extreme things.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal. 5:17).

The work of the Spirit in the human heart is not an unconscious or automatic thing. Human will and intelligence must yield to and cooperate with the benign intentions of God. I think it is here that many of us go astray. Either we try to make ourselves holy and fail miserably, as we certainly must; or we seek to achieve a state of spiritual passivity and wait for God to perfect our natures in holiness as one might sit down and wait for a robin egg to hatch or a rose to burst into bloom. So we work feverishly to do the impossible or we do not work at all; and there lies the asymmetry about which I write. The New Testament knows nothing of the working of the Spirit in us apart from our own moral responses. Watchfulness, prayer, self-discipline and intelligent acquiescence in the purposes of God are indispensable to any real progress in holiness.

by A.W. Tozer

Live By The Spirit

A.W. Tozerby A.W. Tozer

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Galatians 5:16

Actually the purest saint at the moment of his greatest strength is as weak as he was before his conversion. What has happened is that he has switched from his little human battery to the infinite power of God. He has quite literally exchanged weakness for strength, but the strength is not his; it flows into him from God as long as he abides in Christ. One of the heaviest problems in the Christian life is that of sanctification: how to become as pure as we know we ought to be and must be if we are to enjoy intimate communion with a holy God. The classic expression of this problem and its solution is found in Paul’s epistle to the Romans, chapters seven and eight. The cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (7:24) receives the triumphant answer, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (8:2).

No one who has given attention to the facts will deny that it is altogether possible for a man to attain to a high degree of external morality if he sets his heart to it. Marcus Aurelius, the pagan emperor, for instance, lived a life of such exalted morality as to make most of us Christians ashamed, as did also the lowly slave Epictetus; but holiness was something of which they were totally ignorant. And it is holiness that the Christian heart yearns for above all else, and holiness the human heart can never capture by itself.

by A.W. Tozer