Morning and Evening with A.W. Tozer
Devotional: July 11th
All things else being equal, a Christian will make spiritual progress exactly in proportion to his ability to criticize himself.
Paul said, "But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment" (1 Corinthians 11:31). We escape the critical judgment of God by exercising critical self-judgment. It is as simple as that.
We often hear the axiom "Practice makes perfect." The fact is that practice, far from making perfect, actually confirms us in our faults unless it is carried on in a humble, self-critical spirit. The whole philosophy of instruction rests upon the idea that the learner is wrong and is seeking to be made right. No teacher can correct his pupil unless the pupil comes to him in humility. The only proper attitude for the learner is one of humble self-distrust. "I am ignorant," he says, "and am willing to be taught. I am wrong and am willing to be corrected." In this childlike spirit, the mind is made capable of improvement.
The godly men of old through whom the Scriptures came to us were faithful in their exhortations to personal faith and godliness, characteristic of the early church. The apostolic method of teaching, instructing and encouraging was based on solid and fundamental Christian doctrine. This was Paul's method in his New Testament letters. First he gives his readers the scriptural reasons for certain Christian actions and attributes. He provides the basis and reason-then he exhorts the readers to respond appropriately. We do not know if Paul was the human writer to the Hebrews, but the method of exhortation is like Paul's. We are assured that Christ is greater than Moses and greater than the angels and that He purchased mankind's salvation. Then the exhortation: if all of these things are true, then we should keep on loving one another, keep on praying for one another. It is a good and gracious argument: because we have reasons for doing something, we ought to do it without delay and without reservation!
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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