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Your Cross of Christ

A.W. Tozer | Dr. Stephen Phinney


If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)


 

Why? Why does the God of healing allow such suffering, doubt and disbelief amid His faithful witnesses? We are set to go on a journey to answer that question. IOM America has dedicated our ministry focus for 2023 on gathering stories of the believer's co-crucifixion with Christ - with a special emphasis on victory stories of pain, suffering and times of disbelief.


If you claim Jesus as your Savior, you have a story. If you don't have a story, you are likely not indwelt by Christ, minimally have not embraced your co-crucifixion in Jesus.


We would like to start our year long story time with A.W. Tozer. While he doesn't need an introduction, he is mostly known as a pastor, author, and spiritual mentor. At a young age, walking home from work one day, he heard a street preacher say: "If you don't know how to be saved, just call on God." When young Tozer got home, he climbed into his attic and did just that.


In many ways, that simple act would characterize Tozer's entire life and ministry. In his early 20s, just after his ordination ceremony, he retreated to a quiet place in the woods and prayed what he later wrote down and titled, "The Prayer of a Minor Prophet." In it he said:



It seems God granted his request, for Tozer gave himself to three main tasks: prayer, study, and proclamation. He was known to arrive at his office in the early morning, change into a pair of old pants so he wouldn't wrinkle his slacks and pray for up to three hours at a time - beginning on the couch, but soon moving to the floor, face buried in the carpet.


He made time for sustained study as well, mostly meditating on Scripture, but also reading deeply of many authors – early church fathers, writers of the Middle Ages, Reformers, Puritans, philosophers, and even his contemporaries – impressive, considering his formal education ended at the sixth grade.



Mr. Tozer was a mentor to droves of people. One of those Mentores was my mentor, Dr. Charles Solomon. The following entry ignited a life of study and dedication to the believer's co-death, burial, and resurrection of the believer. Here is what he stated.


The cross of Christ is the most revolutionary thing ever to appear among men. The cross of the Roman times knew no compromise; it never made concessions. It won all its arguments by killing its opponent and silencing him for good. It spared not Christ but slew Him the same as the rest. He was alive when they hung Him on that cross and completely dead when they took him down six hours later. That was the first time the cross appeared in Christian history.


After Christ was risen from the dead the apostles went out to preach His message, and what they preached was the cross. And wherever they went into the world they carried the cross, and the same revolutionary power went with them. The radical message of the cross transformed Saul of Tarsus and changed him from a persecutor of Christians to a tender believer and an apostle of the faith. It shook off the long bondage of paganism and altered completely the whole moral and mental outlook of the Western world.


The cross not only brings Christ's life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of everry one of His true believers. It destroys the old pattern - the Adam pattern - in the believer's life and brings it to an end. Then, the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins. This, and nothing less, is true Christianity. The cross stands high above the opinions of men and to that cross all opinions must come at last for judgment.


We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do - flee it or die upon it. If we are wise, we will do what Jesus did: Endure the cross and despise its shame for the joy that is set before us. To do this is to submit the whole pattern of our lives to be destroyed and built again in the power of the endless life. And we shall find that it is more than poetry, more than sweet hymnody and elevated feeling. The cross will cut into where it hurts worst, sparing neither us nor our carefully cultivated reputations. It will defeat us and bring our selfish lives to an end. Only then can we rise in fullness of life to establish a pattern of living wholly new and free and full of good works.




 

We Need Your Story. The World Needs Your Story. Jesus Wants You To Share It.