Nov 28, 2008

Tozer Made Easy - Part 9 of 10

by Dan Grubbs

The Pursuit of God - Chapter 9: "Meekness and Rest"

A popular British comedy shown here in America is titled, “Keeping Up Appearances.” Each episode centers around a middle-aged woman who is desperate to ensure everyone in her sphere of influence considers her to be posh and high society.

The fact is, however, she and her whole family are just everyday people. The humor ensues when she goes to great lengths to protect the complex façade she has created for the outside world to admire. She is breathless at every turn and drags her compliant husband through one fiasco after another. This woman is so busy creating a false life that she fails to notice she’s not living at all.

Funny thing is that we’re all like this in some way or another. We have much to hide from the world that we’re afraid to reveal. And it takes a lot of work to hide our faults. In fact, we are never done with the business of considering how we are viewed by others around us. It’s part of our sin pathology. Our core sin, pride, keeps our pathological engines running, sometimes racing, to ensure we do not lapse into revealing our true selves to the world.

Christ addressed this very thing which is the topic of Tozer’s ninth chapter, “Meekness and Rest.”

Tozer helps us understand that the Beatitudes are the “exact opposite of the virtues” that characterize the way humans live their lives. This, to our unrelenting detriment.

The portrait of human society

The opposite of the Beatitudes is what we see today and is the primary reason we experience many trials and tribulations in our lives. “Pride, arrogance, resentfulness, evil imaginings, malice, greed: these are the sources of more human pain than all the diseases that ever afflicted mortal flesh.”

Tozer shows us that it is in this condition that Christ came and spoke godly words when He uttered “blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.”

In this chapter, the author points out that the word meek is too often misunderstood. He shows us that Christ explained it later when He invited men to take up His yoke and bear a light burden.

Christ’s burden is different from man’s burden. Man’s burden is borne by every human — “it is altogether an interior one.” Our burden is self-love and pride which is at the heart of our sin. We are oppressed by this burden for, “the heart’s fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend and enemy, will never let the mind have rest.”

But, Christ’s burden is different. It is light! And when we are released from the burden of man, we find we are at rest. “The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.”

This is real rest for which many seek. A rest that only following and believing Christ can bring. A rest that comes from seeing oneself from God’s perspective. Tozer encourages us, “come on, humble yourself, and cease to care what men think.”

Meek does not equal weak

Don’t equate a meek godly man with someone who is weak in faculties. “The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself.”

So what about this inherit the earth promise? That’s a good question and should be answered by what we value compared to what God values. The meek Christian understands that the world will not understand godly values and he has stopped worrying about it. The meek Christian is at rest in knowing that the things God values are eternal and he will one day inherit the earth. “He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father.”

When we put ego and pride aside and take up Christ’s burden, we find we “will have attained a place of soul rest.” We have God as our public defender and are at peace.

Like Lucifer, pride is our sin

Our desire to shine and stand apart from others for our own ego is not any different than that of the great angel Lucifer. Did not he want to shine brighter for others to see? Did not he want to be something he really was not? For his sin of pride, Lucifer lost his position with God and will spend eternity in turmoil. What did Lucifer gain for his pride?

What do we gain in our pride? We gain a tumultuous life filled with constantly defending ourselves against the world. We gain heartache and pain. We gain cruelty and corruption. We gain quarrelling and mistreatment. We gain the consequences of our sin, which are the opposite of the Beatitudes Christ so eloquently articulated on the Mount of Olives.

Our pride is a heavy burden. It is breaking us under its pressure, according to Tozer. He writes, “There is no release from our burden apart from the meekness of Christ.”

Rest at the foot of the throne

In a prayer at the end of this chapter, Tozer asks God to help him take God’s “easy yoke of self-forgetfulness.” This is the condition when Christ is on the throne and the other elements of our life are aligned with Jesus. When we place ourselves on the throne of our life, we bear a burden that is impossible in order to keep ourselves on that throne.

Christ calls us, “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.” Are we experiencing a life of rest or a life of tumult? Are we defeated by trials or do we allow God to defend us?

Or better put by our author:

The rest He offers is the rest of meekness, the blessed relief which comes when
we accept ourselves for what we are and cease to pretend. It will take some
courage at first, but the needed grace will come as we learn that we are
sharing the new and easy yoke with the strong Son of God Himself. He calls
it “my yoke” and He walks at one end while we walk at the other.”

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