What Comes First For The True Christian?
Many have the proverbial “cart before the horse” in their Christian life. We have place so much emphasis in our “out-reach” and good works that we have displaced our true calling. This excerpt from “That Incredible Christian“, by A.W. Tozer blessed me. So I thought I would pass it on!
As I have stated elsewhere, the two great verbs that dominate the life of man are be and do. What a man is comes first in the sight of God. What he does is determined by what he is, so is is of the first importance always. The modern notion that we are “saved to serve,” while true, is true only in a wider context, and as understood by busy Christians today it is not true at all.
Redemption became necessary not because of what men were doing only, but because of what they were. Not human conduct alone had gone wrong but human nature as well; apart from the moral defect in human nature no evil conduct would have occurred. Fallen men acted in accord with what they were. Their hearts dictated their deeds. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Genesis 6:5). That much any moral being could have seen. But God saw more; He saw the cause of man’s wicked ways, and that “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (6:5). The stream of human conduct flows out of a fountain polluted by evil thoughts and imaginations.
To purge the stream it was necessary to purify the fountain; and to reform human conduct it is necessary to regenerate human nature. The fundamental be must be sanctified if we would have a righteous do, for being and doing are related as cause and effect, as father and son.
The primary work of the Holy Spirit is to restore the lost soul to intimate fellowship with God through the washing of regeneration. To accomplish this He first reveals Christ to the penitent heart (1 Corinthians 12:3). He then goes on to illumine the newborn soul with brighter rays from the face of Christ (John 14:26; 16:13–15) and leads the willing heart into depths and heights of divine knowledge and communion. Remember, we know Christ only as the Spirit enables us and we have only as much of Him as the Holy Spirit imparts.
God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship. It is inconceivable that a sovereign and holy God should be so hard up for workers that He would press into service anyone who had been empowered regardless of his moral qualification. The very stones would praise Him if the need arose and a thousand legions of angels would leap to do His will.
Gifts and power for service the Spirit surely desires to impart; but holiness and spiritual worship come first.
Tozer, A. W. (2008-08-15). That Incredible Christian: How Heaven’s Children Live on Earth