Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

A.W. Tozer on “The Veil” that Keeps Us from Spiritual Progress

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The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer

There are few books that I purpose to re-read every year:  one of those few is The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer.  It is short but cuts straight to the heart.  The first three chapters alone are worth the price of the book.  Here is one of my favorite passages:

There is something more serious than coldness of the heart, something that may be back of that coldness and be the cause of its existence.  What is it?  What but the presence of a veil in our hearts?  A veil not taken away as the first veil was, but which remains there still shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us.  It is the veil of our fleshley, fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated.  It is the close-woven veil of the self-life whihc we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed, and which for these reasons we have never brought to the judgment of the cross.  It is not too mysterious, this opaque veil, nor is it hard to identify.  We have but to look into our own hearts and we shall see it there, sewn and patched and repaired it may be, but there nevertheless, an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress…

It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit.  They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies their subtlety and their power.

To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them.  They dwell to deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them.  The grosser manifestations of these sins – egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion – are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy.  They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel.

Guilty as charged, this passage is the main reason I re-read this book.  We are blessed beggars in God’s economy of grace.  May it convict you as it has me time and time again.

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