When doing my usual daily reading of something from A.W. Tozer, I came across a question which pierced my soul: “Can you renounce everything which is inconsistent with the glory of God and the highest good of your fellowmen?” I wish I could say I immediately responded ‘yes’ without hesitation, but this wasn’t the case. I try and live a simple life but still find myself living in absolute luxury compared to almost all the other 7 billion people roaming this planet.
By American standards, I’m not rich. It’s worse than that; I’m comfortable. Comfortable; what a horrible word in this context. Jesus has called his followers to a lot of things, but comfort was never one of them (Luke 9:57-62; Luke 14:25-27).
And so, I come again to the crux of Tozer’s question, “Can you renounce everything which is inconsistent with the glory of God?” Is comfort inconsistent with the glory of God? In the purest sense, no. God brings great peace, joy, and comfort to His children. However, in our current Western context, comfort may very well stand in stark contrast to glorifying God. If we have more than enough to eat while others are starving to death, I do not think our cupboards are glorifying to God. If we have more clothes than we will ever wear while there are people who can’t wash their clothes because they are the only ones they have, I don’t think our closets are glorifying to God.
Jesus told His followers the road to following Him was narrow and treacherous (Matthew 7:13-14; John 16:33). His is not the path of comfort and ease. Few are those who will follow Jesus with reckless abandon. Few are they who will renounce everything which is inconsistent with the glory of God. How about our words? Are we willing to abandon the speech that tears down others, the jokes and innuendos we find so clever? Are we willing to renounce the things we allow our eyes to view? What restrictions will we put in place to guard our hearts and minds? Speaking of our minds, can you renounce everything you think about which is dishonoring to God? Will you, at last, take every thought captive before it can burn an indelible memory in your brain?
By now I hope I’ve conveyed why Pastor Tozer’s question was so painful to me. We are so far away from being the disciples of Jesus we claim to be. There is so much we have yet to surrender to the only One worthy of our lives. We have paid great lip-service to discipleship while doing a great disservice to Christianity, the name of Christ, and the Kingdom of God. The saddest fact of all is I will write this and move on. You will read it and forget about it. We will have the knowledge but fail to make any changes in light of what has been revealed. Our history says this is what will happen. What if we changed the script? What if we actually did what we know we should and renounce everything in our lives which is inconsistent with the glory of God? How might we change the world to His glory? For a change, let’s get serious about discipleship, renounce everything not of God, and live our lives for His glory, and His alone.