In Praise of Inwardness

In Praise of Inwardness

...history will reveal that the Church has gained or lost power exactly as she has moved toward or away from the inwardness of her faith.
— A.W. Tozer, God's Pursuit of Man
Some may say that there is a decline in writing, blogging, and quality posts in today's Christian blogosphere, but lately I'm thinking it has less to do with blog burnout or a fading platform, but rather the loss of something more elusive than we may want to admit: The secret, inward life of a believer.  

This thing that makes the written word accessible to all immediately and in real-time in today's information-driven newsfeed, is also what keeps us - writers and creatives - on the edge of frayed and frazzled instead of fed and overflowing. And I'm deeply convinced that what I want is fed and overflowing.

But somewhere in the last decade, the machine of RSS, social media, and blogging, has so seduced us with the desire to perpetually produce more, that we have forgotten the value of the hidden lifethe quiet, offline, unannounced, unglamorous, costly, slow-producing work of meditating on the death, life, and resurrection of Christ and how it applies to our daily lives. We can't easily draw from a well that runs dry, and so many of us run with low to empty tanks.

While God's merciful love and saving grace never runs out, we feel we run on empty when our accessing and applying of the Gospel daily is reduced to short, shallow drinks, rather than deep, thirst-quenching draws.

We are efficiently modern women, sometimes to our own detriment. For us, the throne room of God has a revolving door, and we are constantly in and out...pleading our case, then sprinting back out into the field to run our race. People are waiting out there! I've got work to do! Get back to me via text, okay, Lord? 

Abiding is to enter into his presence (because he's made it possible!) and to linger longer. It's to step in and rest, rather than keep our foot in the door, with one ear to the outside noise and its demands. It's believing that what happens in the holy of holies, in the inner room, in the unseen secret place with the more effectual, more valuable, more needed than anything easily observed or noted.

The power I long to have to fight sin and to live in the real joy of my faith? It has more to do with my inner life than I realize. Tozer's warning is timeless and timely:

"...history will reveal that the Church has gained or lost power exactly as she has moved toward or away from the inwardness of her faith."

We may have more opportunity to share the power of God's love far and wide than any other people in history, but we may also be more apt to cut the legs out from under that opportunity by the neglect of the consecrated, secret life of our own lives, as believers. 

How merciful is God, to cause us to feel depleted, dry, or worn out in seasons of great production and opportunity. He's good to remind us: There is no substitute for the work done in the closet on our knees or with our hearts in the inner room. 

If you follow me on Instagram, or have journeyed with me here, you know that the Lord has written my story in some unique ways that have opened some incredible opportunities. I'm so honored to have a community of 40K joining me at Instagram, and for GraceLaced art to reach so many in so many countries. I'm grateful that these words here can go out as testimony and exhortation...and I'm regularly in awe that our creatives gifts can be used in these ways. But, if I neglect in myself, or neglect to point you, dear reader, to the inward life, I'll have misaimed. 

The worst thing a book can do for a Christian is to leave him with the impression that he has received from it anything really good; the best it can do is to point the way to the Good he is seeking. The function of a good book is to stand like a signpost directing the reader toward the Truth and the Life. That book serves best which early makes itself unnecessary, just as a signpost serves best after it is forgotten, after the traveler has arrived safely at his desired haven.
— A.W. Tozer, God's Pursuit of Man

Let these words be a signpost that points our hearts and eyes to the truth:

He is worthy. He is all. And lest we think we must hurry on to our next conquest, He is waiting for us in the secret the shelter that's been made for us to draw near

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty." (Psalm 91:1) 

I'm praying for this to be ever-true and more so with each day in my own life...and in yours, friends. 

Because of grace,

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