Meeting the Holy Spirit: Myths, Lies, and Misunderstandings


Myths, Lies, and Misunderstandings

Guard against error!

Living in the 21st century requires that we be diligent and equip ourselves with correct information (Prov. 4:7).  This guards us against error, especially, with regard to our spiritual beliefs.

Error often presents itself in the form of myths, lies, and misunderstandings (MLMs).  This includes what we know about the Triune God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Today we will examine MLMs and how they can negatively impact our ability to have a correct view of God.

MLMs—the what and the why?

Myths, lies, and misunderstandings can be credited to many different things.

  • Myths are widely held but false beliefs or ideas. Myths are upheld to misrepresent the truth and to maintain certain beliefs.
  • Lies are statements that one knows are false, with the intent to deceive.
  • Misunderstandings stem from a failure to understand something correctly. A misunderstanding can be caused by an incorrect conception or a misinterpretation. It can also be mistakes of meaning or intent.

Myths and misunderstandings can be attributed to a general lack of knowledge.  Even within our churches, discussions on the Holy Trinity are limited.  Congregations need to be better informed on our relationship with each member of the God Head and how each of them impacts our lives.

Lies, of course, can be assigned to the father of lies, Satan.  Satan has done an excellent job in intentionally deceiving people about who God is.  We tend to make God smaller than He really is, to fit our human view.  We compare our limited abilities with God’s infinite power.  We do this to justify our decisions and behaviors (Jer. 17:9).

God is the true source for victorious living.  It is in Him that we live and breathe and have our meaning (Acts 17:28).  Our personal relationship with God provides us with courage and hope amid our struggles.    It strengthens our faith and points us to the One who will sustain us in the most difficult of times.  Therefore, we are able to persevere and do not “faint” (2 Cor. 4:17).

How to deal with MLMs?

What is the best approach to deal with myths, lies, and misunderstandings?  Seek out and know the truth through spiritual discernment The primary source of that truth is the Bible.  The Holy Spirit leads us in all truth (John 16:13).

In this postmodern era, relativism offers the view that there is no absolute truth; truth is relative based on individual perceptions and considerations. Satan uses this thinking to continue his campaign to “blind our eyes” about God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 4:4).

We must seek truth in all we do and boldly denounce MLMs that keep others in darkness (Eph. 5:11).  Myths, lies, and misunderstandings intent is always the same:  to deceive, mislead, and misrepresent.

Next week we will explore MLMs about the Holy Spirit.

Meeting the Holy Spirit: From Head to Heart, Part 2

From Head to Heart, Part 2

A transformative relationship.

To move the Holy Spirit from head to heart, we need a personal relationship with Him.  With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we begin that relationship that will end with us being conformed to the image of Christ (sanctification).

Conforming to Christ’s image is God’s desire for us.  It is where our transformative relationship begins (Rom. 8:29).  We as believers cannot accomplish sanctification.  It is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.  We can, however, help or hinder His work in us.  It is important that we cooperate with the Holy Spirit. 

What does the relationship look like?

Our relationship with the Spirit begins with letting the Holy Spirit fill us with His mind.  Warren Wiersbe, noted theologian and teacher, gives insight into how our relationship with the Holy Spirit should operate.

It is not enough for us to have the Spirit; the Spirit must have us! Only then can He share with us the abundant, victorious life that can be ours in Christ. We have no obligation to the flesh, because the flesh has only brought trouble into our lives. We do have an obligation to the Holy Spirit, for it is the Spirit who convicted us, revealed Christ to us, and imparted eternal life to us when we trusted Christ. Because He is “the Spirit of Life,” He can empower us to obey Christ, and He can enable us to be more like Christ.[1]

Our personal relationship with the Holy Spirit requires that we empty ourselves OF OURSELVES.  Then there is room for the filling of the Holy Spirit.   Through His filling, we receive His power, His truth, His wisdom, and His love.  Over time, our relationship with the Holy Spirit will begin to “squeeze out” things of this world and the flesh.  Our desire for things “eternal” will take priority (Psa. 27:4).  Our decisions and behaviors will reflect the Spirit’s presence in our life (good fruit).

It’s all about the right perspective.

As we attempt to “find our voice” and “discover who we are”, we might lose sight as to our real purpose in life, which can only be defined by God (Eph.2:20).   The Holy Spirit helps us with our perspective.  He is our Helper.  He helps us to be who God created us to be. “God wants to lead you to places you cannot get to without Him, and He does that by the power of His Spirit.”[2]

[1] Warren Wiersbe, “To Be Series”.

[2] Stormie Omartian, Lead Me, Holy Spirit:  Longing to Hear the Voice of God.

Meeting the Holy Spirit: What I Learned AFTER Sunday School


What I Learned AFTER Sunday School

What I never learned in Sunday School.

I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church at the ripe old age of nine years old.  Although I can’t remember the circumstances leading to that decision, I do have my certificate of baptism to prove it.  We ALWAYS attended Sunday School at the Epps House.  We weren’t given a choice!  It was Sunday School until we either married or went off to college.  Looking back, that was pretty much the rule for most of the families in the community of Quindaro.

I later realized that although I attended Sunday School and church every week, I knew a lot about God, but only a thimbleful about the Holy Spirit.  I didn’t understand how the Holy Spirit helped me in my walk with Jesus.  Hey, I was only nine!

It would be much later in my life (forty something) that I would better understand that without the Holy Spirit, I would not be able to become the person God had designed me to be (Jer. 29:11).  It is what I learned after Sunday School that made the difference.

How the Holy Spirit enters our life.

There are many scriptures in the New Testament that describe the ministries of the Holy Spirit.  The most informative, for me, is found in the Gospel of John.  It is here that Jesus promises the Holy Spirit, who will abide with His Disciples forever (John 14:16-17).  And that same promise is ours today!

The work of the Spirit is described in greater detail in John 16:5-15.  In this chapter we are introduced to His role in God’s plan of salvation.

And He, when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness, and about judgment: about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message]; about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see Me. (John 16:8-10, Amplified)

The Holy Spirit exposes our personal sin and our need for a Savior (conviction).  Jesus Christ is the “perfect sacrifice” to atone for our sin (redemption).  Then the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us, making possible our new birth (regeneration).  We are now ready to begin our faith walk (transformation). It is here that we become conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).

The Spirit transforms our life.

Conforming to the image of Christ begins with sanctification.  According to Webster, sanctification is defined as:

  1. the state of being sanctified or made holy
  2. the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion

To sanctify means “to make holy.” We cannot share the holiness of God’s essential nature, but God does call us to be holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16).  As we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and obey God’s Word, we “grow in divine grace” and are “set apart” to serve God.  Our fleshly desires, the world’s influence, and Satan’s deception, no longer hold sway over our lives (Rom. 6:11).

Sanctification is a “transformational process” that will not end until we reach eternity.  Every day we learn to trust the Holy Spirit to guide and direct; to inform our prayers; to illuminate the Bible.  The Holy Spirit is the POWER OF GOD that changes lives.  THAT’S what I learned after Sunday School!

Meeting the Holy Spirit: From Head to Heart, Part 1


From Head to Heart

From Head to Heart

Last week we discussed the value of experiential versus intellectual knowledge, as we develop a personal relationship with the Lord.  Each day, we should grow in our knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:18).  When we do, we begin to move God from our head to our heart.

How do we do that?  By reading God’s Word.  This is His primary way of communicating with us.  God’s Word is “living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12, Amplified).

Although we may not hear God audibly, God does speak to us through His Holy Spirit.  HIS Spirit speaks to OUR spirit.  How well we hear Him is determined by, “are we trying to hear” (are we tuned in?) and “are we trying to listen” (is the volume turned up?)

The Spirit speaks

The Holy Spirit has always existed.  As the third person of the Godhead, He was present during the creation of the world (Genesis 1:2). However, in the early Scriptures, the Spirit does not emerge as a “distinct personality”.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was most commonly designated as “of God” or “of the Lord”.  The Holy Spirit appears as God’s agent of creation, a mode of God’s interacting with humans (Gen. 6:3), God’s agent of revelation (Gen. 41:38; Num. 24:2), and a mode of empowering select leaders of God’s people such as Moses and Joshua (Num. 11:17-29; 27:18).[1]

 In the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, supernatural activities of the Spirit begin to appear. We see God’s Spirit now emerging upon significant individuals such as judges, prophets, and kings.  He becomes an energizing power, temporarily equipping leaders for physical prowess and military victory.

In the writings of the prophets, additional insights about the Holy Spirit are disclosed as they share a future time when the Spirit would empower all God’s followers through the creation of a “new spiritual community”.  Most notable of these prophetic descriptions of the Holy Spirit’s ministry are found in Isaiah (Isa. 32:15; 34:16) and Ezekiel (Ezek. 36:24-27).  One of the most notable is Joel 2:28-32, which Peter quotes at Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21).

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit begins to dominate the theology and experience of the major New Testament witnesses.  Throughout the gospel, the work of the Holy Spirit is acknowledged and celebrated.  It begins with the Immaculate Conception (Luke 1:35), the anointing of Jesus (Matt.3:11) and concludes with the resurrection of Christ by God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:11).

It’s Personal Now

We are so fickled!  We are easily impressed by the hottest fad, the newest technology, and the latest pop-culture entertainment!  How foolish we are if we desire the things this world has to offer (1 John 2:17).  None can compare with God and His gift of the Holy Spirit.

Unlike the Old Testament saints who experienced a temporary anointing of God’s Spirit, we now have Deity dwelling within us, 7 by 24, 365 days a year (2 Tim. 1:14).  It’s personal now! The Holy Spirit is speaking!  Are we listening?

[1] Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, “Holy Spirit”, 344.

Meeting the Holy Spirit: Rediscovering the Spirit of God

Rediscovering the Holy Spirit

Knowledge is power but experience is better!

In a world that has marginalized the need for church and things of God, it may seem like a waste of time to learn more about the Holy Spirit.  If information “is needed”, one may choose to go to the web or AI and answer any questions they might have.

But knowledge of something (intellectual or cognitive knowledge) is quite different from experiencing something for yourself.  Imagine, your knowledge of a famous entertainer or sports figure such as Patrick Mahomes or Stevie Wonder (I’m dating myself and it’s ok).  It is one thing to know all of Stevie Wonder’s songs and his personal rise to fame, however, it is quite another to experience time with him as his personal guest in New York (I like New York).

The value of our knowledge of God—His ways and works—is more than a “head exercise”.  It is all about “relationship’’.  It is important to know as much as possible about the One we want to be in relationship with.  Do we want that connection with God?  If our answer is yes, then, time spent learning about Him is valuable and rewarding.

How can we grow in the knowledge of God?

First and foremost, the only way we can know God is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).  It is the Son of God and His finished work on Calvary, that makes it possible to be united (or reunited) with God since man’s fall in the Garden (Genesis 3).

During Christ’s ministry, it was His goal to not only redeem man from sin but to also reveal the heart and nature of God.  During the Old Testament dispensations, God’s ways were not generally shared with Israel.  Mediators, such as judges, priest, and prophets, were how God shared His thoughts and purposes.

After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, He provided access to Himself and the Father.  That access would be possible, not through the Internet nor through AI, but through the Holy Spirit, Who indwells each of us who have accepted the offer of Jesus’ salvation (John 14:17).

Why is this important and relevant for today?

Our view of God is key to our reality.  It determines our worldview—what we think and how we behave.  “Thinking right” about the Holy Spirit needs to be included in that reality.

The church today desperately needs to rediscover the true person and work of the Holy Spirit. The third member of the Trinity has been grossly misrepresented, insulted, and grieved by a counterfeit movement that is being propagated in his name.

It is high time for those who love the Holy Spirit to take a bold stand and confront any error that blatantly and blasphemously dishonors the spirit of God. If we are to honor the Holy Spirit, treating Him with the reverence and respect that is His royal due, we must rightly discern His true ministry—aligning our hearts, mind, and wills with His wonderous work[1]

What’s next?

For the next few weeks, we will focus on “thinking right” (correct doctrine) about the Holy Spirit.  As important, we will identify ways we can better experience the Holy Spirit in our daily life.

The Holy Spirit is always with us.  He is a gift to us from our heavenly Father (Acts 2:38).  I close with this teaching by Charles Spurgeon on the importance of developing a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Do not ignore the presence of the Holy Spirit in your soul. I beseech you, do not live as if you had not heard whether there were any Holy Spirit.  To Him period pay your constant adorations. Reverence the august Guest Who has been pleased to make your body His sacred abode. Love Him, obey Him, worship Him.[2]

[1] The True Work of the Holy Spirit, John MacArthur.

[2]  “The Paraclete”, Charles Spurgeon.

Meet the Holy Spirit: A Proper Introduction


A Proper Introduction

Our discussion on “surrender” has raised new interest in a topic WordBytes has “directly” addressed only ten times since our first publication in 2010.   Although each bible teaching makes mention of the works of this person, I have failed to dedicate a study about Them.

Who is it?  The Holy Spirit!  My failure was not my belief that teaching about the Holy Spirit wasn’t important.  On the contrary, I wrongly supposed that everyone knew everything about the Holy Spirit.  Faulty assumption!

Therefore, for the next few weeks, I’m going to dedicate time to reintroduce us to the Holy Spirit.  It is my prayer that at the end of this series, we will desire to draw closer to God after learning about His Spirit (Psa. 42:1-2). Why is this important?  As we will learn, the Holy Spirit is vital for victorious living and kingdom building.   That’s why we need a “proper introduction”.

The Holy Spirit of Pentecost

This month we celebrated Pentecost in churches across the nation and around the world.  With Christ’s completed work of salvation—His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension—the promised Holy Spirit would come and dwell within us (Acts 2).

It was the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence that would enable Jesus’ disciples to continue the work He had begun. Pentecost marked the availability of the Holy Spirit to everyone who would “call upon the name of Jesus” (Rom. 10:13).

While we may know about the various ministries of the Holy Spirit, it is even more important to fully grasp the enormity of His Presence within us. Deity is living within us! I love the way Jesus described this phenomenon: “I (Jesus) in them (Believers) and You (God) in me, (so) that they may be made perfect in one” (John 17:23).

Like the disciples on the day of Pentecost we need the Holy Spirit’s power and direction as we live for God’s glory. We are invited to join with the Triune God in Their ministry of deliverance, wholeness, and grace (Eph. 2:10).

God wants to lead you to places you cannot get to without Him, and He does that by the power of His Spirit. He can bring you into the realm of the miraculous—not as a show, but as a demonstration of His love and compassion for the lost, hurting, or needy. Who among us doesn’t want or need that?[1]

Another like the Other

In anticipation of His departure, Jesus promised the disciples “another Comforter” (allon parakletos)—another of the same kind to aid (John 14:16).  The Holy Spirit would represent God to the disciples as Jesus did in his incarnate state.

The Holy Spirit would direct the disciple’s decisions, counsel them continually, and remain with them forever.  Jesus knew the heart of His disciples and the importance of His presence in their life.  That same Comforter now dwells within each of us who are in Christ (Eph. 1:13).

Jesus knew that, even in the 21st century, we would need the loving reassurance of His presence.  With the uncertainty of the world we live in, it is comforting to know that we are never outside the watchful eye of God IN ADDITION to being indwelt by the very presence of Jesus, who is the Holy Spirit living within us.

“The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and

the Church is famishing (starving) for want of His Presence.”

                                                  A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

God never changes and His promises are still true—”He will never leave or forsake us” (Gen. 28:15).   We are never out of God’s watchful eye or reach.

[1] Stormie Omartian, Lead Me, Holy Spirit:  Longing to Hear the Voice of God.

A New View of Surrender, Part 2



A New View of Surrender, Part 2

What, why, when, how… to surrender?

It is not easy for us to surrender.  It is, therefore, important to understand how surrendering operates in our daily lives.  This is where we will begin today.

As we stated earlier in this study, to surrender means to give up power, control, or possession of a thing.  For believers, that thing is us!  Spiritual surrender is the relinquishing of our will to the will of God.  Each day we are tempted by our flesh, the world, and Satan to give up power, control, or possession of our life (1 John 2:15-17).  That’s why it is important to be alert and watchful to decisions that lead us to death or to obedience (Rom. 6:16).

Why surrender?

This question, for me, was a game changer!  To truly understand “why” surrender, it is important to understand what it means to be “filled by the Spirit”.   While the definition of “filling” or “indwelling” of the Holy Spirit may vary based on one’s denomination, I will share the most common understanding by theologians.

The filling of the Spirit refers to a continual process of spiritual growth and maturity, where believers are constantly controlled by the Holy Spirit in their mind, emotions, and will. It is not a feeling or emotional experience, but rather the yielding of one’s life to the Lord. The filling of the Spirit empowers us to live the surrendered life.

When to surrender?

At the moment of salvation, we surrender to the Holy Spirit who brings us to repentance (John 16:8).  The Holy Spirit regenerates our spirit and we become new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:16-17).  It is at that time that the Holy Spirit takes permanent residence in our life (1 Cor. 3:16).

We continue this process of surrender so that we will “act more like Jesus” or “be conformed” to His image (Rom. 8:29).   This is only possible through our obedience to the Holy Spirit.

How to surrender?

As we stated earlier, the Holy Spirit’s filling is the yielding of our life to the Lord.  Key to this definition is the word, yielding.  Yielding implies an act of cooperation by us as recipients of the Spirit.  Unlike our initial salvation, it is a continual process in our spiritual growth.  This is the daily work of surrender (2 Cor. 3:18).

I offer three “R’s of Surrender” to help us practice this critical element in our Christian walk.

    • Repentance.  Continually examine our life to identify those things that act as idols and influences.  Be brutal in discarding those things that hinder our absolute surrender. (2 Cor. 13:5-6)
    • Realization. Depend wholly on the directions and leanings of the Holy Spirit.  Surrender cannot be accomplished by our “good works” or best efforts.  It is the work of God. (Luke 18:27)
    • Relationship. Understand the will of God by spending time with Him.  Prayer, meditation, and His Word are direct paths to surrender.  Practice His presence throughout the day. (Psa. 42:1-2)
God blesses when we surrender

To live in the fullness God has planned for our life, it is important that we surrender to God.  This means we must give up those things that hinder the Holy Spirit’s work in our life.  This includes not only personal sin, but our self-will, self-confidence, and self-effort.

I close with these insightful words from Andrew Murray as to the blessings associated with our surrender to God.

I say again, God will bless you. You have been praying for blessing. But do remember, there must be absolute surrender. At every tea table you see it. Why is tea poured into that cup? Because it is empty and given up for the tea. But put ink, or vinegar, or wine into it, and will they pour the tea into the vessel? And can God fill you, can God bless you if you are not absolutely surrendered to Him? He cannot.[1]

To be filled, we must empty ourselves.  We must surrender.

[1] Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray

A New View of Surrender, Part 1

A New View of Surrender, Part 1

What does surrender look like?

To surrender means to give up power, control, or possession of a thing.  It is often used in military terms to express a point of “handing over” a town or a fortification to an enemy.  It is punitive, in nature, when viewed from this vantage point.

However, from a spiritual standpoint, surrendering offers greater benefit when viewed from our loving God.  Spiritual surrender (surrender to God) is based on His grace and love (Eph. 2:4-8).  Through His Holy Spirit, we respond with trust and obedience.   We learn to surrender to God!

Sin and surrender

Sin and surrender have more in common than their first letter.  Sin has at its core the stubborn resistance to surrender oneself to the authority and rule of God.  Remember Adam and Eve?

Often, we fail to see the spiritual reality of these two conflicting influences in the world. Each day we, unknowingly or knowingly, choose one we will surrender to.  Who will rule, control, and influence our life?  This requires that we continually examine our position of surrender.  In his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul makes clear this truth.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?  (Rom. 6:16)

God Expects Our Surrender

Surrendering to God allows the Holy Spirit to accomplish the plans and purpose that God has created for us (2 Tim. 1:9).  Through our surrender, we understand and live a life that reflects our prayer, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

The perfect example of surrender is seen in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.  He often proclaimed that His life was focused only on the things of God.  God’s will versus His own (John 8:29).  Revisit Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and see how the Holy Spirit undergirded our Savior as He agonized between His fleshly will and the will of the Father (Matt. 26:38-42).  Strengthened by an angel, Jesus fulfilled the purpose for which He came to earth to save mankind.

Absolute Surrender

In his book, Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray gives a key as to why we must surrender to God.

You know in daily life what absolute surrender is. You know that everything has to be given up to its special, definite object and service. I have a pen in my pocket, and that pen is absolutely surrendered to the one work of writing, and that pen must be absolutely surrendered to my hand if I am to write properly with it.  

If another holds it partly, I cannot write properly. And now, do you expect that in your immortal being, in the divine nature that you have received by regeneration, God can work his work every day and every hour unless you are entirely given up to him? God cannot.[1]

For God to accomplish His purpose in our life, we must be absolutely surrendered to Him.

[1] Absolute Surrender and Other Addresses, Andrew Murray

The Surrendered Life

The Surrendered Life

Living for Christ

In my faith walk, I must constantly remind myself that “I am not my own.”  My new life in Christ was purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Corin. 6:19-20).

This life brings new responsibility as we share Jesus’ message of reconciliation  Jesus died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. (2 Corin. 5:15) Living for Christ requires that we live a surrendered life.  It is not by accident or happenstance.  It is intentional.

Understanding surrender

In his book, Immortal Diamonds, Richard Rohr shares a glimpse into the secret of living a surrendered life through the contemporary example of the Amish.

The Amish people know they are connected to and a part of a much larger divine reality which looks naïve to the rest of us.  On the foundation as to what is real and what is passing, they are experts.  It also explains their peace, happiness and contentment.

Understanding begins when we seek and prioritize God’s plan for our life.  It is in God that we live, breathe, and have our meaning (Acts 17:28).  Our worldview is based on the reality of God, the certainties of faith, and the “end game” that leads us to eternity with the Lord (1 John 5:13).  The surrendered life begins with denying self and the world.  It begins with Jesus as our priority.

Surrender begins with denying

Jesus in His teaching on the cost of discipleship was brutally honest about His expectation of His followers.  There was no mincing of words to make the offer more appealing to His listeners.  Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24) Jesus’ ministry continues today with us as His disciples.  His expectations have not changed.

Deny has two meanings: (1) to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone and (2) to lose sight of oneself and own interests.  Matthew uses the second definition to explain Jesus’ rebuke to would-be disciples unaware of the cost to follow Him.

As we deny our own interest and forsake our past self, we must also reject our love for this world— “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16).  All these create within us a divided heart which cannot love Jesus well nor surrender to His leading.

The surrendered life

The world, Satan, and our flesh are not big on “denying”.   They encourage us to place our desires above the Lord’s.  They deceive by whispering, “You can have it your way right now.  Jesus can wait another day.”  Jesus replies, “I am The Way” (John 14:6) and offers instead His love (John 3:16), salvation (Heb. 2:10), forgiveness (Ep. 1:7), freedom (Ps. 146:7), and peace (Col. 3:15).

The goal of the Christian life can be summed up by Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Such a life of surrender is pleasing to God, results in the greatest human fulfillment, and will reap ultimate rewards in heaven (Luke 6:22-23).[1]

The surrendered life in Christ results in great joy and wisdom.  There is great confidence in knowing we have made the best choice by seeking “the Pearl of Great Price” (Matt. 13:46). To give up other offers, by comparison, is a surrender of the lesser.

[1]   Got Questions, “What does it mean to surrender to God?”

Clarion Word Classics: The Dangers of a Shallow Faith


What are Clarion Word Classics?

The Clarion Word Classics (CWC) is a learning series WordBytes has launched to share faith writings that will strengthen and enrich our spiritual lives and faith walk.  Some of our classics come from sage theologians.  Others introduce contemporary writers who offer spiritual answers to the challenges of 21st century living.

The word “clarion” comes from the Latin word that means “clear”.  Used as an adjective, it means “loud and clear”.  Our intent with this quarterly series is to make “loud and clear” what is ours in Christ (Rom. 8:17) and the relevancy of our faith for this present generation (Matt. 24:34).

This quarter CWC, will introduce A.W. Tozer, a self-taught theologian, pastor, and writer whose powerful use of words continues to grip the intellect and stir the soul of today’s believer.  He has authored more than 40 books, the best known are The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy.  The Dangers of a  Shallow Faith is a never-before-published compilation.

How does it connect with our faith walk?

Lethargy is a lingering tiredness that is constant and limiting. Spiritual lethargy may be defined as a state of indifference or inertia with regard to one’s own spiritual growth and vitality.

The Apostle Paul urged the Thessalonians to avoid succumbing to spiritual lethargy: “so then let us not sleep as others do but let us be alert and sober” (1 Thess. 5:6).

Tozer describes this condition well: “there is little communion and little joy in the Lord. To have a cold heart with little pity, little fire, little love and little worship is spiritual lethargy.”[1] 

Some of the most common symptoms include any combination of the following:

  • Chronic indulgence in sinful thoughts and actions
  • Little or no desire to pray
  • Engagement in exclusively Christ-less entertainment
  • Avoidance of personal accountability
  • Decreased appetite for Bible study
  • Selfish and materialistic orientation
  • Reluctant and sporadic church attendance

Spiritual lethargy renders us “unserviceable” in God’s Kingdom.  Deceived by Satan’s lies, tempted by the world, and weakened in our flesh, we are, as the mothers of the church would say, “no earthly good.”  Satan’s most successful strategy is not to kill our faith but to silence our witness.

Tozer’s insights

Tozer urges us to be aware of the times in which we live.  We are to “gird the loin of our mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13).   While Tozer’s dangers were centered on the evangelical church, its application is “spot on” for us individually as we move from “glory to glory” in our walk of faith (2 Cor. 3:18).

In the Word Ministries provides CWC in our effort to “inspire authentic communities of faith, fellowship, and learning.”  It is in that spirit that we share this book.  This is not an endorsement or agreement with the views shared.  Here is an introductory reading  from The Dangers of a Shallow Faith:  Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy. 

[1] The Dangers of a Shallow Faith:  Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy.