25. A Sweet Lute, Sweetly Played
"It is one thing," said Henry Suso, "to hear for oneself a sweet lute, sweetly played, and quite another thing merely to hear about it."
And it is one thing, we may add, to hear truth inwardly for one's very self, and quite another thing merely to hear about it.
I do not wish to reflect on the genuineness of any man's religious experience; rather I rejoice in every small shred of true godliness that may yet remain among us in these days of superficiality and pretense. But an examination of the state of things in gospel churches creates a strong suspicion that an alarmingly high percentage of professing Christians today have never heard the lute for themselves. They have only been told about it by others. Their acquaintance with saving truth is by hearsay merely. The mysterious Voice has never penetrated to their own inner ear.
Particularly is this true of the so-called deeper life. Even in those circles where the doctrines of the Spirit-filled life are taken for granted there is a strange lack of inner certainty. We hear the "deeper" truths recited with a glibness that makes us wonder whether the preacher is not telling us about something of which he has only heard, rather than about something which he himself has experienced. The widespread indoctrination in the deeper life without a corresponding enjoyment of the power of the doctrine may easily do more harm than good.
We are turning out from the Bible schools of this country year after year young men and women who know the theory of the Spirit-Filled life but do not enjoy the experience. These go out into the churches to create in turn a generation of Christians who have never felt the power of the Spirit and who know nothing personally about the inner fire. The next generation will drop even the theory. That is actually the course some groups have taken over the past years.
One word from the lips of the man who has actually heard the lute play will have more effect than a score of sermons by the man who has only heard that it was played. Acquaintance is always better than hearsay.
How long must we in America go on listening to men who can only tell us what they have read and heard about, never what they themselves have felt and heard and seen?
From The Root of the Righteous by A. W. Tozer. Lightly updated to the language of the 21st century by D. N. Pham. (c) 2012.
Insights of the past for the present
Root of the Righteous - A.W. Tozer
ON THE BOOK SHELF
May your insights be worthy.