Receptivity is not a single thing; it is a compound rather, a blending of several elements within the soul. It is an affinity for, a bent towards, a sympathetic response to, a desire to have. From this it may be gathered that it can be present in degrees, that we may have little or more or less, depending upon the individual. It may be increased by exercise or destroyed by neglect. It is not a sovereign and irresistible force which comes upon us as a seizure from above. It is a gift of God, indeed, but one which must be recognised and cultivated as any other gift if it to realise the purpose for which it was given. Failure to see this is the cause of a very serious breakdown in modern evangelicalism. The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is now too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast flowing dramatic action.
A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.
The tragic results of this spirit are all about us. Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasis-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of the dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit: these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.
For this great sickness hat is upon us no one person is responsible, and no Christian is wholly free form blame. We have all contributed, directly or indirectly, to this sad state of affairs. We have been too blind to see, or too timid to speak out, or too self-satisfied to desire anything better than the poor average diet with which others appear satisfied. To put it differently, we have accepted one another’s notions, copied one another’s lives and made one another’s experiences the model for our own.
A.W Tozer, 1948.
We’ve come a long way.
I love questions. Without them, progress is virtually impossible. To reflect is to ask, and information without reflection is a wasteful use of my time. Anything i’m reading needs to land somewhere – I don’t enjoy it enough to class it as relaxation, and with limited time I need full value for it.
So for every book I read/finish I need some questions. They need to cover my person and my responsibilities, have tangible application and be measurable.
I’ll tweak them as I go but these can make for a good start.
- What has it revealed to me about myself?
- How am I going to respond to that? and how can I measure it?
- What has it taught me about leadership/my leadership?
- How am I going to adapt my leadership in light of it?
- How will the affect be felt by those I lead?
Thursday’s child is an experiment; to do something i’ve never done before. To get smart. To get (a little) more serious. Serious about where i’m going. Serious about pursuing God-created and gifted potential. Serious about discipline and living the calling, position and responsibility i’ve been given. I’m 33, an elder, ministry leader, preacher and influencer, yet i’ve shirked, skirted and hesitated; resisting adulthood as if Peter Pan. Child-likeness is a huge strength, Jesus said so, but you can’t live in the sky. Despite internal resistance I need to pick up his shovel and shift some dirt, walk the earth and leave some footprints.
Thursdays will be my coming down – a window of time set apart for deliberate purpose.
I’m going to read, plan, do necessary admin and pray, and purely for my own sake and discipline will track the steps I take.