In high school, A. W. Tozer was my best friend. It was no matter that he died in 1963. When I read Tozer, I discovered someone who understood me and the change that God had wrought in my heart. I recall reading a passage from one of his books where he describes the loneliness that he experienced as a Christian: no one wanted to talk about the things of the Lord and all that he wanted to do was talk about the things of the Lord. Thus, Tozer was a loner. And, so was I. Whether at school or at home, Tozer and a Bible were my constant companions.
For Tozer, the deeper life was synonymous with the Christian life. He had no time for “half-converted cowboys who refer to God as ‘The Man Upstairs.'” He writes, “Unsaintly saints are the tragedy of Christianity.” Elsewhere, “modern Christians are long on talk and short on conduct.” In Tozer’s writings, we find a wealth of pointed, practical, and spiritual advice rooted in the spirit of New Testament Christianity. Here are ten quotes on the deeper life, collected from several of his published works.
1. “To speak of the ‘deeper life’ is not to speak of anything deeper than simple New Testament religion. The ‘deeper life’ is deeper only because the average Christian life is tragically shallow.”
2. “I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which the great saints had in common was spiritual receptivity. They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did something about it” (emphasis original).
3. “It will require a determined heart and more than a little courage to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times and return to Biblical ways.”
4. “The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of the others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”
5. “The Lord cannot fully bless a man until He has first conquered him.”
6. “We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity.”
7. “The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today.”
8. “Every man is as holy as he really wants to be. But the want must be all-compelling.”
9. “Tie up the loose ends of your life. Begin to tithe…institute family prayer…pay up your debts…make restitution…set aside time to pray and search the Scriptures…surrender wholly to the will of God. Put away every un-Christian habit from you. If other Christians practice it without compunction, God may be calling you to come nearer to Him than these care to come.”
10. “There are five vows I have in mind which we do well to make and keep. 1. Deal thoroughly with sin. 2. Never own anything—get rid of the sense of possessing. 3. Never defend yourself. 4. Never pass anything on about anybody else that will hurt him. 5. Never accept any glory. Remember that these five vows are not something you write in the back of your Bible and forget. They have got to be written in your own blood” (emphasis original).