|Rut, Rot, or Revival
By A.W. Tozer
Text: Deuteronomy 1:5-8
Take a moment and try to think of what you would believe the greatest enemy to Christendom today. For some, you would think that it is Evolution. Others would believe the rise of Atheism.
In the passage that Tozer leads us to start with, the Lord tells the children of Israel that they have been wandering in the wilderness long enough– it’s time to get moving. Believe it or not, the greatest enemy we have today is the Dictatorship of the Routine. This he defines as expecting nothing from our services but what has always happened. We have programs because we have had programs.
He then lists the progressive stages of Dictatorship:
- Rote – “This is repetition without feeling. If someday someone would read the Scripture and believe it and would believe what is sung in the great Christian hymns, there would be a blessed spiritual revolution underway in a short time. … In our services God cannot get in because we have it all fixed up for Him. We say, ‘Lord, we are going to have it this way. Now kindly bless our plans.’ We repeat without feeling, we repeat without meaning, we sing without wonder, and we listen without surprise.
- Rut – “[This] is bondage to the rote. When we are unable to see and sense bondage to the rote, we are in a rut. … [T]he greatest danger lies in our inability to sense or feel this bondage.
- Rot – “This is best explained when the psychology of nonexpectation takes over and spiritual rigidity sets in, which is an inability to visualize anything better, a lack of desire for improvement.”
He then goes on to make the important point– that the church is made up of individuals. And to improve or change the church you must begin with individuals.
You see, when we get to the point where we believe that we’re doing everything right, and are inflexible to change, we are guilty of three sins– self-righteousness, judgment, and complacency.
Self-righteous – We believe we’re the perfect Christians and we have no need for change.
Judgment – We judge everyone by what we are (or what we think we are).
Complacency – Satisfied with where they are and not seeking to go any further.
To me, what Tozer is trying to get at is that when we look at our church and see problems, are we also looking at ourselves. What is our spiritual life like? Are we open to change? And are we broken before Him?
It’s easy to say that someone else should do something. It’s easy to point the finger at a sin that you’re also struggling with. What are we going to do about our Greatest Enemy– the enemy of not wanting to change? God calls us onward, will we follow?