I am back. Over the past 4 months, I have been totally underwater in busy-ness, submerged, and overwhelmed at times 😊. I have returned to my workplace on a rather fulltime basis for the immediate future. I have traveled some. I have spent time in nature and time ‘out on the water’. For me, being ‘out on the water’ is a place of healing.
I have spent a lot of time in meditation and reflection, time in God’s word, time in prayer. I have read several books. In all that comes to me personally, in my heart and soul, my leanings and leading, I return to the works of Dr. Francis Schaeffer and particularly to his work/book…True Spirituality.
It will be our purpose over the next weeks to try and draw out the gold nuggets, the pearls of wisdom, the gigantic amount of light and truth, that Dr. Schaeffer provides in this work.
Today, we being with some quotations from Jerram Barrs, March 2001, who wrote the introduction for the 2001 edition of True Spirituality. (The original edition was 1971).
One of the great difficulties we face is the pressure of the secular society in which we live.
The very air we breathe teaches us that we are living in a universe in which God is inactive. Yet the Scripture teaches us that we live in a universe in which God is constantly at work. Schaeffer asks us whether we will sit in the chair of the “materialist,” who does not believe in the intervention of God, or in the chair of the person who knows that God is ceaselessly at work in our lives and in this world? He reminds us that our lives and our faith are on display before the angels. They are watching eagerly to see whether we will trust God “moment by moment,” or whether we will live the Christian life as if we were dependent merely on our own efforts.
All the way through True Spirituality, the reader will find this regular interaction with the ideas of the world around. Some of Schaeffer’s comments will ring a bell for those who are familiar with “New Age” thinking, though he does not use that term, as such thinking was not as wildly popular then as it is now, (fifty) years on. However, he is responding already to these ideas and beliefs that were beginning to be heard back in the late sixties and early seventies. In this constant interaction with the culture, Schaeffer is seeking to help Christians be obedient to Paul’s injunction in Romans 12:1-2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (NIV).
As we do this, we may more readily present ourselves to the Lord as living sacrifices for him to do his work in and through us. When there is a growing reality of offering ourselves to God in this way, then, says Schaeffer, there will be “substantial healing” in our lives now. He means by this phrase that there will indeed be genuine changes in our lives because God will be at work in us when we live by faith in the completed work that Christ has done for us. There will be “substantial healing” because there is more than just our longing to change and our efforts to change. God himself is changing us. He will begin to bring healing to our psychological problems. He will begin to wipe away our tears. He will begin to heal our relationships with others. He will begin to make us a blessing, a “song of life,” to the society around us. This substantial healing will be a demonstration of the existence of God to believers and to unbelievers.
As he often used to say, non-Christians ought to be able to see “supernaturally restored relationships” when they observe the lives of Christians. In chapter 12 of this book he writes: “How beautiful Christianity is—first because of the sparkling quality of its intellectual answers, but secondly because of the beautiful quality of its human and personal answers” (144). In our postmodern culture, people doubt the existence of sparkling intellectual answers until they see the beautiful quality of the human and personal answers in our lives. Unless they see “supernaturally restored relationships,” unless they see a “song of life” they are unlikely to pay attention to any proclamation of the gospel.
In his work and ministry, Dr. Schaeffer desired and prayed that God would build a work that would indeed demonstrate ‘God’s’ existence. He recognized that people longed for an intellectual demonstration.
He realized that the work [of seeking to lead people to faith in Christ, and of trying to help them lead holy lives] is impossible for us,” he would often say. “But God is at work doing what we can never do.” It was Francis Schaeffer’s earnest conviction that we need to depend on the work that God does in our lives. This is the heart of his message in providing us with his work…True Spirituality.
Taken from the work of Schaeffer, Francis. True Spirituality . Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..