Cigar Store Christians
 "As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for God, the living God." Psalm 42:1........"Wherever you find a man of God you will also find an overwhelming passion for God that is almost beyond control. Not a curiosity about God, but a deep passion to experience God in all of His fullness. To know God is the the one passion that drives a man into the very heart of God." A.W. Tozer
A question that I cannot avoid concerning the above verse is, is it my ideal, or my reality? By that I mean, is seeking and longing for Him with all my heart a state that I should live in, but don't, or, does it really define my walk with Him? 

What's your passion? That's a common question today, especially among the young. Yet it is not a question for the young alone. It's for all of us. What is our passion? Who is our passion? Where does the Father fit in with all of it? A relationship with Him in Christ is not a feelings based one, but there are definitely feelings involved. We are to love Him with all our being. Our emotions are definitely a part that being. The word passion is defined as "a deep emotional feeling almost beyond control," which fits in perfectly with what Tozer says above. Does either the dictionary definition or Tozer's have any place in our heart? Do they resonate with it? When we think about that which we're passionate about, does He really fit in anywhere? Is He even in the discussion?

In our politically correct and non-smoking world, the picture of a cigar store Indian doesn't really connect with many. Yet cigar stores, and the stationary wooden Indians that once stood outside them were a common site. A preacher from a generation ago once remarked on how most churchgoers could scream like Commanche Indians during a Sunday football game, but that those same folks could sit in church as immobile as cigar store Indians just a few hours before. In the former they were completely engaged, but in the latter, barely present. Has this really changed? Has it in fact gotten worse? How can we invest so much emotion in a football game, or our love of the arts, a profession, a person, and perhaps most sadly of all, a fictional TV character, and yet have so little emotion invested in the One we say we love above all others? What is it, who is it that we're really panting after? We're experts about every detail of our favorite celebrity's life, but clueless as to the experiential reality of the God we call awesome. We can get into lively and animated discussions about our favorite team, program, or book series, but remain totally dispassionate when it comes to speaking about Him, let with alone with Him. We really are more a group of curiosity seekers in the Kingdom than we are passionate pursuers of a Holy God. And curiosity seekers tend to lose interest in their seeking rather quickly.

Tozer also said, "Whatever keeps me away from God is my enemy, and only the power of God can overcome it. The trouble today is that we do not recognize the enemy and, in some cases, have even drawn him out to be a friend." Is that also our attitude towards anything that competes with Him, draws our hearts from Him? God doesn't deny us the presence of other interests in our life, but He does demand that those interests, all of them, be surrendered to Him. That we willingly die to them all in order to have Him, to know Him. Otherwise, these "interests" will become our idols. Our "other gods." And we will surely spend our passions upon them. Robbing Him of our worship. Becoming nothing more than cigar store Indians in the Kingdom. And cigar store Indians were not found inside, but outside of the store.

Pastor O
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  August 2018  
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