In my late teens/early twenties, I came across AW Tozer’s “Five vows for spiritual power.” I’ve tried to live my life by them ever since. At times they’ve been inconvenient, I’ve certainly broken all of them at one time or another, but they’ve formed a compass for my life. They’ve simplified decision making. They’ve convicted me. They remain a guide.
Here they are:
- Deal thoroughly with sin
- Never own anything
- Never defend yourself
- Never pass on anything about anyone else that will hurt them
- Never accept any glory
The Black Swan Effect: A response to gender hierarchy in the church is a clarion call for a New Reformation encompassing the whole body of Christ–Leonard Sweet
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5 replies on “Five vows”
All great guides, the one that says never own anything is a real challenge when the culture you live in is all about what you own and what you drive etc.
Powerful list. Could you expand on #2, not owning anything? What was Tozer’s intent and how do you incorporate that one? Obviously, we all own some things (clothes, cars, dishes, phones, businesses, etc), but there are times when some things (like a car or house) can own us.
…she made a great clarification of this on the Facebook post…. The point is not to hold tightly to the things we have, because everything belongs to God, not us. We are only stewards of his riches.
I have not encountered this list before. Very powerful. Doing further reading on this now! Thanks for sharing this great encouragement.
Here’s what the fuller version of Tozer’s Five Vows says about vow number 2–never to own anything:
I do not mean by this that you cannot have things. I mean that you ought to get delivered from this sense of possessing them. This sense of possessing is what hinders us. All babies are born with their fists clenched, and it seems to me it means: “This is mine!” One of the first things is “mine” in an angry voice. That sense of “This is mine” is a very injurious thing to the spirit. If you can get rid of it so that you have no feeling of possessing anything, there will come a great sense of freedom and liberty into your life.
Now don’t think that you musty sell all that you have and give it to charity. No, God will let you have your car and your business, your practice and your position, whatever it may be, provided you understand that it is not yours at all, but His, and all your are doing is just working for Him. You can be restful about it then, because we never need to worry about losing anything that belongs to someone else. If it is yours, you’re always looking in your hand to see if it’s stll there. If it’s God’s you no longer need to worry about it.
Let me point out some things you’ll have to turn over to God. Property is one thing. Some of the dear Lord’s children are being held back because there’s a ball and chain on their legs. If it’s a man, it’s his big car and fine home. If it’s a woman it’s her china and her Louis XIV furniture and all the rest. Take that vase for instance. There it stands, and if anybody knocked it off and broke it the poor owner would probably lose five years from her life!