A few weeks ago I had a chance to connect again with the former governor of Connecticut, John G. Rowland. I first met Gov. Rowland over a year ago at a conference we were both attending at Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA.
Rowland was the speaker at the monthly meeting of The Hartford Society and I had a brief chance to catch up with him afterwards. His talk was quite powerful and really spoke to me. His experience of public scandal and fall is powerful — especially heard as part of his own testimony and story of new hope and redemption. (I will post more reflections on his talk later).
One of the things he shared were 5 VOWS FOR SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. These actually come from A.W. Tozer (you can read them here). Rowland shared that he had these five written in the front of his bible. I think I am going to do the same.
5 VOWS FOR SPIRITUAL STRENGTH:
(1) DEAL THOROUGHLY WITH SIN. CONFESS DAILY.
Tozer: This is not to preach sinless perfection. This is to say that every known sin is to be named, identified and repudiated, and that we must trust God for deliverance from it, so that there is no more sin anywhere in our lives. It is absolutely necessary that we deal thus, because God is a holy God and sin is on the throne of the world.
(2) NEVER OWN ANYTHING.
Tozer: 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.
(3) NEVER DEFEND YOURSELF.
Tozer: We’re all born with a desire to defend ourselves. And if you insist upon defending yourself, God will let you do it. But if you turn the defense of yourself over to God He will defend you.
(4) NEVER SPEAK BADLY OF OTHERS.
Tozer: “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). The talebearer has no place in God’s favor. If you know something that would hinder or hurt the reputation of one of God’s children, bury it forever. Find a little garden out back–a little spot somewhere–and when somebody comes around with an evil story, take it out and bury it, and say, “Here lies in peace the story about my brother.” God will take care of it. “With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged” (Matthew 7:2).
(5) NEVER ACCEPT ANY GLORY.
Tozer: God is jealous of His glory and He will not give His glory to another. He will not even share His glory with another. It is quite natural, I should say, for people to hope that maybe their Christian service will give them a chance to display their talents. True, they want to serve the Lord. But they also want other people to now they are serving the Lord. They want to have a reputation among the saints. That is very dangerous ground–seeking a reputation among the saints. It’s bad enough to seek a reputation in the world, but it’s worse to seek a reputation among the people of God. Our Lord gave up His reputation, and so must we.
This is great wisdom… and worth reading the whole message.