“Every man must choose his world.” With these six words, A.W. Tozer powerfully calls us to make a decision. The choice? To believe only what we can perceive through our senses or to believe God and the invisible realities He says exist. Tozer’s point is simply this: we can choose to believe that we live in a spiritual world where unseen and supernatural things take place, or not. Faith is not something we are forced into but something we choose.
Listen again to Tozer. “If we would rise into the region of light and power plainly beckoning us through the Scriptures of truth we must break the evil habit of ignoring the spiritual. We must shift our interest from the seen to the unseen. For the great unseen Reality is God.”
This choice of worlds is not a decision disconnected from daily life—it bears directly upon 24/7 living. It shapes our values, our attitudes, our goals, our thoughts, our actions whether it’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday or 8:30 p.m. Friday or noon on Monday. It becomes the world in which we live.
This kind of decision came to my mind this week. Here is what triggered it: In last Sunday’s sermon (February 18, 2018), I shared the story of my recent experience of spiritual warfare. What did that warfare look like? I came to my office Saturday morning to work on Sunday’s sermon. Even before starting my work, I began to experience accusing thoughts, thoughts revolving around things I had done and things I had not done. This train of thought then developed into a foreboding feeling of condemnation. I could not focus on my sermon work. Added to that was a sense of increasing pressure: I needed to get the sermon done because I had to preach the next day! Then I began to become quite anxious. This went on for some time. I kept trying, unsuccessfully to focus. I kept praying, repeatedly, for the Lord to help.
And He did! Not right away, but He definitely did answer my prayers in three specific ways. First, His Spirit brought peace to my heart. The anxiety and foreboding suddenly ceased. They were replaced with a very welcome calm from the Lord. Second, a little while later that day I had a conversation with a church member. In the course of our conversation, that member said exactly what I needed to hear. I am convinced she had no idea that is what happened, but her words further encouraged me. Third, when I was done for the day in the office, I went to my car, turned it on and cranked up the heater and the defroster while I cleaned snow off the car. Since I had previously left the radio on, it began immediately carrying the programming from WDLM, a regional Christian station. As I was scraping ice and brushing off snow, I could hear that WDLM was on but I could discern nothing intelligibly … until I got back in the car. When I got situated in the driver’s seat, the very first thing I heard on the radio was these lyrics: “I did not create you to worry. I did not create you for fear.” I had never heard this song before but those words served as added strengthening from the Lord.
How does all this relate to Tozer’s question? Someone sitting in the congregation, hearing my story, may well have thought, “‘Spiritual warfare?!’ Everyone has hard days.” And the part about the conversation with the church member and the song on the radio? “Man! What a lucky coincidence!”
You see, we each have a hugely important decision to make. What kind of world will it be for you? One in which things happen randomly, one in which you just have good luck or you have bad luck? One in which everything that occurs is natural, that is, it is all just what we see and perceive with our senses? … with nothing beyond that, nothing else at all.
Or will your world be informed and shaped by what the Bible reveals as true? A world in which there is a King over everything, the sovereign Lord Almighty, the Creator, who works out all things according to His will? A world in which God is actively involved? A world where Satan and his evil angels truly war against the people of Jesus?
Interestingly, on April 1st we will remember and celebrate the glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Here is the significance of that supernatural event: When Jesus was asked by His enemies for a sign proving that He was indeed the Son of God, Jesus said He would rise from the dead on the third day after His death. (See Matthew 12:38-42.) And that is exactly what happened! His resurrection, a well-attested historical event, validates the claims of Christ and the truthfulness of God’s Word. It gives us a strong basis for choosing to believe in the supernatural world as described throughout the Bible.
Our culture works overtime to bury the real world beneath thick layers of materialism and rationalism. Only by conscious choice can we focus the eye of faith beyond the seen to the Savior, to the God of the universe who sovereignly guides all things according to His eternal purpose.
With Tozer’s challenge in mind, let’s choose well!