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Faith That Acts in Faith

By A.W. Tozer


      People use the word fanatic whenever you get a little bit joyful about the Lord. They say you are a fanatic. Webster says that a fanatic is somebody who is too enthusiastic about religion, as if you could be too enthusiastic about religion. John Wesley said, "A fanatic is one who seeks desirable ends but ignores constituted means." Suppose a farmer boy with his blue jeans, torn shirt and tattered straw hat wants to get a fish. His mother says, "Why don"t you go down and catch a couple of trout, son." So he goes down by the creek. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining and the cows are standing deep in the water under the shade trees. So the boy pulls off a stalk of grass and begins to nibble on it, and he starts wondering about those fish. He says to himself, "I remember the pastor said if we want anything to pray for it." In the meantime the fish are breaking the surface begging to be caught. But there he is praying, "Lord, send me some fish." He can pray until he dies and he will never have any fish. The Lord put intelligence in his head and gave him what we call constitited means. The farm boy takes a branch from a tree, ties on an ordinary piece of cord, puts a bent pin on the end and throws the hook with a worm on it into the streams. The fish will take it. Would it be proper for the farm boy to be pious and pray for fish or to throw in his hook and pull out fish? Everybody knows that if a farm boy addresses the Almighty God in a loud voice asking for fish when the fish are breaking the surface begging to be caught, something is wrong. He is a fanatic--he is trying to get a desirable end, but he is ignoring constituted means.

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