More Good Advice from A.W. Tozer—for me...
"There are areas in our lives where in our effort to be right we may go wrong, so wrong as to lead to spiritual deformity. To be specific let me name a few:
1.When in our determination to be bold we become brazen.
Courage and meekness are compatible qualities: both were found in perfect proportion in Christ and both shone in beauty in His conflict with His enemies. Peter before the Sanhedrin and Paul before Agrippa demonstrated both qualities, though on another occasion when Paul's boldness temporarily lost its charity and became carnal he said to the high priest, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall." It is to the credit of the apostle that when he saw what he had done he immediately apologized (Acts 25:1-5).
2.When in our desire to be frank we become rude.
Candor without rudeness was always found in the man Christ Jesus. The Christian who boasts that he always calls a spade a spade is likely to end by calling everything a spade. Even the fiery Peter learned that love does not blurt out everything it knows (1 Peter 4:8)
3.When in our effort to be watchful we become suspicious.
Because there are many adversaries the temptation is to see enemies where none exist. Because we are in conflict with error we tend to develop a spirit of hostility to everyone who disagrees with us on anything. Satan cares little whether we go astray after a false doctrine or merely turn sour. Either way he wins."
I am especially wary of the third condition. In the last year I have spent an enormous amount of time reading, thinking, debating, appealing, writing, confronting, discussing, and praying about questions of biblical truth in my own fellowship.
Looking back, the up side of an otherwise difficult parting of the ways has been the fruit of all those activities: deeper Bible study, clarification of my own core convictions, new appreciation for the Church in all it's manifestations, and exposure to rich resources of Godly thinking and writing, old and new.
The down side Tozer nails precisely. It's easy to become cynical and sour and lose sight of what's amazing, wonderful and gates-of-hell defying about the Church, "wherever two or three are gathered in My name..."