“As I see it, the Christian life must be comprised of three concentric circles, each of which must be kept in its proper place. In the outer circle must be the correct theological position, true biblical orthodoxy and the purity of the visible church. This is first, but if that is all there is, it is just one more seedbed for spiritual pride.
In the second circle must be good intellectual training and comprehension of our own generation. But having only this leads to intellectualism and again provides a seedbed for pride.
In the inner circle must be the humble heart — the love of God, the devotional attitude toward God. There must be the daily practice of the reality of the God whom we know is there. . . .
When each of these three circles is established in its proper place, there will be tongues of fire and the power of the Holy Spirit. Then, at the end of my life, when I look back over my work since I have been a Christian, I will see that I have not wasted my life. The Lord’s work must be done in the Lord’s way.”
Francis A. Schaeffer, “The Lord’s Work in the Lord’s Way,” in No Little People (Downers Grove, 1974), page 74, italics his.
Crossway Books has put this sermon of Schaeffer’s online. You can view it here. It is one of the most important things I have ever read, and it is never far from my thoughts.