I have been rereading AW Tozer’s classic book called The Pursuit of God, a book which helped me through some of the tough questions of my faith when I was young. It is a book that every Christian should read occasionally, just to reorient their life back onto the correct path.
It is so easy to forget that our relationship with God is not through an institution or another person, but in fact is directly through a personal connection to God and His Son. For many Christians today, this is a foreign concept. They have heard other people, especially leaders, tell them about God and how He works; but for too many of us, it is all second-hand information.
Tozer has several “pearls” that should get any of us Christians to stop and ponder what he really means. It even starts right in the prelude with this strong statement: “Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion.” That should stop the average Christian dead in their tracks. Aren’t we taught from an early age that getting things in proper order is paramount to our faith?
Tozer follows that statement up in the next paragraph with this thought: “there are today many millions of people who hold ‘right opinions,’ probably more than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb?” If that doesn’t make you think, then you should re-examine your faith to see what it is really based on.
“Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be ‘received’ without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is ‘saved,’ but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God.” I am not sure that I can add anything worth saying to that quote. Stop and think it through and it may make you wonder at the validity of a campfire conversion. If your “walk” has no life, then you should be greatly unsettled by that statement.
“You and I are in little (our sins excepted), what God is in large. Being made in His image we have within us the capacity to know Him.” I think this is really the crux of the book, the fact that we have within us the innate desire to really KNOW God on a personal level. For most Christians this would involve the decoupling of most of what is taking their attention, but it never happens because they don’t slow down enough and “throw off” enough for this to even start. They are satisfied with hearing and reading of other people’s experiences and think that they can adopt that for themselves.
That is the hard part – one can’t. “How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers.”
“The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things.” The harsh truth is that you cannot have room for a personal connection with God without getting rid of stuff. It’s stuff or God – that is the choice. It is not possible to know God without becoming reliant on Him daily.
In talking about Abraham’s relationship with God, Tozer said the closeness only occurred after Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, so that “He had everything, but he possessed nothing. There is the spiritual secret.”
Harsh truth that you and I need to ponder, but please don’t take my word for it.
-The Loan Arranger (All quotes come from The Pursuit of God, by AW Tozer)