I decided to re-read a book to close this year that I have visited several times in the past. AW Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God” is, perhaps, the best Christian book I’ve ever read. There are those who are much more well-read than I am, and there are those who understand what they read better than me, but for my money there is no one who pushes like Tozer. He is politely impolite regarding my current station in spiritual matters. He is lovingly angry with my lack of dedication and dedication. He prods me with the electricity of God’s love and glory, moving me, by force, to the places that my soul longs to be, often at the expense of my feelings.
To be quite honest, with my tendency toward procrastination and satisfaction with static progression, I need AW Tozer. He and a few others (Leonard Ravenhill and Charles Finney make the short list) are willing to look at me in places where everyone else is afraid to and say, “that’s not enough, do more, be more, run faster, dig deeper, hit harder”. They are less concerned with my feelings than my future. They are more interested in my eternal joy than my immediate ego. They, perhaps because we are not face to face, have never once hesitated to point to my weaknesses, faults, and short-comings and be completely enraged by them, quoting verses and condemning foolishness in page after page of tirade. I don’t come to these authors, and others like them, because I am a glutton for punishment, but because I believe deeply in the truth that there is more to the life of a follower of Christ than I currently know; and I desperately want to know.
Tozer, in the preface to this short classic, offers this commentary of the modern Christian mentality:
Everything is made to center upon the initial act of “accepting” Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him, we need no more seek Him.
In the midst of this great chill there are some…who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, “O God, show me Thy glory.” They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with they inner eyes the wonder that is God.
Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.
– AW Tozer, “The Pursuit of God”
I encourage you, from now until the end of things, to read hard things, to listen to hard words, and to embrace hard truths. We are not called to know theology or doctrine for the sake of those things alone, but to quicken our senses to the presence of the Spirit. We do not read books and listen to sermons to simply be comforted or taught but to create in us a hunger for the grandest of teachers, and the God of all comfort. We do not seek Him because He is far, we seek Him because He is always next to us. It is our dull vision that looks past, or even through, Him. It is our deaf ears that struggle to make out His words. It is our flesh-calloused hands that have trouble feeling Him. For the truth of the matter is that He is ever near, ever speaking, and reaching out eternally.
Friends, don’t settle to be pulled along by fate or reluctant Providence (though that terminology is admittedly troubling), but dedicate yourselves to the push. Push doors, push walls, push fears, push grudges, push predispositions, push uncertainty, push weakness, and push anything else that might stand between you and your pursuit of Christ. Not a sauntering pursuit, not a reserved pursuit, but an arm-flailing, head-back, mouth-open, breath-stealing, leg-quivering attempt to apprehend every promise of God, every moment in His presence, and every honey-soaked syllable that drips from His mouth.
It is my goal in my imperfection to pursue Him. I am just as apt as anyone to find my own weaknesses stalling me at times, but it doesn’t end there. Always there is the sound in the distance of my name. The name that is written in His book, called by One who has my face tattooed on His hand. Like a father waiting every day on His porch, who finally sees His son coming around the bend, He calls to us. And though so often we have wondered if God will answer our prayers, the question for us now is not will He answer, but will we.