The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.
Over the next few weeks, I shall write a series of posts about what I learned from from A.W. Tozer’s book, The Pursuit of God. You can find the book relatively inexpensively (my Kindle version was $0.99) on Amazon and other book outlets.
We live in a world where many people call themselves Christians, but few actually pursue Him. As I read the opening chapter or two of A.W. Tozer’s book, The Pursuit of God, I find myself longing to know God more deeply. I have studied a number of modern day theological and apologetic writers and preachers. They do a great job of teaching the truths of the Bible, but seem unconcerned that God doesn’t actually seem to be there in their midst.
When you read the Bible, you see men and women who were not content to simply know God exist, or to just go through the motions of the religious requirements set before them. No, they wanted to know God. They wanted to experience Him. They pursued Him.
A.W. Tozer writes in the preface to the before mentioned book, In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.”
A.W. Tozer goes on to briefly discuss that many ministries exist which teach good doctrine, yet God does not manifest. There is nothing unusual in their personal lives. “They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy.”
These words resonate so strongly within me. Those who know me personally know that I did not spend much time learning in church. I felt that a true walk with God had so much more to offer than the religious regiment offered in the weekly services. I hungered to know God, and when I compared my life and walk with Him to those in the Bible, I knew that I was missing out on something important even as I attended services week after week. Tozer writes, “It is a solumn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table. The truth of Wesley’s words is established before our eyes: ‘Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion.'”
I believe in the importance of proper orthodoxy, myself. Those who follow my blog know that I write about it constantly. However, I understand where he writes from. The Bible makes it clear that a love for God and fellow man is paramount above all. Consider Jesus’ words…
Mat 22.36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Personally, I believe that if one loves God with all their heart…more than their family, their church and even their ‘religion,’ and seek after Jesus with their whole self, they will find the truth. I left my first church a short time after joining, and sought God in the Bible. Rom 10.17 teaches us, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. I learned much in studying God’s Word for years (a story for another day). Yet, I have always known that I needed to experience God closer. As Tozer writes, “The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.”
Normally, writing like this sets off my “Spidey-sense.” Many times, when preachers use this type of language, they try to push people to seek an emotional experience that mirrors something you can find in New Age theology. Yet, as I read the opening chapters, I quickly found out I had little to worry about. Tozer’s book is a modest attempt to aid myself and others to find and experience God in a very real, practical way. While none of the things which I will write about are new (Tozer wrote this book over six decades ago), they are spiritual realities that can draw you closer in your walk with God and help you to experience Him as you pursue the same.
More to come soon.