Introduction & Overview
A. W. Tozer wrote a book titled "The Pursuit of God", which is 75 pages short but one I could not grasp a hold of. The idea of pursuing God has been my lifetime goal; the act of following after a God that is so magnificent, so wonderful, so full of unfailing love, captivates me to the point of wanting to fully grasp and understand this book. Just reading the table of contents sounds so fascinating that each chapter is a hopeful revelation of God's path to Him. I believe that the reason why I have not fully grasped this book is that I may not be allowing the words to penetrate my personal perception of how to pursue God in a personal way.
The thought-provoking chapter titles such as "the universal presence", "the speaking voice" and "the gaze of the soul", reverts my imagination into new revelations of new avenues towards my personal pursuit of Christ. The pursuit of God is somewhat incongruous when the idea that God is all around us. Although this thought seems out of place, Tozer's passionate writing guides the reader into a new paradigm of one's spiritual emptiness to a road of divine passages of greater revelations to God.
Four Key approaches Tozer Recommends to Draw Close to God
The design of the book is constructed in a way that he provides the reader with as many as ten key concepts; four of them are fundamentally heavy in my personal pursuit of God. These areas are: the pursuit of a personal experience and relationship with God; the pursuit of hearing and discerning God’s voice; the pursuit of God’s omniscience and omnipresent existence; and finally the pursuit of meekness and resting in God’s yoke.
In the quest to find who God is has a beginning. The basics of Christianity is the acceptance of Jesus Christ, that he died on the cross for our sins as “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2, NKJV) The revelation of his death and resurrection and all awhile knowing that the Creator, God, can possibly damn a person into the darkness of the pit of hell makes one decide on their eternal consequence. This basic knowledge starts the new baby Christian into a life full of hope and belief of something greater than oneself. This new journey into eternity can sometimes be daunting if that new creation has no direction. In the pursuit of God, finding the path of a personal experience with the most Holy and High God is vital in seeking this revelation of who God truly is. If a person has not established the personality of God, it becomes a religion; something that is done on a regular basis without any consequence of not fully experiencing the intimate relationship with God the Father. The danger of missing the personal point, according to Tozer, is that many Christians fall in love with “an ideal and (is) loyal to a mere principle” rather than the “loving Personality (that) dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene”. Once we fully grasp the concept of knowing God on a personal level; someone who walks with us, talks with us, and hears us changes our original pattern of belief that God is only in the heavens, only co-existing with angels up above. This insight causes the new believer to seek God and ask for spiritual eyes to be opened; new ears to hear the voice of God.
The audible voice of God can only be discerned when one is actually in line with the will of God. Since God is a personal God, He is able to speak to His believers in a clear voice so that they know what it is that God wants from them. We are all capable to hear that still small voice that speaks to us in a personal way. God continually speaks to his chosen ones, using methods that are easily acceptable to mere humans. His words are visually communicated through the creation of the bible. The bible speaks volumes in terms of who God is. It is filled with many true stories of the past and future manifestations of what is about to happen. The first chapter of the book of John states how the word of God was and is God. In this book of life, all things are created and it is a witness of the light that is God. The issues most Christians have is the ability to have two way conversations with the Creator, whereas most are only having one-way discussions to God. God’s word clearly states to “be still and know that I am God”. (Psalms 46:10) To listen to that voice takes practice and heading to his direction takes discipline.
Knowing that we have a personal relationship and being able to hear God gives us the idea of God is in attendance wherever and whenever we need him. He has never left our side; He does not solely exist in the heavenly realms surrounded by heavenly creatures. In the chapter titled “the universal presence” he states that “God dwells in His creation and is everywhere indivisibly present in all His works.” He is all around. This key concept allows the new believer to know that God is here. This omnipresence instills faith as well as a fear of God that makes one aware of the consequences of doing what is right or wrong. To be prosperous in the pursuit of God as a complete universal being, one must know that “He is forever seeking to manifest Himself to us. The revelation of God to any man is not God coming from a distance upon a time to pay a brief and momentous visit to the man’s soul.”
As believers we should be humbled in the fact that God seeks us, as much as we desire to seek Him. This idea of “prevenient grace” which is this idea “that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man” provides hope that not all is lost in the world. The Sovereignty of God is so powerful that we cannot escape His reality that God loves his people and created them each personally. In this revelation, we must pursue the meekness and resting in God’s yoke. It is common to think of a yoke as a heavy and burdensome task, but with God, He desires us to be united in him which will ultimately free us from bondage that weighs us down. It is ironic to most as the yoke of slavery is a cumbersome commission. The freedom from being set free from the bondages of pride and artificiality creates meekness in the believer that they can be at liberty to be a bondservant to Christ Jesus. The release of these burdens allows God’s light to fully shine and the hostage of sin permitted to serve God unconditionally.
Application of Two of Tozer’s Approaches to My Life and/or Ministry
The first application of Tozer’s approaches to my ministry is the ability to seek and hear God’s voice. I hope to pursue God continuously in prayer, worship, and reading of His word. For me this can be challenging for I do not spend the quality time necessary in relationship with Him to fully grasp what He wants me to see, hear, and feel. Because of the personal relationship that I have is somewhat fairly new to me; I feel that this area is one that needs constant attention. This is the foundation of my life and ministry. If I am to have an effective and successful ministry working with the youth, especially the young teenage girls, I must be in constant communion with my Lord and Savior.
The other application in the Pursuit of God is the pursuit of meekness and rest in God’s yoke. It is another challenge for me to let go of my pride and artificially. For the past 15 years, I’ve lived in Southern California where being fake and plastic is the norm. Many typical Californians have the attitude of “faking it to make it” to accomplish selfish desires. The pursuit of the American Dream is prevalent in this area of the United States. I hope to drop these shades of fear and forged realities to be able to relate to the lost and future generation of leaders. The young people must see the raw and real self that is not perfect but full of God’s grace and mercy. Tozer’s spoke of “the meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself.” Knowing that I am completely unworthy of His death at the cross but being confident in Christ’s power to overcome the impossible is too great for me to miss out on leaving on those shades of imperfections on! I will strive to pursue God in a way that is both humbling but assured of God’s perfect love and power.
Summary and close
In reading the Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, I was not able to fully grasp the concepts until I completed this book report. I did not allow the Holy Spirit to pierce my conceptions of how to pursue God. The point at which I completely grasped the ideas of this reading is upon application. These key elements of knowing God personally, hearing is voice, being fully aware of his presence, and to be humbled and resting in his yoke, are essential to effectively finding that path of pursuing our Heavenly Father.
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