O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. (p.20)
With all the responsibilities, ministries, and business that can overwhelm the Christian life and really any life, there grows and increased dullness to the presence of a personal God. We can so easily find ourselves speaking about God more than we speak to God. We can so quickly find ourselves doing and doing for God without being with God. We exchange the glory of the immortal God for a lesser more distant image of God that is uninvolved in the day to day and is unconcerned with relating personally to his beloved.
The God of the Bible, however, is a personal being. He made his creatures to desire relationship because he delights in relationship. A.W. Tozer writes, “Religion, so far as it is genuine, is, in essence, the response of created personalities to the creating personality, God.” (13) This creating personality of God has gone great lengths to make himself known through his creation, through his Son, through the Scriptures, and even now through the manifest presence of his Spirit in the lives of believers. John 17:3 states, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Though we may know that God is personal as an objective fact derived from the Scriptures, there is often a disconnect from that acknowledged belief and the application of that belief in our daily lives. Tozer aims to remove the veil of unbelief and self-centeredness that prevents us from beholding he who is “so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature.” (40) Tozer writes to increase our awareness of God’s accessible and universal presence at any time and in any place if we will only uproot the idolatry in our hearts that distract us from pursuing God.
The Pursuit of God is not a complex theological argument in which each chapter builds on the last weaving together a logical flow. In fact, I wish there was a little more cohesion that tied chapters and ideas together. The book is not necessarily academic in nature either, but nor is it shallow. While his language and syntax may cause the modern reader to pause and read a paragraph over again, this only deepens the understanding and enhances the meditation upon the simple but profound truths that he is conveying. Each of the ten chapters is short and concludes with a prayer of application. These prayers alone are worth the read. They have a powerful ability to sharpen the focus of the chapter and to shape the reader’s response. I would recommend taking a couple weeks and reading just one chapter a day followed by a time of meditation and prayer informed by the prayer at the end of the chapter.
After reading this book, my prayers and devotional reading of the Scriptures have been rejuvenated with the active awareness of God who is truly listening and speaking. I have been reminded that God is personal and that he desires to deepen my thirst for him and then satisfy that thirst with the joy of his presence. If you are looking for a comprehensive theological framework on God’s presence in the life of a believer then this may not be what you are looking for, but if you are looking for a short devotional work to stir your affections for the Lord and increase your awareness of his presence in your life this is a wonderful place to turn.
By His Grace & For His Glory,
Pastor Brandon Langley
St. Rose Community Church