When I was in college, a pastor agreed to send me books if I would write a page response to each one I read. Every time I would send him a response, he would send me a book. Looking back I understand how gracious it was for him to do that. The second book he sent me was ‘The Pursuit of God’ by A.W. Tozer and it was life changing. Let me try to explain why.
When I went to college I had been in Church my entire life. I loved the Lord and wanted to spend the rest of my life serving Him in some way. Yet, I had never gotten around to getting that serious about the Bible and theology and doctrine. And to be honest, I just wasn’t that interested. I was passionate about serving God, but I was not all that excited about knowing Him through the study of His Word. But slowly the Lord began to change that. He used various means to show me the value of reading good books and studying the text and I actually began to enjoy that. He began to show me that passion for Him meant passion for study, passion for reading, passion for digging deep. It wasn’t about sacrificing one for the other, it was about feeding my passion for my Savior by feeding myself through good study. Tozer’s book really helped me see that and appreciate that.
I don’t agree with everything that Tozer wrote. In fact, I don’t agree with the first sentence of the first chapter of this book. Yet, his writing draws me in and I find in him someone who loved God more than he seemingly knew how to explain. His passion for God, not things about God or meetings about God or organizations for God, but for God Himself is evident on every page of this book. He has tasted and seen that God is good, and he never wants to leave the feast. He is a theologian not because he wants to get a degree or hand out degrees, he is a theologian because he wants to know God. He wants to drink deep. I was drawn in by these desires as a college student struggling with my own identity as a follower of Christ. I had no real desire to be a scholar or theologian, but I wanted to know Christ. Tozer helped me see that a desire to pursue God led to a desire to know Him through study of His Word. Call it theology, call it academics, call it whatever you want, but whatever you call it, use it as a means to know Christ more. Let that desire feed all the others in life. Tozer’s book taught me this and more.
It is a short book, my copy only has 119 pages, but it is packed with powerful writing. Let me give you some examples:
- He closes each chapter with a prayer and I have often repeated this one: “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 for further grace. 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.”
- “The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things.” His second chapter, ‘The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing’, is a precurser to books like ‘Radical’ and ‘Crazy Love.’
- “The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the church is famishing for want of His presence.”
- Another prayer: “O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things. The world has been too much with me. Thou hast been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Thy presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me. For Christ’s sake. Amen.”
- “Religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make a man dear to God. But we may take heart. To a people caught in the tempest of the last great conflict God says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).”
- “God being who and what He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full Lordship on His part and complete submission on ours. We owe Him every honor that is in our power togive Him. Our everlasting grief lies in giving Him anything less.”
Well, that is at least a taste of Tozer’s work. Give the rest a try and take time to drink deep, not of the man who wrote the book, but of the God who inspired the pursuit.