A.W. Tozer was a fascinating guy. A pastor for 30 years in a Chicago church, Tozer also wrote prolifically, authoring more than 40 books – without a college education. Through his radio ministry and his support of Christian camps, Tozer impacted the lives of thousands with his open and honest descriptions of approaching God through a heart of fellowship.
Two of my favorite elements of The Pursuit of God are Tozer’s comments about relating to God as a person, and his encouragement to see all of life as sacred and potentially pleasing to God.
Here is a sample of the first concept, taken from chapter one of Pursuit:
“All social intercourse between human beings is a response of personality to personality, grading upward from the most casual brush between man and man to the fullest, most intimate communion of which the human soul is capable. Religion, so far as it is genuine, is in essence the response of created personalities to the Creating Personality, God. `This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.’ (John 17:3)
God is a Person, and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.”
While the writing style is clearly from another time period, the message is as fresh and needed as it was in Tozer’s day. We do not need primarily to know more about God, we need to know God. The only way to know someone is to interact directly with them.
“The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of His world; we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word. We have almost forgotten that God is a Person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can. It is inherent in personality to be able to know other personalities, but full knowledge of one personality by another cannot be achieved in one encounter. It is only after long and loving mental intercourse that the full possibilities of both can be explored.”
Tozer’s words are a warning, but also a great encouragement to the person whose joy is not in winning theological arguments, but who thirsts for God’s presence in everyday life.
If you haven’t read The Pursuit of God, I’d invite you to give it a try. One additional bonus is that this classic is available free in many formats, including here online through project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25141/25141-h/25141-h.htm.
Enjoy pursuing God!