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Pursuing God while in exile…

June 15, 2013

I’ve recently renewed an old friendship with A.W. Tozer.  His book “The Size of the Soul” deeply influenced my life while serving in Thailand and motivated me to develop a devotional for use by our Young Adult Volunteers for the year they were with us.

In Ghana I picked up his “Fellowship of the Burning Heart” which continues to challenge me.

And this morning I started on his “The Pursuit of God.”

With the obvious caveat of prevenient grace – that is that we can only respond to God, we cannot pursue him prior to his creating a hunger for himself within us – Tozer goes on to make the point that once that hunger is created, if it is a genuine hunger, it is well nigh unto insatiable.  The more we partake and experience the goodness of God, the more we desire him.

In the middle of the first chapter (titled “Following hard after God”) he puts forth a prophetic statement for today’s church:

“How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. Everything is made to center upon the initial act of ‘accepting Christ’ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls.  We have been snared in the coils of  a spurious logic which insists that if we have found him we need no more seek him.  This is set before us as the last word in orthodoxy, and it is taken for granted that no Bible-taught Christian ever believed otherwise…

I want deliberately to encourage this longing after God.  The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate.  The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is the lack of holy desire.  Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.  Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.  He waits to be wanted.  Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.”

A hunger for God, for the living God.  A Psalm 42 kind of living in our exilic existence that continues to admit our shortfalls and seeks, longs for, chases something more.  To be born again is to be remade to the very core of our being.  It does not create a longing for health, wealth, friends, a good life… It prduces, if it is genuine, a desperate longing to sacrifice, to do more, to experience the depths of God’s grace which can only come when we are in need – when we hunger and thirst.  And how often we are content with a bowl of Lucky Charms, or even an amazing gourmet dinner when the food of doing His will awaits us.

Tozer closes with this prayer which ought to be ours:

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.  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.  Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.  Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’  Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

As Warren Wiersbe said in “Looking Up When Life Gets You Down” – Lord make us willing to be made willing.  And the question is – “Are we willing to be made willing?”

*All Tozer quotations  are from: “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer

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