A.W. Tozer wrote his now classic book The Pursuit of God in 1948 while serving in ministry in Chicago. He never completed high school, let alone any college. It is said, by his publisher, that he literally wrote the book on his knees in prayer. He was self-educated and well-read, driven not by fame, wealth, prestige or achievement but by the simple hunger to know and love God that is so evident in his book.
As I read the following passage I could not help but feel that the words he wrote here were calling out “the beginning of an age” of the American church in the post-war years for which we are at now the end. In light of the recent months of upheaval and vast questioning among Jesus-followers, I am praying that the simple hunger for the presence of God in our lives, and lived out in our communities, is re-emerging. Perhaps we are seeing the tiny green sprouts of new revival in this time of such shaking. I pray it may be so, and I invite you to read, prayerfully, this powerful passage from Tozer’s book:
“I want to deliberately encourage this mighty 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 a result of our 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.
Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.
If we would find God amid all the religious externals, we must first determine to find him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity. Now, as always, God discovers Himself to “babes” and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.”
Lord, let us pursue you this week with simple determination and hunger – passionate for your true presence and its power to transform us.
Grace and Peace,