One of the common sentiments among readers of Tozer’s Pursuit of God is that, even though this book was first published in the 40’s, it could easily have been written today (save some of the heavy wording peppered throughout the book). To take such a classic work and read it as fresh and pertinent to the church today is in itself an amazing thing. To see its contents apply so acutely to our own situation is another. And to see that churches in our culture have not much changed in nearly a century… Well, it’s humbling.
Consider the following excerpts:
The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be “received” without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is “saved,” but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God. In fact, he is specifically taught to be satisfied and is encouraged to be content with little.
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.
In discussing Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac, Tozer states:
God could have begun out on the margin of Abraham’s life and worked inward to the center. He chose rather to cut quickly to the heart and have it over in one sharp act of separation. … I have said that Abraham possessed nothing. Yet was not this poor man rich? Everything he had owned before was his still to enjoy: sheep, camels, herds, and goods of every sort. He had also his wife and his friends, and best of all he had his son Isaac safe by his side. He had everything, but he possessed nothing. There is the spiritual secret.
There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural, it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is. But its outworkings are tragic.
Of idealists and relativists, he says:
Their ideas are brain-deep, not life-deep. Wherever life touches them they repudiate their theories and live like other men.
Here are a few more gems:
God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking. He is, by His nature, continuously articulate.
Let the average man be put to proof on the question of who or what is above and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money… men… personal ambition… self… human love, and God will take second place every time. … However the man may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout his life.
It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. The motive is everything.
The Pursuit of God is a bit of work to get through, even though it is but a short 10 chapters, but the pay-offs are well worth the effort.