I’ve been off the mark on two accounts: 1) I’ve thought I was the source of my desire to pursue God and 2) I’ve thought that I could jump back into deep fellowship with God on a moment’s notice.
Tozer haunts me. I think that’s why I respect his writing so much. He doesn’t boggle your mind with deep, unreachable-by-peon revelations of God’s truth. He jogs your brain and heart with blatant, obvious statements, causing you to wonder: Why have I forgotten that? Or even more haunting: Why have I been a hearer and not a doer of this Word?
Day 1 of The Pursuit of God: A 31 Day Experience is titled: “God is never found accidentally.” Duh. That’s quite obvious. But I find myself living like that–like I’ll just stumble upon Him someday in the bathroom, or in the yard, or in my trunk, or in my gym bag. Oh… There you are God. Now that I think about it, it has been a while…
It all starts with Him. That’s reason No. 1 He isn’t found accidentally: He’s always calling out to us. Even before He seals us with His Spirit, even before we’ve been taught to recognize his voice, He’s calling us home.
We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.
I had been off course regarding this idea. At times, I can get caught up in how good I am in longing for fellowship with God. That makes about as much sense as me being proud of my ability to put a toilet to use. I have no choice: I eat, therefore I need to use the restroom! I am a human, therefore I desire fellowship with God.
…it is by this prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him.
He summons; we respond.
But how do we respond? Do we do our duty, like a well-trained circus animal? Or do we really pursue him?
On our part, there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine.
Okay. So Tozer was a little wordy with that one. Jeremiah said it more succinctly: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (29:13). And unfortunately, or I guess fortunately, I know very well what is within me. I know what it means to pursue something with all my heart.
And sadly, I know I haven’t been giving it my all–in more ways than one.
What’s holding me back? What holds you back?
Good ol’ self. That’s who. Gets us every time. Says Project 86:
Grabbed hold my enemie’s neck
And choked till he ceased
Blistered with disbeleif I awoke dead
And when I awoke I couldn’t belive it was me
All the time it was me
We can blame the enemy all we want, but it always comes back to us. We have authority over the enemy, so when we get taken out, it’s still our fault because we didn’t exercise our God-given power to overcome.
But at the same time, it’s not terribly hard to understand why we tend toward taking our relationship with the Lord for granted. Churches have bombed on the whole “making disciples” commission. Says Tozer:
The whole transaction of religions 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.
But again: it’s still on us. We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). If churches don’t teach properly what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, one doesn’t have to read the Bible very long to know that it looks a bit different than going to church on Sunday and praying before meals and sacrificing five minutes a day for devotions.
Cultivating a relationship with Christ and pursuing Him as much as He’s worthy of pursuit–that takes work. He won’t be mocked. He won’t be “won over” easily. But it’s worth it.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God…