Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Pursuit of God (by A. W. Tozer): A Review

I once wrote a blog about how I was going to blog about books. For roughly two months I did not do that thing. Now I shall do that thing, starting with a lovely little book by A. W. Tozer entitled The Pursuit of God.

The audience: Tozer writes for Christians of any age or level of spiritual maturity, but The Pursuit of God will directly appeal to the men and women who find themselves in a pew week after week hoping to be fed. They have prayed for a convicting sermon, words that reignite their passion for Christ’s mission in the world and force them to rethink their approach to faith. For those who have ever ditched church on Easter Sunday because the sermon will be a fluff piece of an altar call for the ChrEaster church-goers, this book is for you.

The layout: Each chapter stands alone, and yet read in order, each builds off the previous. Tozer’s discussion of “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing” (chapter 2) informs the next chapter about “Removing the Veil.” At the beginning of each chapter is a Bible verse that encapsulates the chapter to come: “O Taste and see” from Psalm 34:8 heads up chapter four on “Apprehending God.” Ten pages (or 15-20 minutes) later, at the end of each chapter, stands a simple prayer.  “Apprehending God” ends with “O God and Father . . . the world has been too much with me. Thou hast been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Thy presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me.”

The content: Grounded in simple Biblical truths, Tozer’s writing doesn’t feel mind-blowing. His words are comfortable and familiar, reminding me of a thousand accessible sermons I’ve heard before. And yet each chapter prodded me to focus in on what faith mean to my daily life. In chapter six Tozer writes of God’s “speaking voice” admonishing the rationalists among us: “The Bible will never be a living book to us until we are convinced that God is articulate in his universe.” In chapter seven he defines faith as “the gaze of the soul upon a saving God” and gives a practical outline of how to get your soul pointed in the right direction.

My takeaway (adapted from Tozer’s 9th chapter: “Meekness and Rest”): Pride is the burden born by man, and it is a crushing thing. The labor of self-love is wearisome. The meek woman of God knows that she is a little speck on a pale blue dot, but recognizes that she is somehow higher than the angels in God’s regard. A man of God knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him, and he has stopped caring. This is the rest that Christ offers. He calls it a yoke, but it looks a lot like freedom.

Useful for: small group (3-8 people) discussion or a private quiet-time devotional. Each chapter is roughly 10 pages and can be read in less than a half hour. $7 on Amazon; free on Kindle for Prime users.

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