The Pursuit of God
in my bible study group (which i need to send out a HUGE shout-out to my home-girls because they inspire me and amaze me) we are reading the book, "The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer… we are taking the entire summer and reading one chapter a week and coming together weekly to discuss what we are learning from the book as well as what God has been saying to us.
Tozer is quite the deep theologian. i was a little weary of reading this book because i thought it would be kind of dry and over my head. after all it was written in 1941. i was wrong. this book is completely and totally amazing.
last night’s discussion was over chapter 2 on the topic of "The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing." the majority of the chapter was on God’s testing of Abraham when God told him to kill his son. it was a testing of Abraham to see if he would choose to place God over his own love of this son and all else. God obviously stops Abraham right before he does so, "Do not lay a hand on the boy," He said. "Do not do anything to him.
Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from Me
your son, your only son." Genesis 22:12
it is all about giving up everything we consider to be "ours" and replacing it all with nothing but God. just ourselves and God and what He wants to do with us.
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."’ Matthew 16:24-25
to deny ourselves is to give up our passions, our visions, our loves and joys so that God can dwell within us free of competition… leaving us with the blessedness of possessing nothing. an empty vessell to be filled with only God and His desires.
as great as that sounds – it is a terrifying. we can’t part with them without pain and some "inward bleeding" and we can’t deny the terror of our parting with what we cherish. to ask God to remove from our hearts all of the things we have cherished for so long and replace it all with Him and Him alone without rival. that is huge.
the most incredible section of the chapter was Tozer’s depiction of Abraham’s "ah-ha" moment when he realizes how amazing it feels to put God above all else.
"The old man of God lifted his head to respond to the Voice, and stood
there on the mount strong and pure and grand, a man marked out by the
Lord for special treatment, a friend and favorite of the Most High. Now
he was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who
possessed nothing. He had concentrated his all in the person of his
dear son, and God had taken it from him. 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. In dealing thus He practiced an economy of means and time.
It hurt cruelly, but it was effective."
It hurt CRUELLY but it was EFFECTIVE.
Lord, You know my innermost desires, my loves, my visions, my joys – almost all of which i tend to seek harder after than I do of You. Help me Lord, to part with these things i cherish, help me to endure the inward bleeding and cruel hurt too so that I can fully know what it means to put You above all else. Amen.