The Pursuit of God
Publisher (Date): Start Publishing LLC (April 24, 2013)
Length: 101 pages
I felt like reading another classic, and The Pursuit of God is well known as one of the most famous devotionals in history. I had heard a lot about it, and I was certainly not disappointed. Because Tozer was not an incredibly well-educated man, the language is approachable.
The title of this book is really self-explanatory. This book is intended to encourage people who have already found God to continue in the pursuit of Him. It is kind of paradoxical since you generally do not need to chase after what you have found, but Tozer sees this as more of a longing to learn more and more about God.
That can only be done when we put God back as our main focus. In society today, it is easy to become slaves to the “tyranny of things.” In other words, we take God out of the center of our lives and try to replace Him with something else. It ultimately doesn’t work out, and we find out that we need to come back to God.
However, as we do that, we need to “remove the veil.” In other words, we need to not hesitate to experience God as fully as we possibly can. As Tozer himself says, “It is more than a doctrine to be held, it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day.”
Beyond that, God is something that we are supposed to put our faith in as a personality. Tozer argues that God is someone that we can have a relationship with. We can perceive and understand God to the extent that He makes His infinite self known. This extends to the fact that God is everywhere we can possibly be, but many people do not recognize that He is indeed present even when they did not realize that. However, he does realize that only some people end up recognizing that God is actually there while others continued in disbelief.
Is this a matter of free will or predestination? Tozer sidesteps this question.
“God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, ‘O Lord, Thou knowest.’”
I don’t really know how I feel about that approach to the topic because I do think we should strive to understand whatever we can. We might not ever have an absolutely definite answer, but I think we need to continue thinking about them.
Regardless of your response to that question, the point is that God is everywhere, and His voice is still alive today. Although he does not use the imagery, it makes me think of this Great Watchmaker theory. Tozer would argue that God did not just set the universe in motion but still is actively involved in it today. He is still a Voice that is calling out to humanity.
As we listen to God and respond to the aforementioned Voice, we come back to what faith really is. Previously, we are told that we need to have faith in God, but we get a definition in this chapter. “Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.”
He also says that faith looks out rather than in. We are looking out at God rather than focusing selfishly on our own internal wants and desires. When we are able to look out, we can then have a relationship with God in the right perspective because we realize how great He is. We need to adapt our ideals to focus on God rather than tailor God to fit within our ideals. We can only do that when we actually recognize God’s authority.
Once we realize that God is the ideal and we are following Him, we can finally face what we are and accept our circumstances. We know that He will be there to help us, and we can rely on Him. We don’t need to put up a façade of strength or even the imitation of outward perfection. We know that we ultimately have hope and can live for God every day.
This is where the book concludes with a challenge. Many people want to divide the secular and the sacred. Tozer says that we can’t do that. Everything we do can be an act of worship, and we need to display what he calls an “aggressive faith.” In other words, we offer everything we have and do to God and have faith that He will accept them. Even if we work in a field that is entirely unrelated to ministry, we can still use the world as our sanctuary and worship God all the time.
This book is an easy read. You can finish it in a few hours if necessary, and like I already mentioned, his writing style is easy to follow. This book has been praised for many years as a classic of Christian literature, and I can certainly see why. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to explore a more systematic way to think about the journey towards pursuing God. It has very well defined steps that are easy to follow and encourage deeper thought.