Though tired, my mind and heart awoke almost immediately. The words and ideas in the first chapter seemed to speak directly and clearly to the condition of my heart.
A few days ago I wrote a blog post about my desire to strive more in the Christian life: to work more, to want more, to pursue more. The first chapter of The Pursuit of God is entitled Following Hard after God. At one point in this chapter, Tozer is describing the contemporary climate of the church (written in the 1940’s), but I read his words and felt that, in some very real ways, they described by own life.
“Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart.”I’ve blogged in the past about how I find it surprisingly easy for my life in Christ to get wrapped up – lost, even - in the details: various elements of ministry life, church planning details, ways that I can help and serve alongside of Justin. On the one hand, these things are good things, valuable things. The busyness of ministry life is, in so many ways, a blessed busyness. But far too often I see my heart pursue the details, rather than these details being a means to the end of pursuing God.
Tozer’s description of religious complexity where there is an attention to the programs and methods that can so easily become little more than “nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart” resonated with my own longing heart.
He concludes this chapter about following hard after God with this deeply encouraging prayer:
O God, I have tasted Your goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filed with longing; I thirst to be made more thirst still. Show me Thy glory, I pray, that I may know You indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow You up from this misty lowland, where I have wandered so long.