“Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.”
It is funny to look back and recognize that I physically felt ill just because I was thirsty. And because I was filling my body with junk disguised as refreshment, I didn’t recognize my need for pure water.
A.W. Tozer writes “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 encouraged to be content with little.” (Pursuit of God, pg 12)
We are fooled into thinking we are spiritually satisfied by church attendance or religious participation. Meanwhile our souls ache inexplicably. We fail to recognize the thirst that God himself has placed in us. “The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after him.” (pg 9)
It would be easy to jump on my soapbox and compare religiosity to the nutritionally vapid soda from my personal experience. What is interesting is that nearly 70 years ago, Tozer observed the same thing. This is nothing new and whatever I write on some blog is unlikely to change that. Instead I need to look inwardly at my own thirst, and my own temptation to drink deeply from that which does not satisfy.
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
In the Beatitude above it is in vogue to translate righteousness instead as justice and miss the point of personal sanctification. The Amplified Bible expands righteousness as "uprightness and right standing with God." The Message Bible talks of having a "good appetite for God." The temptation, besides an outward focused "justice" is a works-oriented trying hard to do good definition of righteousness. I like the idea combining the two translations above as simply having an appetite to be with God.
My soul thirsts for God. I am hungry to be with Him. Where can I go to satisfy my appetite and be filled? My temptation is to look around and try and find some program, some activity, some quick-fix to my spiritual longing. Tozer addresses this too, "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." (pg 15) Simply put, man created religion to satisfy the need to seek out God and his holiness. But it is man-made and can never satisfy. So for every failed method there is an improved program. For every campaign that falls short there is a new marketing program. For every book read and put down there is another best-seller to take its place.
I cannot be satisfied by what the world, even the religious world, offers. Only God himself can satisfy my soul. Only God, God alone. And so I begin this book in The Pursuit of God.
This blog is part of a book club reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. Please join the discussion here and at our hosts, Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. Need a copy of the book? You can get it for free on Kindle.