Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Conclusion of the Matter

I'm not a very good closer. Whenever I write reports for work I always get stuck at the conclusion. Even my blog posts will often ramble on for one or two paragraphs too many because I don't know how to finish my thoughts. I can't even imagine trying to conclude and summarize the themes of a book.

This is the last week we're discussing A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God and concluding with his chapter, The Sacrament of Living. It is a lofty goal to even begin to describe the holiness of God and then to follow up with practical application to pursue that holiness in our own unique spiritual walks. So I have to admit I was expecting this last chapter to summarize the rest of the book and leave me, the reader, with marching orders to go forward in my own pursuit of God.

Just looking at the chapter titles, you can tell Tozer is building his case: Following Hard After God, The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing, Removing the Veil, Apprehending God, The Universal Presence, The Speaking Voice, The Gaze of the Soul, Restoring the Creator-creature Relation, Meekness and Rest, and finally The Sacrament of Living.

I often state that Romans 12 gives most comprehensive description of Christian living in the Bible- talking about sanctification, humility, applying our spiritual gifts, generosity, and forgiveness. But that chapter doesn't just come out of nowhere. It begins "Therefore..." The lifestyle Paul describes in Romans 12 requires Romans chapters 1-11. "Therefore, in view of God's mercy..." There it is, our Christianity needs to be motivated by God's character and what he has done on our behalf. "Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1) Paul could have stopped there.

So how does Tozer conclude his premise of the pursuit of God? What does he write after his "therefore"?

"the sacramental quality of every day living." (pg 90)

Like I said, I was expecting some lofty conclusion, some kind of new wisdom that I could apply to my own spirituality. Yet I should not have been surprised that Tozer came to the same conclusion as Paul (and Solomon for that matter): that our lives, our everyday lives, should be lived for the glory of God. That is how you pursue God, by seeking to glorify him in all things no matter how big or small, how routine or extraordinary, how mundane or exciting. A fitting end for this blog as well, whose overall theme is that of living out our faith in the day-to-day.

"We must practice living to the glory of God, actually and determinedly." (pg 87)

Tozer closes with this prayer:

Lord, I would trust thee completely; I would be altogether Thine; I would exalt Thee above all. I desire that I may feel no sense of possessing anything outside of Thee. I want constantly to be aware of Thy overshadowing Presence and to hear Thy speaking Voice. I long to live in restful sincerity of heart. I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thought may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship. Therefore I pray in the words of Thy great servant of old, 'I beseech Thee so far to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee.' And all this I confidently believe Thou wilt grant me through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.

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.


jasonS said...

I hadn't considered it, but you're right. There was not any real summation from the book. Tozer sort of presented his findings and left it to us. That's like a lot of life I guess. No easy answers in following hard after God, but there is much to be gained in knowing Him more deeply. Thanks so much for joining with us in these discussions, Frank. Blessings to you!

Fatha Frank said...

A lot like life is right. we take the lessons learned and it's is up to us to apply them and grow from them. Thanks for allowing me to tag along on this journey.