God

Gems from Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God”

10 March 2023

7.9 MINS

Some great quotes from a classic Tozer volume.

One of the earlier books of A. W. Tozer and one that helped to put him on the map spiritually speaking was his 1948 classic, The Pursuit of God. It is well worth reading and reading again. In his introduction to the edition I have, James Snyder says this about the man and his book:

The writing of this book was for A. W. Tozer a deep spiritual experience. Dr. David J. Fant, Jr. his biographer describes the process: Tozer literally wrote The Pursuit of God on his knees. Perhaps that explains its power and the blessing that has rested on it.

Perhaps the continued usefulness of this book can be attributed to the writer’s great spiritual discovery that to seek God does not narrow one’s life, but brings it, rather, to the level of highest fulfillment.

A. W. Tozer was something of a twentieth-century prophet calling the modern church back to the practice of godliness and to that level of spiritual reality enjoyed by serious seekers after God from the days of the apostles. In the legacy of his writings, none speaks more clearly to our deepest heart need than The Pursuit of God.

Although this is a brief book (just 90 pages), there is plenty to choose from here. These are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton’s terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: ‘The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.’ It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table.” p. xiv

Ultimate Treasure

“I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.” p. 6

“When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking God — and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the ‘and’ lies our great woe. If we omit the ‘and’ we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.” p. 7

“When the Lord divided Canaan among the tribes of Israel, Levi received no share of the land. God said to him simply, ‘I am thy part and thine inheritance,’ and by those words made him richer than all his brethren, richer than all the kings and rajas who have ever lived in the world. And there is a spiritual principle here, a principle still valid for every priest of the Most High God. The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.” p. 8

“The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one root let lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.” p. 10AW Tozer The Pursuit of God book

“We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety. This is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.” pp. 14-15

“Whoever defends himself will have himself for his defense, and he will have no other; but let him come defenseless before the Lord and he will have for his defender no less than God Himself.” p. 15

“If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy, we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God, He will sooner or later bring us to this test. Abraham’s testing was, at the time, not known to him as such, yet if he had taken some course other than the one he did, the whole history of the Old Testament would have been different. God would have found his man, no doubt, but the loss to Abraham would have been tragic beyond the telling. So we will be brought one by one to the testing place, and we may never know when we are there. At that testing place, there will be no dozen possible choices for us — just one and an alternative — but our whole future will be conditioned by the choice we make.” p. 16

Divine Presence

“Everything in the New Testament accords with this Old Testament picture. Ransomed men need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy of Holies. God wills that we should push on into His Presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience. It is more than a doctrine to be held, it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day.” p. 21

“The Presence of God is the central fact of Christianity. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His Presence.” p. 21

“Men of the breaking hearts had a quality about them not known to or understood by common men. They habitually spoke with spiritual authority. They had been in the Presence of God and they reported what they saw there. They were prophets, not scribes, for the scribe tells us what he has read, and the prophet tells what he has seen. The distinction is not an imaginary one. Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are today overrun with orthodox scribes, but the prophets, where are they?” p. 26

“With the veil removed by the rending of Jesus’ flesh, with nothing on God’s side to prevent us from entering, why do we tarry without? Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God?” p. 26

Suffering and Joy

“It is never fun to die. To rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet that is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free.” p. 29

“The cross is rough, and it is deadly, but it is effective. It does not keep its victim hanging there forever. There comes a moment when its work is finished and the suffering victim dies. After that is resurrection glory and power, and the pain is forgotten for joy that the veil is taken away and we have entered in actual spiritual experience the presence of the living God.” p. 29

“I venture to suggest that the one vital quality [the great saints] had in common was spiritual receptivity. Something in them was open to heaven, something that urged them Godward. Without attempting anything like a profound analysis, I shall say simply that they had spiritual awareness and that they went on to cultivate it until it became the biggest thing in their lives. They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response. They were not disobedient to the heavenly vision. As David put it neatly, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8).” p. 44

“The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast-flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar. The tragic results of this spirit are all about us: shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit. These and such as these are symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.” pp. 45-46

“Always He is trying to get our attention, to reveal Himself to us, to communicate with us.” p. 47

Self-Knowledge and Redemption

“Essentially, salvation is the restoration of a right relation between man and his Creator, a bringing back to normal of the Creator-creature relation. A satisfactory spiritual life will begin with a complete change in relation between God and the sinner; not a judicial change merely, but a conscious and experienced change affecting the sinner’s whole nature. The atonement in Jesus’ blood mReakes such a change judicially possible and the working of the Holy Spirit makes it emotionally satisfying. The story of the prodigal son perfectly illustrates this latter phase. He had brought a world of trouble upon himself by forsaking the position which he had properly held as son of his father. At bottom of his restoration was nothing more than a re-establishing of the father-son relation which had existed from his birth and had been altered temporarily by his act of sinful rebellion. This story overlooks the legal aspects of redemption, but it makes beautifully clear the experiential aspects of salvation.” pp. 67-68

“Anyone who might feel reluctant to surrender his will to the will of another should remember Jesus’ words, ‘Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.’ We must of necessity be servant to someone, either to God or to sin. The sinner prides himself on his independence, completely overlooking the fact that he is the weak slave of the sins that rule his members. The man who surrenders to Christ exchanges a cruel slave driver for a kind and gentle Master whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.” p. 71

“God wants us all, and He will not rest till He gets us all. No part of the man will do.” p. 74

“The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, more important than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the kingdom of their Father. He is willing to wait for that day.” p. 78

“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. The motive is everything. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act. All he does is good and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” p. 90

___

Originally published at CultureWatch.

We need your help. The continued existence of the Daily Declaration depends on the generosity of readers like you. Donate now. The Daily Declaration is committed to keeping our site free of advertising so we can stay independent and continue to stand for the truth.

Fake news and censorship make the work of the Canberra Declaration and our Christian news site the Daily Declaration more important than ever. Take a stand for family, faith, freedom, life, and truth. Support us as we shine a light in the darkness. Donate now.

One Comment

  1. Sondy Ward 10 March 2023 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Excellent!

Leave A Comment

Recent Articles

Use your voice today to protect

Faith · Family · Freedom · Life

MOST POPULAR

ABOUT

The Daily Declaration is an Australian Christian news site dedicated to providing a voice for Christian values in the public square. Our vision is to see the revitalisation of our Judeo-Christian values for the common good. We are non-profit, independent, crowdfunded, and provide Christian news for a growing audience across Australia, Asia, and the South Pacific. The opinions of our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of The Daily Declaration. Read More.

MOST COMMENTS

HALL OF FAME

BROWSE TOPICS

BROWSE GENRES