Book Reviews

"Apprehending God"

April - May 2005 014

O God, quicken to life every power within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things. Open my eyes that I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste Thee and know that Thou art good. Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been. Amen. (Tozer, The Pursuit of God, 59)

But why do the very ransomed children of God themselves know so little of that habitual, conscious communion with God which Scripture offers? The answer is because of our chronic unbelief. Faith enables our spiritual sense to function. Where faith is defective the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things. (Tozer, 52)

This faith isn’t the same thing as what faith-healers keep telling us we are lacking. That “faith” is actually imagination, “positive thinking”, daydreaming, usually based on what we want. No, real faith–belief that what God says is true, belief that the spiritual kingdom of heaven is real even though we can’t see it–is based on the One Absolute reality, the fact that God is God, and He would be who He is apart from my recognition. It’s not one of those “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”– No, God is real, and he is speaking, and if we can’t hear the tree fall it’s because we’re spiritually deaf.

Faith lives with a conscious acknowledgment of the spiritual realities. All my life I have lived with attention to the spiritual, but unfortunately I think most of that attention has been given to the imaginary rather than the real.

For example, life is not all about me. The reality of God is so much bigger than little old me. His ways are higher, and His purpose so much more vast. Yet I think on the way to the knowledge of God as personal (and He is a personal God), and the realization that He actually cares about us, it is possible for us to develop a pattern of faith whereby our faith is based on what we want God to do for us. This type of faith is a faith that concerns itself with improving quality of life, “finding my place,” being vindicated against my unjust enemies, and so on. I think my faith can so often become self-centered in this manner. I know I’ve prayed for God to heal my knee (and I’ve seen another person go forward to get prayer for 20/20 vision so he wouldn’t have to wear contacts when he surfs…).

While I do believe God concerns himself with our daily lives, I think living a lifestyle where our faith seeks what we can get out of it rather than where our faith seeks to know more and more of God’s character, is kind of a one-sided relationship, don’t you?

The Pursuit of God is all about experiencing God personally, but we have to make sure that we’re submitting our minds to Christ, so that this experience is based on Reality and not imagination.

~May 7, 2005, Brown’s Hole, Chico


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