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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Delighting in God" (A.W. Tozer)

TITLE: Delighting in God
AUTHOR: Aiden Wilson Tozer (compiled by James L. Snyder)
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2015, (208 pages).

What does it mean to delight in God? For Tozer, it means being engaged in the pursuit of God. It means having the knowledge of the Holy. It means longing to be in the presence of God. Though he has never gone to seminary, he has published more than 40 books, which continue to impact many readers today. His voice is a consistent clarion call for Christians to take their faith seriously and to take their worship of God even more seriously. How can we worship someone if we have not known Him? Tozer's passion is to preach about God in everything he does. His passion for God is unmistakable. Ask him to speak or write about any topic and he would eventually come back to God. This book is meant to stir our hearts with deeper longing for God.

The eighteen chapters in this book deal with perceptions that would affect how we delight in God. A man of God will naturally gravitate to want to love God. The basis of all of our perceptions in grounded in the theology of God. It is the foundational truth that enables us to pursue rightly after God. The Church incubates the Christian education needed by believers. Tozer prefers the word "reformation" over "revival" because true growth in the evangelical church comes not from charged up energy but from a renewed sense of God. Our worship can only grow when our perceptions of God are accurate. He points out some of the mistakes that lead to our erroneous perceptions of God.
  1. Wrong Presumption: We assume what was in the Bible will automatically be in us. We need the Holy Spirit to convict us with the Word.
  2. Spiritual laziness: How do we get people to thirst for God when they are too lazy to think?
  3. Love for the World: We let the world standards define our levels of spirituality.
  4. Unwillingness to die to the flesh.

Readers are exhorted to let our relationship with God be central in all of our thinking; the basics in all of our living; and God being the preeminent in all of our working. This is crucial because as Christians, such perceptions of God are to drive our everything. It influences our relationship with God. We learn to see God's perceptions with God's truth. We see God's grace, mercy, and love. In Jesus Christ, we are filled. We learn to pray not on our own understanding but with the guidance of the understanding of God. It is personal, not ritualistic. It is a dialogue rather than a monologue. In one of the chapters, Tozer shared of his little prayer book where he recorded an incident where he used to ride on the trains without paying. Once he was converted, he was convicted. He decided to confess his wrongdoings and offered to pay back all the owed money to the traffic manager. He wrote a letter stating the reason for his confession: His conversion to Christ and his desire to obey Christ. To his surprise, he got a reply which not only acknowledged his conversion, it also came with a full forgiveness of all his train dues! Every chapter ends with a classic hymn. Every chapter flows with that one big idea: God.

More than 50 years after his death, this book is supposed to be the sequel to his bestselling book, "The Knowledge of the Holy." It takes the dedication of James L. Snyder, an authority in the study of the life of Tozer to put together this book of never before published writings. It reminds me of this powerful writer whose impact in the lives of many people is a result of God's impact on him. We can have all the books and schools but without the hunger for learning, what good are they? Tozer gets it right to point us to the heart of faith. Without this heart, all of our doings and workings are like resounding gongs and clanging cymbals. Without this passion for God, all of our activities are like empty vessels that make a lot of noise. Although Tozer has never gone to seminary, he does not dismiss the importance of Bible schools and theological colleges. On the contrary, he urges everyone to do whatever they can to learn and to desire more for God. This book shows us that desiring after God is even more desirable when we have our delight in God. Without this delight, we would have placed the cart before the horse. No matter how hard we serve, how much time we sacrifice, and how much charity we do, without God at the center of all our thoughts, our hopes, and our dreams, all of those acts are nothing. Let me close with this central theme of Tozer's in this book.

"Whenever you find a man of God, you will also find an overwhelming passion for God that is almost beyond control. Not a curiosity about God, but a deep passion to experience God in all of His fullness. To know God is the one passion that drives a man into the very heart of God." (13)

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Bethany House Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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