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The God we want?

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A. W. Tozer is one of my favorite authors on matters of faith.  I was given the book, The Pursuit of God, by a friend several years ago and my first read through it took me several attempts.  Since then, I have read it multiple times.

There have been several blogs in the past few days that reminded me that as humans we struggle with our perception of the Creator.  Actually, we struggle with a correct perception.  Tozer dedicated a chapter in his book to the Creator-Creature relationship.  What are your thoughts on the following excerpt from that chapter?

Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image. The flesh whimpers against the rigor of God’s inexorable sentence and begs like Agag for a little mercy, a little indulgence of its carnal ways. It is no use. We can get a right start only by accepting God as He is and learning to love Him for what He is. As we go on to know Him better we shall find it a source of unspeakable joy that God is just what He is. Some of the most rapturous moments we know will be those we spend in reverent admiration of the Godhead. In those holy moments the very thought of change in Him will be too painful to endure.

When we try to ‘humanize’ God so that He is more approachable, understandable, or acceptable to our sensibilities, is He still God?  Or have we created a false god to comfort ourselves?

Maybe the root of this issue is captured in this excerpt from the same chapter:

Another saying of Jesus, and a most disturbing one, was put in the form of a question, “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God alone?” If I understand this correctly Christ taught here the alarming doctrine that the desire for honor among men made belief impossible. Is this sin at the root of religious unbelief? Could it be that those “intellectual difficulties” which men blame for their inability to believe are but smoke screens to conceal the real cause that lies behind them? Was it this greedy desire for honor from man that made men into Pharisees and Pharisees into Deicides? Is this the secret back of religious self-righteousness and empty worship? I believe it may be. The whole course of the life is upset by failure to put God where He belongs. We exalt ourselves instead of God and the curse follows.

When we speak concerning God, do we wish to present an image that is agreeable to scripture or one that will garner favor among men because in the end what we really wish is to exalt ourselves through popularity or human platitudes that are more tolerant than scripture is?

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  1. May 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    So true. God so revealed to me in my quiet time this morning that I need to do for Him and I was attempting to please man. Pleasing man only for self exaltation. Thanks for confirming. I too will have to dust off this book and review. thanks!

    • May 23, 2010 at 2:51 am

      SO you have read Tozer’s book? I would like to know what your opinions of it are.

  2. May 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Excellent post,
    I agree that many a man, and previously me, dedicated a large amount of my life trying to please and therefore earn exhatlation from others, parents, bosses, wives, friends, children. God is God, He doesn’t change for us. I know this sounds odd, but my relationship with God did change, when I changed. In seeking God, I was led to the belief that in seeking the approval of others all the time, I was forsaking Him. I followed the Spirit, and the Spirit led me to no longer seek the approval of others, ever!. I stopped seeking approval of wife, children, friends, parents, bosses and began to ONLY seek to please God, and He has granted me the greatest peace I have ever had, and the relationships of the people I previously sought to please have grown closer than ever. Soooooo, In closing, We concur. 😉
    Jim

    • May 23, 2010 at 2:54 am

      It is so hard not to fall into the category of seeking approval of man. We want to feel accepted and needed .. especially from our own family.

      Glad we concur 🙂

  3. May 25, 2010 at 12:10 am

    It is sad that we know so little of the prayer of appeal to God… on God’s own behalf.

    This was the way the spiritual giants in scripture prayed. This is what God is looking for… a people who will appeal to Him on His own behalf… and not on our behalf.

    Very difficult for God to find those more interested in His things… than ours.

    • May 26, 2010 at 1:48 am

      Amen, Chuck.

      You said a mouthful with: “Very difficult for God to find those more interested in His things… than ours.”

  4. May 25, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    “Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image.”

    Amen, amen, AMEN.

    WHY do we humans, the creation, think that we can adjust God, the creator, into an object defined by and understood by our own levels of creativity or logic???

    The end result, of course, is pride. I see this lack of understanding and lack of willingness to find a true understanding of God and His nature as the unfortunate root of people pleasing and other spiritual issues. Because, if we saw God for who He truly is, we would no longer seek to please others above Him, or please ourselves and our own fleshly nature, for that matter.

    Great thoughts, as always, brother.

    • May 26, 2010 at 1:47 am

      You called me brother.. 🙂

      I almost feel pentecostal again. And I thank you for the smile.

      And you hit the nail on the head when it comes to the pride issue which causes us to put ourselves in the place of God… to the point of reinventing Him in our image.

      Tozer always has a way of getting right to the point.

  5. May 26, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I didn’t read the book, but you have a good point here. The God we want. The Bible we want. We try to adjust what we think God is and what the Bible should say. We are so foolish the way we try to explain God. We just can’t understand God, He is God…we use only a little part of our brain how could we?

    Pride…it kills faith, churches, people, families. The truth is deep inside all of us wants to be accepted and loved and appreciated. We try to receive these emotions from people…too bad, it will never work. Only God can sincerely love us, we are already accepted by him (too bad often we don’t believe that) and we are appreciated by God.

    P.S. Nice blog. Would you be interested in a link exchange?

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