I'm rereading A. W. Tozer's book, The Pursuit of God. It's one of my favorite books about having an intimate, personal relationship with God. Below is an excerpt from Chapter 5, The Universal Presence: "The Presence (of God) and the manifestation of the Presence are not the same. There can be the one without the other. God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. He is manifest only when and as we are aware of His presence. On our part, there must be surrender to the Spirit of God, for His work is to show us the Father and the Son. If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face. Our pursuit of God is successful just because He is forever seeking to manifest Himself to us. The approach of God to the soul or the soul to God is not to be thought of in spatial terms at all. There is no idea of physical distance involved in the concept. It is not a matter of miles but of experience. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts."
At the end of this chapter he writes: "The universal Presence is a fact. God is here. The whole universe is alive with His life. And always He is trying to get our attention, to reveal Himself to us, to communicate with us. We have within us the ability to know Him if we will but respond to His overtures. (And this we call pursuing God!) We will know Him in increasing degree as our receptivity becomes more perfect by faith and love and practice. O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things. The world has been too much with me. Thou has been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Thy presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me. For Christ's sake, Amen." Amen!
In the last session of the Son of God Bible study, Rick Warren said, "Fears keep us in self-imposed prisons. Practice the Presence of Christ. 'There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.' (1 John 4:18, NIV2011) When God is near, you lose your fear. The more you feel loved by God the less anxiety you feel." I can attest to the truth of Pastor Rick Warren's statements.
My theme for this year was the joyous pursuit of knowing and loving God. I haven't kept up that pursuit. In Tozer's words, the world has been too much with me. I'm committed to spending more time alone with God these next months and to practicing a God-awareness throughout my day. I hope you consider joining me.
"The Lord is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV84)