Unless I use the expression, “creature of habit,” I don’t refer to myself as a creature but as one created by God. My choice of words symbolizes the human habit of elevating ourselves above animals and lower life forms. It isn’t wrong to do so. After all, God gave man “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” But humans also tend to elevate ourselves above the Creator and to deny that we are lowly creatures of the Most High God.
In the eighth chapter of The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer wrote about the importance of restoring the proper relationship between ourselves as creatures and God as our Creator. God created all things. We all belong to God. We exist because of Him and for Him. The right relationship to God is to be in submission to Him and to see yourself as a lower being.
Salvation restores the right relationship between man and his Creator. But even those who are saved try to make God in our own image. We take the parts of God we like (e.g. love and mercy), toss out the parts we don’t like (e.g. anger and punishment), and sculpt an image of God that serves our desires.
As Tozer said, if we want to be in right relationship with God, we must choose to exalt Him above all else. We must accept God as He is and adjust ourselves to conform to His likeness. As God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” We must surrender our whole being in true worship of Him. We must love the Lord our God, with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.
The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God over all, we step out of the world’s parade.A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
Tozer pointed out something that anyone who genuinely honors God above all else knows all too well. The world does not honor God. Millions of people pay some measure of respect to God. They worship Him on Easter and Christmas Day. They insist that God be exalted on US currency with the words “in God we trust.”
Many people give lip service to honoring God but their lives say otherwise. If you look at what people do, if you look at what people choose, you’ll see that they don’t honor God much. If asked to choose, people choose money over God, they choose success over God, they choose human relationships over God, they choose self over God. The proof is in the choices we make.
Choosing to exalt God changes your viewpoint. God is the center. God gives you your moral bearings. God becomes your pilot. Exalting God is the key that unlocks the door to grace. You see how much you fall short of the glory of God. You see yourself and your relationship to others more clearly. It humbles you. It renews your mind. It simplifies your life.
People don’t want to be humbled. I have often thought that pride is the reason many people do not believe in God. It is in our sinful nature to put the self at the center. Tozer quoted a question posed by Jesus that suggests that the root of unbelief is the desire to be honored by other people. People care more about receiving glory from other people than about seeking the glory that comes from God. Truly, the desire to be held in high esteem by other people gets in the way of glorifying and honoring God.
How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?John 5:44 (Modern English Version)
Tozer closed every chapter of The Pursuit of God with a prayer. I’ve paraphrased his prayer without the “thous.”
Lord, be exalted over my comforts
Lord, be exalted over my possessions
Lord, be exalted over my friendships
Lord, be exalted over my family
Lord, be exalted over my ambitions
Lord, be exalted over my reputation
Lord, be exalted over all
Lord, rise into your proper place of honor in my life, above my friends and family, above my likes and dislikes, above my ambitions, above my health, above life itself.