While shopping for other books, I bought my second A.W. Tozer classic, The Knowledge of the Holy. This one was published in 1961, a couple of years before his death (and my birth). Tozer was concerned that the Church was losing its appreciation for the majesty of God and that Modern Christianity wasn’t producing the kind of Christian who could experience life in the spirit. He hoped that his short, simple book would help ordinary people like me have a better understanding of the majesty of God.
We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence.A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
What comes to mind when you think about God?
According to Tozer, “what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” God is “the mightiest thought the mind can entertain.” The way that we think about God predicts our spiritual future. The most significant message of the Church is its message about God.
When I think about God, I don’t have a visual image of Him in my head as I do when I think about anyone else. I don’t know what God looks like. No one does. God is like no one else. He is beyond my powers of imagining.
When I think about God, I think of Him as my loving Father. He is the Father who protects me, the Father who disciplines me when I do wrong because He loves me, and the Father who shows me the right path in life. I think of God as the One who is always there for me, as the One who knows me inside and out and loves me anyway. He is the Creator of the universe and yet He knows my name!
When I think about God, I think of His attributes – omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, holiness. He is the source of all that is good. God is Spirit and from Him spring the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.
When I think about God, I think about what He wants of me. He wants my obedience, my praise, my faithfulness, my humility. What does He ask of me? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.
We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.A.W. Tozer
God is absolutely the mightiest, most magnificent thought the mind can consider. When you consider God’s majesty and glory, it’s incredible that so few people hunger and thirst for Him.
Decadent images of God
Tozer wrote that in the mid-twentieth century, the Christian conception of God was, in a word, decadent. In Tozer’s opinion, people did not rightly revere God and the lack of reverence kept people from humbling themselves before Him. The gospel is powerless unless it leads people to feel the weight of their sins and to see that they fall short of the glory of God. Until you see “a vision of God high and lifted up,” you will not feel the need to repent.
I can’t help but wonder what Tozer would think about the Christian conception of God today. I think he would be horrified. As I have written before, Christianity and evangelism have been corrupted by politics. Today, many people who self-identify as Christian worship a perverted image of God. Their god sits on a throne sharing his glory with the American flag. The one true God has been replaced with gods created by human hands – the gods of democracy, capitalism, nationalism, and guns. These false gods nullify the power of the gospel because those who might otherwise be receptive to the gospel are turned off by the hypocrisy of people who claim to be Christians.
Tozer wrote that idolatry springs from wrong ideas about God. People imagine things about God and act as if they are true. They create God in their own image instead of accepting Him as He is. Oh, how true this is today.
While in Athens (Acts 17:16-33), the Apostle Paul was upset to see that the city was full of idols. He stood up and spoke to the people.
“I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.”
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’’
Yesterday, a couple in front of me wore Trump masks to church – one that said Make American Great Again and the other with Trump’s current campaign slogan, Keep America Great. It’s very disturbing to me that Christians today have such a low concept of God that they think that God would support the lies and bigotry of the wicked. I can only pray that God will open their eyes to the truth of who He is.
As the deer pants for streams of water, my soul pants for you, my God. I call out to You in adoring silence. Show me Your glory.