The Most Important Thing About You

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. — A.W. Tozer

I first opened The Knowledge of The Holy three years ago. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it took me that long to read its 117 pages, but only somewhat. Some of that time was spent wandering away from its pages to more seemingly immediate things which needed reading (thus is the life of a pastor and seminary student). But mostly it took me three years because I was brought to my knees by the power of Tozer’s words as they unfolded the holiness of God.

Alissa Wilkinson once wrote that, “any person who can say what you’re thinking before you find the words is irresistible.” This was my first experience with Tozer. Each page I found myself increasingly drawn in to his thundering presentation of God’s character. And who wouldn’t be with sentences like this?

We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to meet God in adorning silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience life in the Spirit. The words, ‘Be still, and know that I am God,’ mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper in this middle period of the twentieth century.

Good thing Tozer wasn’t around for Twitter.

As the title suggests, The Knowledge of The Holy is interested in stirring our knowledge of the holiness of God and correcting our wrong thoughts about Him on the way. And this he does with a resounding sense of authority and urgency one rarely witnesses today.

For Tozer, there is little time to mince words and piddle around in the Church when a high view of God is being eroded day by day.

The loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.

The two paragraphs quoted above are from the preface. Tozer has barely warmed up. What follows are 23 deceptively brief chapters about the nature of God, each dealing with one particular attribute.

I sat down to try and write a brief review of this book, but found there was simply no way to summarize everything it has to say in one short book review. Since each chapter and its subject matter is worth dwelling on, that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be writing one article for each of the 23 chapters of The Knowledge of The Holy. After all, there is no more important subject than the nature of God, so this will be time well spent.

If you can’t already tell, I definitely recommend buying this book. Its one of those classics which were we’re so fortunate to have. You know, the kind you can actually read and understand.

Buy The Knowledge of The Holy from Amazon

Daily Links (December 13)

Duty and desire in The Crown

My wife and I are almost through the first season.

This battle between duty and desire is as ancient as the Garden of Eden and as contemporary as today. When our duty and desire are one, there is peace. But typically we are at war inside ourselves.

We can’t be pro-life if we’re not anti-poverty

This is challenging:

This isn’t to say that all issues should have the same priority. But it does mean we cannot afford to be morally selective. We cannot work to end abortion while being ignorant of, or unmoved by, the social and economic factors that often contribute to it.

Why didn’t God send Jesus right after Adam and Eve sinned?

That’s a doozy, but Randy Alcorn takes a stab at it here.

Daily Links (December 12)

Restoring in-person relationships

I don’t intend to bind anyone’s conscience. The Lord has given each of us a unique stewardship. But recent weeks have led me to take a serious inventory of my social media use. The conclusion: I’ve all but kissed Facebook goodbye. I still have an account, partly for professional reasons, but I’m striving to minimize my usage. I’ve come to believe that posting articles and partaking in debates on this medium is far less profitable than I once thought. I’m seeking a return to more intimate ways to build relationships with friends and family.

How seeing Jesus in Scripture affects our spiritual formation

Simply put, if we’re not reading the Bible to see what it reveals about Jesus, we are reading it the wrong way. Seeing Jesus in Scripture is reading the Bible the way Jesus intended. And if want to become like Jesus we must learn to find him throughout Scripture.

How to minister amid transgenderism

There’s not a lot out there on this topic yet.

The deep-reading brain and the good life

Interesting rationale for the biblical principles to love your neighbor and discern what’s true:

There are no doubt as many conceptualizations of the good life as there are lives that aspire to it, but surely one of the most important pathways to its achievement begins with the desire to seek what is good — for the self, for those we love, for “our neighbor,” for our earth. Such a pathway involves the developing capacity to discern what is good—and just and true—at any moment, under all the circumstances of our lives.

Daily Links (December 11)

How a generation lost its common culture

Wow…

Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings. The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctible outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school. It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide. The end of history for our students signals the End of History for the West.

5 ways we stunt our spiritual growth

This is really good (following this intro there are lots of practical and challenging ideas):

I woke up one morning keen to find time for communion with God. But first my kids needed breakfast. One thing led to another, and before I knew it the day was past and I had not spent time in my Bible or prayer.

With a heavy heart, I realized that in the 168 hours that made up my week, I could hardly carve out one hour for communion with God.

Does this sound familiar?

Read Scripture

This is the daily Bible reading plan me and hundreds (thousands?) of others are doing. There’s a free app and it’s tied in with The Bible Project videos.

Daily Links (December 9)

Finding rest in a restless world

We settle for less than we’re made for. We settle for less than Jesus paid for. We refuse to stop. We refuse God’s rest. We aren’t meant to live this way. It’s a compulsive, subhuman life.

Growth in personal holiness is largely determined by our progress in self-discipline

I’m fascinated by the topic of self-discipline (or self-control) right now. I’ll be writing more about it at some point, but right now I’m reading other articles about it. This has been the best so far:

Let us be clear, if there is no discipline, there is no discipleship. If we do not discipline ourselves, God Himself will discipline us (Heb. 12:5–11). One way or another, there will be discipline in our lives. Given our tendency toward sin, we must discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness, lest we be disciplined by God.

On digital fortresses and the need for face-to-face love

There are lots of articles on this topic out there. I know because it’s one of my favorite topics. But this one was better than most, and it has a biblical tie-in I’d never seen before (the “face-to-face” theme).

Majority of American Christians do not find Bible reading and church attendance essential

Aside from “believing in God” which is obviously unimportant among non-Christians, the values are nearly identical.

…Basically, the only real difference is that Christians value prayer and non-Christians value protecting the environment. Other than that one difference, Christians and non-Christians pretty much value the same things.

That’s a little concerning.

The most important values of American Christians are virtually no different from the most important values America’s non-Christian, but moral population.