Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tozer on Experiencing God's Presence

I came across this statement today while re-reading Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy. It's amazing how this book speaks directly into the heartbeat of contemporary mainstream Christianity, though it is six decades old. Check this out: Concerning the omnipresence of God and its connection to how we as believers experience the living God, Tozer says,

"The practice of the presence of God consists not of projecting an imaginary object from within (your) own mind and then seeking to realize its presence; it is rather to recognize the real presence of the One whom all sound theology declares to be already there, an objective entity, existing apart from any apprehension of Him on the part of His creatures. The resultant experience is not visionary but real." (p. 82)

That's it! To experience the real presence of God, we don't use our tainted, distorted, fallen imaginations to try to conjure up what we think God looks like, and then invite our made-up image to commune with us. That's all wrong. But that's what we do all the time. That's the way we're bent. That's what we gravitate toward! No thanks to mainstream media, we go into our prayer closet addressing Jim Caviezel rather than our infinite God. No thanks to tradition, we enter His presence addressing the image we've seen hanging in our church fellowship hall for 80 years. No thanks to additional influences that will remain unnamed, we address our prayers to a God who looks like a cross between a bad acid trip and the psychedelic effect found in programs like Windows Media Player. No thanks to hit radio tunes and Hallmark movies, we address our prayers to a God who looks like our Grandpa Felix withering away with arthritis in the rocking chair on the front porch. All of these images are at best, improper, and at worst, destructive and unbiblical. Instead, Tozer reminds us that we must simply realize and acknowledge His very real presence that is already there with us, apart from the imaginary portrait we've conjured up. What we need is God Himself. The God revealed to us in Scripture. Not the God of our imagination! Not an image we've made in our own likeness.