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This is another installment in a series that has been adapted from my 11-part MP3 teaching series on A. W. Tozer’s spiritual classic, The Pursuit of God.

If the longing after God is primary and strong, you will want to do something about it. Tozer suggests two things. “First of all, he should put away all defense and make no attempt to excuse himself either in his own eyes or before the Lord.” You are to begin by being totally honest with God. Trying to talk God into accepting your sub-standard attic junk, while hiding your heart’s most cherished treasure from view, will not do. The Holy Spirit was not fooled when Ananias and Sapphira tried it; I’m quite sure he won’t fall for our clumsy attempts. He knows everything before we know anything. He knows that we are terrified of laying down the “Isaacs” of our lives and losing them forever. So give up every deceitful trick your heart tries and courageously approach God with your hands open and ready to release everything to him.

Secondly, not only must you be honest with God about your struggle to let go, but you need to remember that this is holy business. You dare not approach this sacred work as if it were simply a casual matter of cleaning out a cluttered closet. No, you are dealing with a place where the King of kings wishes to reign. Thus, in giving up all the things that occupy your heart, you are making room for the One who bought the right to make it his home. Therefore, this undertaking requires sobriety of spirit and focus of discipline. As Tozer writes, “It may be that he will need to become specific (about the “ands” and the Isaacs), to name things and people by their names one by one. If he will become drastic enough he can shorten the time of his travail from years to minutes and enter the good land long before his slower brethren who coddle their feelings and insist upon caution in their dealings with God.”

Eventually, God will have your heart. He will not rest; He will not be satisfied until Christ is perfectly formed in you. You can resist the process or you can cooperate with it. There will always be more pain in resisting than in cooperating, but he will get what he paid for at the cross. You’ve probably heard of the “cost of discipleship” – that the one who gives much to follow Christ in this life will gain much both now and forever. But, have you considered the “cost of non-discipleship?” It is much greater. In this life alone, it will cost you the joy of seeing his face, hearing his voice, feeling his presence, experiencing his peace, being used as an powerful instrument for his purposes, standing firm in the midst of anything, and having a hope that does not disappoint. If you’re doing some comparison-shopping, look very carefully at both price tags.

We must, in our hearts, live through Abraham’s harsh and bitter experiences if we would know the blessedness which follows them. The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die in obedience to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from a jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence, as Christ expelled the moneychangers from the temple. And we shall need to steal ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self-pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart.”

Wishing you God's grace and peace,

Ken Boa
Reflections Ministries

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