Thoughts on Tozer, Manning, and Love

When I was in college, one of my “insensitive” guy friends shocked me by making the statement that the most romantic thing he had ever seen was an elderly, white-haired couple, walking along, holding hands. It represented, to Mike, the love that still burned after what had been so many years of joys and sorrows, hardships and happiness, sicknesses and celebrations. Whatever they had faced, they made it through, together. And he could just imagine that their abiding love now was so much deeper than the passion they had known in their youth.

 

Today, I see the parallels between that picture and what I want my relationship with Christ to be, one day.

 

Tozer, in his “Pursuit of God,” says, “To have found God and still pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.” It has been some time since I’ve loved a man, but I easily recall that single-minded wanting to spend every waking moment with someone. To be close to that person and to know everything about them. I want to come to a point where I want to know and love God that much.

 

Recently, I’ve also been reading “The Furious Longing of God” by Brennan Manning. He describes God’s love for me. And seeing this so clearly explained, I can’t help but be drawn into it. Who doesn’t want someone to love them enough to say:

 

Come now, My Love. My Lovely One, come. For you, the winter has passed, the snows are over and gone, the flowers appear in the land, the season of joyful songs has come…. Come now, My Love. My Lovely One, come. Let me see your face. And let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is beautiful. Come now, My Love. My Lovely One, come.

 

Who doesn’t want to be wanted like that? To be treasured like that?

 

Doesn’t such love and such longing merit a response? How tragic would it be not to return that kind of love!

 

Tozer says that the very reason that our “religious lives” have become “stiff and wooden” is because we don’t love God the way we should. I’ve complained extensively about the lack of love I’ve seen and experienced in The Church and it comes down to this very thing–when we forget to love God, we lose the love for people, as well. And I say “we” because I am also guilty. It is so easy to get caught up in the trappings of Church–the programs, the routines, the responsibilities, the liturgy, the doctrine–that we forget that our purpose is not these things. It’s not about the show we put on on Sunday mornings. Our purpose is to love.

 

Tozer says, “There may be a right opinion of God without love…” And my conscience is pricked by that. I can get so concerned with being right that I can forget that it’s better to be wrong with a loving attitude than to be right with a prideful and arrogant attitude. Christ says that what we’ve done to others, we’ve done to Him. When I respond to an offense (YES! Even an offense at the hands of church people!) with anger, pride, hard-heartedness, and bitterness, I’m responding to Christ. And how could I dare respond that way to The One Who loves me most, regardless of the offense?

As I read this first chapter of Tozer’s book, I keep hearing in my head, the voice of my friend, John Hobbs, who has always told me to love God and love people. And I’m hoping as I continue this book, to be able to learn how to do both of those things so much better than ever before. I hope you’ll stick around for the journey.

Today is the first day of our book discussion on A.W. Tozer’s classic, “Pursuit of God.” You don’t have to read to stick around and chat, though! My co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen and I would love to hear anything and everything you have to share! If you have written a response to this week’s chapter, please feel free to post the link in the widget below. Next week we will continue with chapter one (we’re spending two weeks per chapter this time around!) and the widget will be at Jason’s.

Thanks for visiting! You are loved here! 

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. I think part of the problem is that we speak of love as part of our theology. Something to be discussed and debated. Something to learn about…

    We know about it in our minds, but we have a disconnect when it comes to applying and receiving it throughout our lives.

  2. “How tragic would it be not to return that kind of love!” The hurt and pain we must put our Savior through… And I love your bringing it back to our love for people as well. I was reading something yesterday that the “fear of the Lord” is not just about reverence, awe, and worship; but fundamentally in the context of biblical history, it is also how we treat others and love them. Loving God and loving others really is at the heart of every part of the Gospel and Christian experience. I’m so thankful that He lovingly guides and transforms us along the way. It’s truly amazing. Thanks Sarah.

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, I think you’re completely right! And I have to confess that while I don’t relegate love to the realm of theology, I’m still learning how to really act it out in real life. And I’m not very good at receiving it, either.

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, one of the most revolutionary revelations I’ve had in quite a while was that “when we do it unto them, we’ve done it unto Him” doesn’t just mean “a cup of water.” It also refers to the love of my heart. I think of myself as very loving. And I really am! But when I’m hurt, which is often, because I’m sensitive, I forget that those who have hurt me still have to be loved, even in my hurt. I forget that my offenders are still children of God and deserving of love, too. And that’s something I really have to work on.

  5. Hubs and I saw an elderly couple the other day and the woman gave her husband a pat on the tush. It was the sweetest thing we had ever seen. I have that with my husband. I am blessed.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Lidia, that’s so cute! When my Mom’s parents were older, they were so sweet to one another, but they weren’t so open about it. It was in the subtle things. After my Granddaddy passed away, when she was going through his things, my Grandmama found little gifts and treats that he had tucked away to surprise her with. And until she told us, we had never known that he would hide little things for her or surprise her with them like that. I hope to be loved that well one day. And hooray that you have that with your husband! :-)

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