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Church, State, Life and Love
By Janet Galyen
We have officially entered the 2013 Christmas season. Despite cultural attempts to neutralize and de-spiritualize the season, it will always remain true that Christmas exists all and only because of the birth of God’s Son, Jesus.
I’ve never known what it is to celebrate Christmas absent from Jesus, but I imagine that would feel pretty awfully empty.
I have very imperfectly engaged my life in a steadfast pursuit of Christmas’ God, and my life is full of resulting thrill. Even the mundane and troublesome are made rich because of his indwelling presence. The merits of pursuing him all year, every year are wonderfully life-giving and indescribable.
A long-deceased scholar and self-taught theologian, A.W. Tozer, speaks profoundly of the act of pursuing God in his classic “The Pursuit of God.” I so very highly recommend it for your reading pleasure. Consider the following excerpts from chapter one:
“Man must pursue God… That is where we begin, I say, but where we stop no man has yet discovered, for there is in the awful and mysterious depths of the Triune God neither limit nor end.
“I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire.
“Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.
“The evil habit of seeking God and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the end lies our great woe. If we omit the and we shall soon find God, and in him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing … the man who has God for his treasure has all things in one. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the source of all things he has in one all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in one.
“O, God, I have tasted thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more… I am ashamed of my lack of desire, O God, the Triune God. I want to want thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still … give me grace to rise and follow thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.”