Exploring Tozer

Imagine a little boy stepping into the batter's box to face Nolan Ryan in game 7 of the World Series. An oversized helmet hangs over his little eyes as he tries to hit a 100mph pitch with a baseball bat he can hardly lift off the ground. Got the visual? Good. That's how I feel as I sit down to wrap our week around A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God. Although, it's actually not the entire work I'll be taking a swing at, it's just one chapter. Well, I say "chapter" but it's really just a few pages of the chapter. Ok, so let's call it a few lines from a couple of pages of one chapter. Batter up, kid.

Each Wednesday, I have the honor of gathering with a small group of brilliant men on the beautiful campus of Pepperdine in Malibu. From esteemed university deans to lowly fitness writers, this small group of men pray together, read together and break bread. It's the highlight of my week. And this year we're studying - you guessed it - Tozer.

Well, the chapter I've been hearing from the Lord to write about this week is called, The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing. And if you've read it, you realize the impossible task before me. Nonetheless, there is a blessedness of possessing nothing; even muscle, endurance, strength, breath, and life. I hope you don't miss a day.

-Jimmy Peña

PrayFit Book Club
Today's reading of Tozer

"Before the Lord God made man upon the earth He first prepared for him by creating a world of useful and pleasant things for his sustenance and delight. In the Genesis account of the creation these are called simply "things." They were made for man's uses, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him. In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come.

Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and "things" were allowed to enter. Within the human heart "things" have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.

This is not a mere metaphor, but an accurate analysis of our real spiritual trouble. There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets "things" with a deep and fierce passion. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God's gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.

Our Lord referred to this tyranny of things when He said to His disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it."

Breaking this truth into fragments for our better understanding, it would seem that there is within each of us an enemy which we tolerate at our peril. Jesus called it "life" and "self," or as we would say, the selflife. Its chief characteristic is its possessiveness: the words "gain" and "profit" suggest this. To allow this enemy to live is in the end to lose everything. To repudiate it and give up all for Christ's sake is to lose nothing at last, but to preserve everything unto life eternal. And possibly also a hint is given here as to the only effective way to destroy this foe: it is by the Cross. "Let him take up his cross and follow me." - A.W Tozer

For Discussion: Tozer wrote this in 1948. You'd think he was writing in 2015. Imagine what he would think about this "selfie" generation. But that aside, have the roots of our hearts toward the pursuit of health grown deeper than God intended? I highly encourage you to read this excerpt again. And this time, try and direct its meaning toward our common denominator here at PrayFit. Has our gift of health taken the place of God? Have the roots of our hearts grown so deep into the body, body parts, physique, performance and health that if we pull one little root out, we feel like we'll die?