“We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit….The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him.” A. W.Tozer
Tozer calls this Prevenient grace– “that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man”. As I lay in bed reading this last night, my heart was warmed. I guess I sometimes think that the desire to meet with God has to be conjured from within myself, by myself. And when I fail to feel that, I end up feeling guilty and have even less of a desire to meet with God because of my guilt. But when I read that quote last night, my heart soared!
God is the one to produce desire within myself. I heard a pastor put it this way, “if there is even a little spark of desire, take it and do something with it. Fan the flame.” God puts that little spark within me because He actually WANTS communion with me. He isn’t sitting there saying, “I wonder when Emily will want to meet with me next. It sure has been a long time. I hope it’s soon.” NO! He comes hard after me. He brings me to the end of myself over and over and over. And in those hard moments of feeling helplessness and despair and all I can do is cry out to Him, He is drawing me to himself…because He wants to meet with me.
This beautiful truth causes me to rejoice in my Savior. This is not a truth that should cause me to swell up with pride- that I am someone worth meeting with. In fact, it should cause me to fall on my face in humility that my Lord would even want to converse with me, a wretched sinner. But the beauty of it that I am clothed in Jesus’ righteousness. This is the only way God could meet with me.
But what’s the outcome? Peace, truth, joy, confidence, Christ-likeness. All of this, when put into effect in everyday life, affects the Kingdom for my good and His glory. I am reminded of John Piper’s most famous quote: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” God pursues us for His glory and our good. He knows this is the best thing for us- to be filled with Him. But, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit drawing us to Himself, we would not seek after Him. “Bind my wandering heart to Thee”, I sing!
I dare not ignore the fact that I also have a calling to follow after Him upon His quickening impulse in my heart. Priscilla Shirer said that God often holds his gifts of goodness within hands reach, meaning- I still have to reach. But even that reaching is a gift of grace. So last night I rested in the fact that God desires to meet with me. He quickens my heart. He knows what’s best for me and that’s Him. And once he quickens my heart I must act in obedience. And all of this is by His grace!