Community. Conversation. Connection.

Not Settling for Less

“I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” —William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

Not to sound too negative, but we’ve seen this lived out. Droves of people want to hear inspirational teaching about how to live life, be better parents, handle their finances, or conquer any other worries of life. They just do it without knowing Christ. As I heard one minister put it, they have the principles without the Prince.

That’s a scary place to be, made doubly so because it feels fairly comfortable. You feel like a good person. You try to do right by people and live according to the Bible, and hey, you’re not doing as bad as ol’ so-and-so down the street.

The Gospel is not a set of rules or a “sinner’s prayer.” The Gospel is Jesus. It’s in His name, through His blood, and by His grace that we are saved through faith in Him.

We rightly push for our deeds to match what our mouths profess, but apart from Christ, they are empty.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. —Matthew 7:21

We may talk about the great things we’ve done and how we helped this one or that, but we can miss the point entirely. Jesus didn’t come so that we would have the right teaching and be better to one another. He came so that we would be completely transformed and renewed. He bought restored relationship with our Father. He provided the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to live changed and impact the world.

The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be “received” without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is “saved,” but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God. In fact he is specifically taught to be satisfied and encouraged to be content with little. —A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

God is a person. He is a person that responds to our hunger and desperation. As many are taught to settle for less and “be content with little” as Tozer said, we are missing out on the greatest experiences of our lives. We build a theology around what we don’t understand instead of pressing into to know Him better.

I don’t see that in scripture. I see hungry men and women who not only had a lip-service relationship with God, but living intimacy. I know I’ve too often talked about relationship while trying to figure out formulas, but it’s a dead-end. God forgive me if I’ve ever taught or conveyed anything other than the truth of this living relationship with Jesus.

I want the real. Whatever lies ahead, I will push for the experience of truth, life, and faith. I will press into the reality of joy, wholeness, and freedom. I will run headlong until I find grace, love, and faithfulness.

David certainly didn’t settle for easy answers and vague notions of mystery.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life. —Psalm 143:8

And that cry came in the middle of one where his enemies pursued him and he thought his spirit would fail. That’s the kind of hunger I want. I don’t want to shape God in my image. I earnestly desire for Him to form Christ in me.

What are you thoughts on those quotes? Do you feel the hunger inside you?


Welcome to week 2 of our book club discussion of the Pursuit of God (disclosure) by A.W. Tozer. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, add it in the link widget below and be sure to check out the other entries. Also head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for another great take. Whether you’ve read the selection or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.

20 Comments

  1. Lord,

    Feed me. Nourish me. I am hungry and live in a land of famine, yet I live in abundance for you sustain me -- I persevere for you have not abandoned me -- I am victorious because you oh Lord have defeated my enemies. I depend upon you and you do not fail me.

    (Paraphrase of Psalm 23).

    Draw me ever deeper, Lord. May my breath be filled with you.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..On a Treasure HuntMy Profile

    • Amen and amen, Dusty. Thank you.

  2. I think one of the things that has taken us to this lack of hunger is the easy believism that so many are caught up in. “Just come to Jesus.” No challenge. No discipleship. No commitment. We like the easy sounds of “being a christian.” Those quotes knock the socks off that. The picture reminds me of “Facedown” by Matt Redman. :)
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..ToxicMy Profile

    • I’m certainly not one for making it harder than it is, but when we try to remove all responsibility or discipleship and reduce it down to a one-time prayer? Something is off. God is truly bringing awakening though. I know it and I see it. Thanks so much, Bill.

      Re: picture- I found it online through a ministry and ‘doctored’ it, but I thought the same thing.

  3. Yes, yes, and yes! Great post and a lot of what I’ve been hearing lately too.
    Philip recently posted..God’s Not FormulaicMy Profile

    • Thank you, Philip!

  4. “The Gospel is not a set of rules or a “sinner’s prayer.” The Gospel is Jesus. It’s in His name, through His blood, and by His grace that we are saved through faith in Him.”

    Jason, this is the best set of thoughts i’ve read from you man.

    so much to take in and so profound…
    I do think we settle for less…we want the ends with out the means…
    it’s like that old folk song…
    “everybody wants to go to heaven, but no body wants to die.”
    Arny recently posted..Dead in TransGRASSionMy Profile

    • How do we make it about so many other things? It must break His heart, but then He lovingly and faithfully pulls us back. What a Savior! And I think you’re right, we want the glory without the pain and the resurrection without the death. It doesn’t work that way, but there is grace for us. Thank you, Arny.

  5. “We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him.” and,

    “How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers.”

    Those are two lines that really hit me when reading. Our generation has relied on others, as if they can speak before God on our behalf, to be the High Priest to argue our case. Christ is the High Priest and we answer to the One who paid our debt.

    Moreover, the spiritual interaction with the High Priest is what brings peace, joy, wisdom, and true life -- the better life Christ died for us to have! And yet in our laziness we reason by our actions that “It’s good enough?” Why do we settle for less than a life of perfect grace, which is favor? All we need to do is get out from in front of the TV and quit serving it like it is a god. It is destroying lives and families with the poison that Bill wrote about today.

    The society in general points fingers at others based on what they can see, no one realizes that this generation has become drunken addicts to the world and religion of humanism… The senses have been turned on and the mind has been turned off…

    • It’s made worse by the fact that (like Bill was saying) toxic leaders have encouraged this view of “don’t go after God, leave it to the professionals” because they’ve wanted to maintain control. Not everyone is that way, of course, but it’s sad that any would be! There are bad aspects, but I don’t believe it’s all bad or hopeless. He is returning for a spotless Bride and His word always comes to pass! We can live fully awakened and call others to that joy as well. That’s what He has for us. Thanks so much, Floyd.

  6. I completely agree Jason. But first we have to face the truth of where we are in society before we can have a true revival I believe. God is on the throne, I don’t doubt His power and perfection, I share your heart of trying to wake up a fading heartbeat.

    • I’m definitely not under the delusion that everything is rosy, but like David said, “my eyes will be on the faithful in the land” and “the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me” (Psalm 101:6). I see the bad and the wrong, but if I dwell there, it brings despair and hopelessness. I’ll face the facts and then consider the one who made the promise to be faithful and press into that (Romans 4:19-20). Thanks again, Floyd.

  7. Bro, I can’t even put my thoughts on this one into words. Your post is like manna to me this morning. Thank you!
    Sarah Salter recently posted..Playing Hide and SeekMy Profile

    • Wow, that’s a great encouragement, Sarah! Thank you.

  8. last night at bible study (Yah we do bible study on tuesdays) I taught on the parable of the seed. The seed we sow is a gift that shows how hungry we are for God and seeing his glory come to pass. I know when we sow its usually money as important as our gift we receive from the harvest its more important to make sure that seed is fully accomplished, and when we see the completion of that seed. It shows where hungry for God !
    andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • Exactly, the seed can be anything from money to time to our talents or God’s word. Sowing into good soil produces! Thanks Andrew.

  9. The quote from Booth is convicting. What’s more convicting is that he, like Tozer, Lewis, and many others from that period saw this happening then. How far have we strayed from true intimacy with God and how long have we been away?

    It is interesting reading this book on the heels of Crazy Love, Radical, and Not A Fan- they’re all hitting on the same notes. It is easy to diagnose the problem, the trick is in fixing it. And that’s something we cannot do of ourselves. We need to personally seek out intimacy with our Creator and rely less on religion to satisfy our heart’s desire.

    (Love the Psalm too- I have it on a post-it note inside the front cover of my Bible. I read it before I read anything else.)
    Frank recently posted..ThirstMy Profile

    • I believe you’re right, Frank. We have to live, experience, model, and teach (about and from) true intimacy and what it looks like. To be satisfied with less in light of what Jesus paid is unthinkable. I’m pressing in with you!

      And yeah, that psalm is one of my favorites. :) Thank you, Frank.

  10. Love Tozer, and your call back to Jesus… Thank you!
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted..When God speaks to you at She SpeaksMy Profile

    • And thank you, Dolly!