A.W. Tozer: The Most Important Thing About Us

A.W. Tozer What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us
A.W. Tozer What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us,” proclaimed A.W. Tozer, a visionary pastor and author who pierced the veil of human understanding with his profound insight. This iconic statement, which has resonated with generations of Christians, underscores the transformative power of our thoughts and perceptions about the divine, laying bare the very essence of our being.

This article provides a comprehensive summary and analysis of the iconic quote, delving into its true meaning and exploring how this wisdom can guide us in our spiritual journey with God.

Let’s dive in.

A.W. Tozer: The Most Important Thing About Us

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

A.W. Tozer

The Centrality of Our Conception of God

At the core of Tozer’s assertion lies a profound truth: the way we conceive of God, the Almighty, the Creator of all things, is the single most important factor in shaping our existence. Our understanding of the divine, whether conscious or subconscious, permeates every aspect of our lives, from our moral convictions to our emotional well-being, from our sense of purpose to our eternal destiny.

As the Apostle Paul reminds us in Colossians 1:16-17, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” This foundational truth underscores the centrality of God in the grand scheme of the universe, and it is this very reality that Tozer seeks to bring to the forefront of our contemplation.

If we envision God as a distant, disinterested figure, our lives will inevitably reflect a sense of isolation and aimlessness. Conversely, if we perceive the divine as a loving, compassionate Father, our hearts will be filled with a deep-seated peace and a profound sense of belonging. As the Psalmist so eloquently declares, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

The Power of Perspective

It is important to recognize that our conception of God is not merely a passive reflection of the divine; rather, it is an active and influential force that shapes the very fabric of our existence. The way we think about God, the attributes we ascribe to the Almighty, and the nature of our relationship with the divine – these factors have a profound impact on the way we live our lives.

Consider the vast differences between the person who views God as a harsh, judgmental taskmaster and the one who sees the Creator as a gracious, forgiving Savior. The former may live in constant fear and struggle to find meaning in their faith, while the latter may experience the liberating joy of God’s unconditional love and the transformative power of His grace.

The Scriptures are replete with examples that illustrate the power of our perspective on the divine. In the book of Exodus, we witness the Israelites’ journey from the bondage of Egypt to the promised land of Canaan. At times, their conception of God fluctuated wildly, from the fearful dread of the Red Sea crossing to the joyous celebration of God’s deliverance (Exodus 14:10-31, 15:1-21).

Similarly, the prophet Elijah’s life was marked by dramatic shifts in his understanding of the Lord, ranging from the triumphant display of divine power on Mount Carmel to the despairing cry in the wilderness, “I alone am left” (1 Kings 18:16-40, 19:1-18). These biblical narratives underscore the profound impact that our mental and spiritual posture toward God can have on our lived experience.

The Danger of Distorted Perceptions

As Tozer’s words so powerfully remind us, the way we think about God is of the utmost importance. Yet, in a world that is often clouded by sin, brokenness, and the influence of fallen humanity, our conception of the divine can become distorted and skewed.

The prophet Jeremiah, speaking on behalf of the Lord, laments the people’s false perceptions of God, saying, “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). This vivid imagery speaks to the human tendency to replace the true, life-giving knowledge of God with hollow, man-made substitutes that ultimately leave us spiritually parched and unsatisfied.

In our modern era, this danger of distorted perceptions is as real as ever. Whether it’s the seductive allure of prosperity gospel teachings that promise a God of boundless material blessings, or the temptation to view the divine through the lens of our own limited understanding and desires, the risk of constructing a false image of God is ever-present.

As the Apostle Paul warns in Romans 1:25, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” It is a sobering reminder that our minds, left unchecked, are capable of crafting an idol – a projection of our own making – in place of the true and living God.

The Transformative Power of Knowing God

Amidst the dangers of distorted perceptions, Tozer’s words offer a clarion call to pursue a deeper, more authentic understanding of the divine. For it is only through such a journey that we can unlock the transformative power of knowing God as He truly is.

As the Psalmist declares, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8). This invitation to experience the goodness and grace of God is echoed throughout the Scriptures, from the prophet Jeremiah’s promise that those who know the Lord will find “healing and health for their wounds” (Jeremiah 30:17), to the Apostle John’s assurance that “everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

When we allow our minds to be shaped by the truth of God’s nature, as revealed in His Word and by the work of the Holy Spirit, our lives are forever changed. We begin to see the world, and our place in it, through the lens of divine purpose and eternal significance. Our priorities are realigned, our values are refined, and our hearts are filled with a deep and abiding joy that transcends the fleeting pleasures of this world.

As the Apostle Paul exhorts in Philippians 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” It is this profound knowledge of God, derived not from mere intellectual assent but from a transformative encounter with the divine, that lies at the heart of Tozer’s profound insight.

Cultivating a Transformative Conception of God

So, how do we go about cultivating a transformative conception of God, one that aligns with the truth of His character and the testimony of Scripture? The journey is not a simple one, for it requires a deep and abiding commitment to the pursuit of spiritual growth and the willingness to let go of our own preconceived notions and biases.

One essential step in this process is the diligent study of God’s Word. As the Psalmist declares, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). By immersing ourselves in the Scriptures, we allow the divine Author to reveal the fullness of His nature and the depths of His love for us. From the majestic grandeur of God’s sovereignty, as seen in the book of Job, to the tender compassion of the Heavenly Father, as portrayed in the Gospels, the Bible serves as our guide in shaping a robust and accurate understanding of the divine.

Alongside the study of Scripture, we must also cultivate a posture of humility and openness to the work of the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). It is through the illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit that we are able to truly grasp the depths of God’s nature and the profound implications of our relationship with Him.

Moreover, we must be willing to engage in the practice of deep, reflective prayer – not merely reciting a list of requests, but rather, entering into a genuine dialogue with the living God. As we pour out our hearts before the Lord, laying bare our fears, our doubts, and our deepest longings, we open ourselves to the transformative power of His presence and the refining work of His Spirit.

The psalmist David beautifully captures this sentiment in Psalm 63, where he writes, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). It is in this posture of intense spiritual thirst that we are most receptive to the life-giving truth of who God is and the boundless grace He offers.

Lastly, we must be willing to surrender our preconceived notions and allow our minds to be reshaped by the truth of God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul admonishes in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

This process of renewing our minds, of aligning our thoughts and perceptions with the truth of God’s nature, is not a one-time event, but rather a lifelong journey of spiritual growth and transformation. It is a path that requires humility, perseverance, and a deep longing to know the God who created us, redeemed us, and desires to walk with us every step of the way.

The Eternal Significance of Our Conception of God

As we reflect on Tozer’s profound insight, we must grapple with the eternal significance of our conception of God. For the way we think about the divine not only shapes our present reality but also has profound implications for our eternal destiny.

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John paints a vivid picture of the final judgment, where “every knee [will] bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). On that day, the truth of who God is and the nature of our relationship with Him will be laid bare, and our eternal fate will be determined by the depth and sincerity of our understanding.

Those who have cultivated a transformative conception of God, who have embraced the truth of His character and the boundless grace of His salvation, will find themselves welcomed into the eternal embrace of the Heavenly Father. As Jesus declares in Matthew 25:34, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Conversely, those who have rejected the truth of God or embraced a distorted perception of the divine will face the sobering consequence of separation from the source of all life and joy. As the Apostle Paul warns in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, the Lord Jesus will one day return “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”

The stakes, then, could not be higher. For the way we think about God, the most fundamental and essential aspect of our existence, has an eternal impact that extends far beyond the confines of this earthly life. It is a sobering reality that should compel us to heed Tozer’s words with the utmost seriousness and to pursue a transformative understanding of the divine with every fiber of our being.

Conclusion

In the end, A.W. Tozer’s profound words remind us that the most important thing about us is not our achievements, our possessions, or our social status, but rather, the way we conceive of the Almighty God who created us, redeemed us, and desires to walk with us for all eternity.

As we have explored, this conception of the divine has the power to shape every aspect of our lives, from our moral convictions to our emotional well-being, from our sense of purpose to our eternal destiny. It is a truth that challenges us to engage in the lifelong pursuit of knowing God as He truly is, to surrender our preconceived notions, and to allow our minds and hearts to be transformed by the truth of His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit.

For in the end, our relationship with God is the single most important factor in determining the trajectory of our lives and the eternal outcome of our souls. Let us, then, heed Tozer’s wisdom and make it the central focus of our lives, that we might experience the fullness of God’s love, the depths of His grace, and the transformative power of His presence, now and forevermore.

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