The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.
When God satisfies a soul, that soul does not stop seeking the Source of satisfaction. Once an empty, longing soul has tasted true pleasure, it can never go back to the empty cisterns and stay there. In this way, Christians are both restless and satisfied. They hunger and thirst no more, as Jesus promised (John 6:35), and they always hunger and thirst for more of God.
In God’s word, those satisfied with God spend a lifetime seeking satisfaction in God. Those filled with God search for fullness in God. Those who have found God never stop searching after God. An unrelenting pursuit of God defines believers. That is why they keep reading the same Scriptures again and again — to find more of God. They pray for more of God. They memorize passages for more of God.
Our longing is not to re-experience the joy we had when we first beheld him, but to experience new joy through a greater knowledge of him. We are not addicts, chasing the first high because the same dose does not give as much pleasure. Rather, we are climbers, ascending a mountain to see more of its beauty.
Pursuing God with Tozer
A.W. Tozer, who died in 1963, came back to life to disciple me in 2002, the year I began my journey in theological education. Growing up, I never read for fun, and I studied only when I was forced to. However, when God converted me, I began reading the Bible extensively. My first NIV black hardcover Bible was completely marked up, underlined, highlighted, and starred. In all my reading, I was on a journey to know God better, especially to know him as my Father. Having grown up without a father, this was the first time I could ever call someone my Father, love someone as my Father, and relate to someone as my Father.
In 2002, I was not reading many books besides my Bible, but I stumbled upon A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. I was not far in when the following passage greeted me:
The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of his world; we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of his Word. We have almost forgotten that God is a Person and . . . full knowledge of one personality by another cannot be achieved in one encounter. It is only after long and loving mental intercourse that the full possibilities of both can be explored. (23)
“It was not enough that I had found God; I must keep finding him.”
I realized that life was to be an active pursuit of God. It was not enough that I had found God; I must keep finding him. And God alone is enough to satisfy all my longings.
Pursuing God in Theological Education
Because of Tozer, I made it my goal to not miss God in my theological studies. I wanted not only to study about God, but also to be satisfied in God; not only to study God, but also to enjoy God; not only to think logical thoughts about God, but also to be logically on fire for God.
As I studied the Scriptures, it became clear that Tozer’s sentiment was true of the saints from the Old Testament to the New Testament. While the world presents an abundance of sources of joy, pleasure, satisfaction, and delight, the saints herald that God and God alone is the source.
Like Moses, those who have found favor with God constantly cry out, “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). Like David, those who have found him seek just “one thing”: “that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). Like Paul, those who know God make it their life’s work to know God more (Philippians 3:10). Eternal life is defined not by its length but by its content: “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
Augustine made the same observation when he wrote, “Christ is not valued at all unless he is valued above all.” If Christ is not our greatest pursuit in life, then we do not yet value him, which means we have not yet found him. If our souls are not hungry for him, then we have not yet tasted of the bread of life.
Pursuing God in Missions
When God moved me to Minnesota from Cameroon to study, I felt keenly aware of the temptations a more affluent country might bring. So I recorded this prayer in my journal:
Help me, Lord, by your Spirit to truly appreciate the beauty of this city and America only to the degree that it helps me see you. May I not be won by its beauty and miss out on the beauty of the glory of God on the face of Christ. Take my eyes and let them be fully consecrated to you. . . . May Jesus mean everything to me! Spare me, Lord, from becoming more American than becoming more Christlike in my stay here in the US. May the US be the US and Jesus be the all-satisfying Jesus still and more.
God answered my prayer. Through my studies in America, by God’s grace, I delighted in God and became more satisfied in him than ever before. Since then, God moved me to Cameroon for church planting and theological training so that others can have the same experience — not in America, but in Christ. By God’s grace, no American treasures could hold me back from spreading the joy of Christ to others. Because God had satisfied me with God and was satisfying me with himself, God freed me to let the pleasures of America go.
All Satisfaction, All Pleasure, All Delight
Tozer had tasted the freedom I found in Christ. He writes,
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, and he has it purely, legitimately, and forever. (28)
“Make God your greatest treasure, and you will be empowered to let anything go to gain Christ.”
Do you not desire this freedom? Do you not long for that satisfaction? If you are not experiencing God as a treasure so great that no circumstance can steal your joy, then keep seeking him.
Suppose you are not hungry for God, is there hope? Yes, there’s always hope. Love for God is a gift of God. Passion for God comes from God. You could pray verses like these:
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6)
And you can pray with assurance because God promises to revive us:
Thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)
Make God your greatest treasure, and you will never ultimately suffer loss. Make God your greatest treasure, and you will be empowered to let anything go to gain Christ. Possessions will no longer be chains but channels to enjoy your one Treasure. The loss of dreams and loved ones, though painful, will no longer be the loss of hope. God will be all you need. You will have all your pleasures, all your satisfaction, all your desires in One.