Articles

God Must be Loved for Himself, by A.W. Tozer
 

 God Must Be Loved for Himself By A.W.TozerGOD BEING WHO HE is must always
be sought for Himself, never as a means toward something else.

Whoever seeks other objects and not God is on his own; he may obtain those
objects if he is able, but he will never have God. God is never found
accidentally. "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me
with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13) .

Whoever seeks God as a means toward desired ends will not find God. The
mighty God, the maker of heaven and earth, will not be one of many
treasures, not even the chief of all treasures. He will be all in all or He
will be nothing. God will not be used. His mercy and grace are infinite and
His patient understanding is beyond measure, but He will not aid men in
their selfish striving after personal gain. He will not help men to attain
ends which, when attained, usurp the place He by every right should hold in
their interest and affection.

Yet popular Christianity has as one of its most effective talking points the
idea that God exists to help people to get ahead in this world. The God of
the poor has become the God of an affluent society. Christ no longer refuses
to be a judge or a divider between money hungry brothers. He can now be
persuaded to assist the brother that has accepted Him to get the better of
the brother who has not.

A crass example of the modern effort to use God for selfish purposes is the
well-known comedian who, after repeated failures, promised someone he called
God that if He would help him to make good in the entertainment world he
would repay Him by giving generously to the care of sick children. Shortly
afterward he hit the big time in the night clubs and on television. He has
kept his word and is raising large sums of money to build children's
hospitals. These contributions to charity, he feels, are a small price to
pay for a success in one of the sleaziest fields of human endeavor.

One might excuse the act of this entertainer as something to be expected of
a twentieth century pagan; but that multitudes of evangelicals in North
America should actually believe that God had anything to do with the whole
business is not so easily overlooked. This low and false view of Deity is
one major reason for the immense popularity God enjoys these days among
well-fed Westerners.

The teaching of the Bible is that God is Himself the end for which man was
created. "Whom have I in heaven but thee?" cried the psalmist, "and there is
none upon earth that I desire beside thee" (Psa. 73: 25) . The first and
greatest commandment is to love God with every power of our entire being.
Where love like that exists there can be no place for a second object. If we
love God as much as we should surely we cannot dream of a loved object
beyond Him which He might help us to obtain.
Bernard of Clairvaux begins his radiant little treatise on the love of God
with a question and an answer. The question, Why should we love God? The
answer, Because He is God. He develops the idea further, but for the
enlightened heart little more need be said. We should love God because He is
God. Beyond this the angels cannot think.

Being who He is, God is to be loved for His own sake. He is the reason for
our loving Him, just as He is the reason for His loving us and for every
other act He has performed, is performing and will perform world without
end. God's primary reason for everything is His own good pleasure. The
search for secondary reasons is gratuitous and mostly futile. It affords
occupation for theologians and adds pages to books on doctrine, but that it
ever turns up any true explanations is doubtful.
But it is the nature of God to share. His mighty acts of creation and
redemption were done for His good pleasure, but His pleasure extends to all
created things. One has but to look at a healthy child at play or listen to
the song of a bird at sundown and he will know that God meant His universe
to be a joyful one.

Those who have been spiritually enabled to love God for Himself will find a
thousand fountains springing up from the rainbowcircled throne and bringing
countless treasures which are to be received with reverent thanksgiving as
being the overflow of God's love for His children. Each gift is a bonus of
grace which because it was not sought for itself may be enjoyed without
injury to the soul. These include the simple blessings of life, such as
health, a home, a family, congenial friends, food, shelter, the pure joys of
nature or the more artificial pleasures of music and art.
The effort to find these treasures by direct search apart from God has been
the major activity of mankind through the centuries; and this has been man's
burden and man's woe. The effort to gain them as the ulterior motive back of
accepting Christ may be something new under the sun; but new or old it is an
evil that can only bring judgment at last.

God wills that we should love Him for Himself alone with no hidden reasons,
trusting Him to be to us all our natures require. Our Lord said all this
much better: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and
all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33) .


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