The Necessity for Encounter with God, by A.W.Tozer

                                      “Behold, I make all things new..” Rev 21:5


Transformations: When God comes to town:



            The Necessity of an Encounter With God
                   by A.W. Tozer


            We are in tune with the plain teachings of the Bible when we attach 
            great importance to genuine Christian experience. But I will take 
            immediate objection to the charge, "Tozer preaches experience!"

            I do not preach experience. I preach Christ. That is my calling, and I 
            will always be faithful to that calling. 

            Nevertheless, I insist that the effective preaching of Jesus Christ, 
            rightly understood, will produce spiritual experience in Christian 
            believers. Moreover, if Christian preaching does not produce 
            spiritual experience and maturing in the believer, the preaching is 
            not being faithful to the Christ revealed in the Scriptures!

            Let me say it again in another way. The Christ of the Bible is not 
            rightly known until there is an experience of Him within the 
            believer, for our Savior and Lord offers Himself to human 

           Our shortcoming in spiritual experience is our tendency to believe 
           without confirmation. God Himself does not need to confirm     
           anything with His being. But we are not God. We are humans, and in  
           matters of our faith we need confirmation within ourselves.

            Why are so many Christian believers ineffective, anemic, 
            disappointed, discouraged? I think the answer is that we need 
            confirmation within ourselves, and we are not getting it. 

            I have no doubt that God, in love and grace and mercy, awaits to 
            confirm His presence among those who will truly hunger and thirst 
            after righteousness. For a long while I have been on record 
            insisting that true spiritual experience is conscious awareness
            illustrated early in the Old Testament by Abram's personal 
            realization and knowledge of the presence of God.

  In the Christian Church, genuine spiritual experience goes back to 
            the apostles---actually back to our Lord Himself. I do not refer to 
            a dream while a person sleeps. I do not refer to something a person 
            has buried in his or her subconsciousness. I refer to a conscious 
            intelligence, an awareness.

            The human personality has a right to be consciously aware of a 
            meeting with God. There will be a spiritual confirmation, an inward 
            knowledge or witness.

            I repeat: Experience is conscious awareness. This kind of 
            confirmation and witness was taught and treasured by the great  
            souls throughout the ages.

            Conscious awareness of the presence of God! I defy any theologian  
           or  teacher to take that away from the believing church of Jesus 
            Christ .But be assured they will try. And I refer not just to the liberal 
            teachers. God has given us the Bible for a reason. That reason is so 
            it can lead us to meet God in Jesus Christ in a clear, sharp 
            encounter that will burn on in our hearts forever and ever!

            Genuine Christian experience must always include an
                 with God Himself.
The spiritual giants of old were those who at so
            some time became acutely conscious of the presence of God. They  
            maintained that consciousness for the rest of their lives.

            The first encounter may have been one of terror, as when "an horror 
            of great darkness" fell upon Abraham or as when Moses at the 
            burning bush hid his face because he afraid to look upon God. But 
            reading  on, we learn that this fear soon lost its terror and changed 
            rather to a delightful awe. Finally, it leveled off into a reverent sense 
            of complete nearness to God. The essential point is this: These were 
            men who met and experienced God! 

            Is it not that indeed they had become friends of God? Is it not that 
            they walked in conscious communion with the real Presence and 
            addressed their prayers to God with artless conviction that they 
            were truly addressing Someone actually there?

            The Spirit of God has compelled me to preach and write much about 
            the believer's conscious union with Christ -- a union that must  
              be felt and experienced
. I will never be through talking about the 
            union of the soul with the Savior, the conscious union of the 
            believer's heart with Jesus. Remember, I am not talking about a 
            theological union only. I am speaking also of a conscious union, a 
            union that is felt and experienced.

            For men and women who have met God, we may say that the sun --  
            the Son -- has come up in their hearts, and His warmth and light 
            have given them a distinguishing radiance. They have the inner  

            witness.Perhaps you will agree with me when I say, sadly, that the 
            average evangelical Christian is without this radiance.
 Instead of a
              an inner witness, he or she too often is found substituting  
              logical conclusions drawn from Bible texts. 
There is no 
              witness, no encounter with God, no awareness of inner 


            change. The whole point I am trying to make about the fellowship  
            of a person with God is this: where there is a divine act within the s
            soul, there will be a corresponding awareness. This act of God is its  
            own evidence. It addresses itself directly to the spiritual 

            It is within this context of awareness and fellowship and communion 
            with God that I would comment on three abiding elements of  
            Christian experience and spiritual life. These are elements that are a 
            always  the same among men and women who have had a personal  
            meeting with God.

            First, these great souls always have a compelling sense of God 
            Himself, of His person and of His presence
. While others would want 
            to spend their time talking about a variety of things, these godly 
            men and women, touched by their knowledge of God, want to talk 
           about  Him. They are drawn away from a variety of mundane topics 
           because of the importance of their spiritual discoveries.

            Second, it is plain that the details and the significance of their 
            personal experiences remain sharp and clear with true spiritual 
            meaning. I am not referring to any need or formula for identical 
            Christian experiences. We ought to be fully aware that in the body 
            of Christ we are not interested in the production of "cookie-cutter' 
            Christians. God has given each of us an individual temperament and 
            distinct characteristics. Therefore it is the office of the Holy 
            Spirit to work out as He will the details in Christian experience. 
            They will vary with personality. 

            Certainly, [though], we can be sure of this: whenever a person truly 
            meets God in faith and commitment to the gospel, he will have a 
            consciousness and a sharp awareness of the details of that spiritual 

            The third element is the permanent and life changing nature of a 
            true encounter with God. 
The experience may have been brief, but  
            the results will be evident in the life of the person touched as long a
            as he or she lives.

            We can always trust the moving and the leading of the Holy  
            Spirit in our lives and in our experiences. On the other hand, we ca
            cannot always trust our human leanings and our fleshly and carnal 

            desires. That is why I am always a little suspicious of the overly 
            bubbly Christian 
who talks too much about himself or herself and  


            not enough about Jesus. 

            Then, I am always a little worried about the "hope-so" Christian who 
            cannot tell me any of the details of his or her Christian 

            And, I am more than a little concerned about the professing 
            Christian whose experience does not seem to have resulted in a true 
            inner longing to be more like Jesus every day in thought, word and 


           (Adapted from Chapter 1 of the book Men Who Met God, published b
            by Christian Publications, Inc.)