Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

What It Means to Delight in God

  • A.W. Tozer
  • Published Dec 03, 2015
What It Means to Delight in God

Jesus Christ Is Central
The old devotional writers used to emphasize that Christ is to the church what the soul is to the body. You know what the soul is to the body; it is that which gives it life, and when the soul flees the body, it cannot keep the body alive. When the soul is gone, then the embalmer takes over, and in the church of Christ—any church, anywhere, of any denomination, whatever it may call itself—as long as Christ is there, imparting life to that redeemed company, you have the church. Christ is central in His church. He holds it together, and in Him it appears.

Jesus Christ Is Basic
The next word is basicality. I do not think there is such a word; I made it up. But if there is not such a word, there ought to be. What I mean is that Jesus Christ is basic to the church. He is underneath it, and the whole redeemed company rests on the Lord Jesus Christ. I think I might be able to go around the world and simply cry, “Christ is enough.”

What weakens us in evangelical circles is that we put a plus sign after Christ. Christ plus something else. It is always the pluses that ruin our spiritual lives. It is always the additions, or the additives, as we say now, that weaken the church. Remember that God has declared that His Son, Christ, is sufficient. He is the way, the truth, and the life; He is wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. He is the wisdom of God and the power of God that gathers onto himself all things, and in Him all things consist so that we do not want Jesus Christ plus something else, or Jesus Christ and something else. We must never put an andafter Christ, waiting for something else, or Christ with a dash, leading to something else. We must preach Christ, for Christ is enough.

We of the evangelical faith—which is, I believe and have always believed, to be the faith of our fathers and the biblical faith—should not put Christ plusscience or Christ plusphilosophy or Christ pluspsychology or Christ pluseducation or Christ plus anything else, but Christ alone. These other things may have their place and be used, just as you can throw sand into vats where they are making glass and it will all melt. We can use all these things, but we are not leaning on any of them. We are resting on Him who is basic to the faith of our fathers.

Christ Is Preeminent
Then we have the word preeminent—that Christ might be preeminent and placed above all things. Let us think of Jesus Christ above all things, underneath all things, outside of all things, and inside of all things. He is above all things but not pushed up. He is beneath all things but not pressed down. He is outside of all things but not excluded, and inside but not confined. He is above all presiding, beneath all upholding, outside of all embracing, and inside of all building.

We are committed to Jesus Christ, our Lord, alone. Our relationship to Christ is all that matters, really. I believe that a true Christian’s faith is an attachment to the person of Christ in total commitment to Him.

Several things are involved in this attachment to the person of Jesus Christ.

There is an intellectual attachment. To follow Jesus Christ forward in complete commitment, total commitment, means there has to be an intellectual attachment to Christ; that is, we cannot run on our feelings or wisps of poetic notions about Christ. We have a good many bogus Christs among us these days, and I believe that as followers of the Lamb, we are obligated to point out these bogus Christs, show them up for what they are, and then point to the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

We must warn people today that if they have an imaginary Christ and are satisfied with an imaginary Christ, then they must be satisfied with an imaginary salvation. That seems to be the bottom line with us. Our salvation is no better than our perception of Christ. If that perception is flawed, our salvation is also flawed.

In our world today, there are many Christs, many Lords, and many Gods. We have a knack for dreaming up a God of our imagination that satisfies us at the time. However, our message is that there is only one Christ, and those who follow Christ have an attachment to Him that is an intellectual attachment, that is, they know Christ theologically.

There is the romantic Christ of the female novelist, the sentimental Christ of the half-converted cowboy, the philosophical Christ of the academic egghead, the cozy Christ of the effeminate poet, and the muscular Christ of the all-American athlete. We have these kinds of Christs, but there is only one Christ, and God has said about Him that He is His Son.

The Athanasian Creed says that “Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man: God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; a man of substance of His mother, born in the world; perfect God and perfect man, subsisting of a reasonable soul and human flesh; equal to the Father as touching His divinity, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood, who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.” This is the Christ we adore, and we must have knowledge of this; that is, we must have the Christ of Christian theology.

I would never have anything to do with any book or any movement or any religion or any emphasis that does not begin with Christ, go out from Christ, and return to Christ again—the Christ of God, the Christ of the Bible, the Christ of Christian theology, the historic Christ of the Scriptures. He is the One, so we must have an intellectual attachment to Christ. You cannot simply let your heart run out to Christ with some kind of warm feelings about Him and not be sure of who He is. This is the essence of heresy. We must believe in the Christ of God; we must believe in who God said He is.

[Editor’s Note: This excerpt is taken from Delighting in God by A.W. Tozer © 2015 by A.W. Tozer. Used by permission of Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com.] 

A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) was a self-taught theologian, pastor, and writer whose powerful words continue to grip the intellect and stir the soul of today’s believer. He authored more than 40 books. The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy are considered modern devotional classics. Get Tozer information and quotes at twitter.com/TozerAW.

Publication date: December 4, 2015