The best of A. W. Tozer, on one of his favorite subjects
Few subjects invigorated A. W. Tozer like the topic of worship. He saw it—like the church has traditionally—as the sole reason for which creation exists.
Worship: The Reason We Were Created features collections from the beloved spiritual writer on this important topic. The church's current worship is emaciated; its thoughts of God are too low. Here is a compilation to raise those thoughts high once more, and provoke the church to true, spiritual worship.
If it's true that we are made to worship God, that it is the sole reason that we exist, that we are most alive when we live for His glory, then reading Worship is more than time well spent. It is time invested in the very foundation of your life.
One of Tozer's favorite subject to write and preach about was worship. Not merely the Sunday morning singing, but rather, a daily attitude of "astonished reverence, breathless adoration, awesome fascination, lofty admiration" of the character and work of God that "should be making every day of the week a holy day and every spot we tread holy ground." Tozer's essays repeatedly return to the gospel as he proclaims God is the only one worthy of our everyday worship: "He became meek because He was majesty. You deserve nothing but death, but He died that you might be called to Him. What a wonderful, gracious God He is." Tozer also teaches of God's receptive and unfailing love for His people: "God loves us more than He values the galaxies ... We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing our ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that He understands everything -- and loves us still." WOW. That quote alone made the book a great read, but the numerous other words in this timeless collection have both challenged and inspired me to pray for my heart to truly worship God in a more fervent way. I want to be awed by His presence, by the life-sustaining words in the Bible, by the opportunity to communicate with Him through prayer, and by His guidance and comfort of His Spirit. There is a lifetime of reasons to worship God and this book helped remind me of this.
I would highly recommend this book to all believers as the subject of worship is vitally important to the Christian life. Many of us approach worship as a joyless duty that we must do on Sundays as we continue to breed feelings of apathy and indifference. When we harbour such irreverent attitudes towards worship, we are being unfaithful to our call as Christians who have been saved by the boundless mercy, grace, and love, of God. Moreover, we are abdicating the precious privileges and blessings of worship made available through Christ who gave His life to bring us into God’s presence. Readers of this book will find Tozer’s encouragements and warnings invaluable in spurring us to worship God in awe, reverence, and joy.
I’m a little surprised when I think that I am about to suggest that perhaps the very best book to read to help you understand modern, contemporary worship in the second decade of the third millennium is a collection of writings by a man who died over a year before I was born.
Aiden Wilson Tozer writes as a passionate pastor and his writing delivers words that smack us directly. He writes things like:
"I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven."
"…I would warn those who are cultured, quiet, self-possessed, poised and sophisticated that if they are embarrassed in church when some happy Christian says “Amen!” they may actually be in need of some spiritual enlightenment."
"The great hospitals have grown out of the hearts of worshiping men. The mental institutions grew out of the hearts of worshiping and compassionate men and women. We should say, too, that wherever the church has come out of her lethargy rising from her sleep and into the tides of revival and spiritual renewal, always the worshipers were back of it."
"Science is great, philosophy is greater, theology is greater still, and worship is greatest of all. For worship goes back of where science can go, back of where human thought can penetrate, back of all the wordings of theology, and back to the reality. And when the Christian gets on his knees, he is having a meeting at the summit. He can’t get beyond that."
The wisdom and insight in this small, 134 page volume is significant. The book is full of inspiration and challenge and should make any believer reflect on their own heart before participating in worship, even though we so easily take it for granted. I encourage anyone to read and be challenged by A.W. Tozer as we strive to be worshipers who worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)
What is the chief end of man? If you grew up reciting the Westminster Shorter Catechism you know the response. In fact, I’d venture to guess most Christians would be able to answer this first question, with a little variety in each answer of course. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
In short, that is what Tozer’s book Worship is all about. Why do humans exist? We exist to worship God. Tozer loved the topic of worship. He wrote much on it, preached often on it, and it was his life message. Although he died in 1963, this compilation of various writings on worship by Tozer was published posthumously in 2017 and is just as relevant as if it were written this morning!
Worship will challenge your presuppositions of what worship really is! Is it about the flashing lights, the fog machines, the stage, the bass guitarist, the electric guitar solo, or the amazing voice of the lead singer that makes worship worship? Tozer wrote, “God calls us to worship, but in many instances we are in entertainment, just running a poor second to the theaters.”
So true worship isn’t about the show, but it is about the heart. “It is to show forth the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. It is to reflect the glories of Christ ever shining upon us through the ministries of the Holy Spirit.” What a magnificent thing worship really is! That is what God meant for Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. He desired them to delight in Him! Sin stripped that delight away. Yet, with Christ, we are saved to worship.
The reason you and I exist, Tozer argued, is for the sole purpose of worshiping God, which is possible to do because of the work of Jesus Christ. God has made worshippers out of rebels! There is only one way to worship him then. We must worship him his way!
I really enjoyed this book. I believe it has the potential to change your thinking on the subject of worship and what it really is! I encourage anyone and everyone to read this book because you will learn that worship is what you were made to do.
A. W. Tozer’s examination and explanation of true Worship before the Lord God will have readers coming to their knees, seeking to fulfill the purpose for which God made us – to Worship Him.
As I am the granddaughter of a pastor, granddaughter and daughter of church deacons and other church leaders I have often heard Mr. Tozer quoted and revered as a great teacher of the Word but had never had the opportunity to study any of his works before being offered this book for review. I greatly looked forward to this study as we had recently covered this topic in church and was eager to learn more. Mr. Tozer carefully and precisely explains what true worship is and isn’t and what is required of the believer that desires to experience it. He begins with what has happened to our worship, both personally and corporately as believers, talking of how worship has become more like a box to check and only to be done on Sunday mornings. I was convicted most certainly when he reminded me that we are to be continually worshiping God, through our every action and word, thereby bringing glory and praise to God in everything. And what joy to be reminded that God allows us to worship Him just as the Seraphim before the throne of God. Yes, God is approachable, Tozer shares, but He is not our buddy or pal. Rather He is Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth and all that is in it, Worship Thou Him! In the 135 pages of these collected teachings Mr. Tozer destroys any false ideas of worship before God and help readers understand just how great and majestic is the Lord God. I took one chapter a day and focused on it during my daily devotional time and this was some of the best time I have spent with the Lord. I laughed, cried, prayed and worshiped in a deeper way and have found that the effects of those special days are long-lasting and close at hand in my mind. I have grown closer to the Lord in my time with Him since and am seeking to worship in everything I say and do. Mr. Tozer does not pull punches and those who read this book with a seeking heart will find new and better ways to come before the Lord and make their life one of worship before the King of Kings. It was bittersweet for me to finish this study as I was learning and growing with each passing day of study. I am looking forward to reading the other collections Moody has put together of Mr. Tozer’s teachings, praying they will also help me strengthen my daily walk with the Lord. Most certainly I will recommend this book to others and pray they will find as much learning and renewal as I did.