I have completed A.W. Tozer’s God Tells the Man Who Cares and would like to share one final excerpt. I believe that the chapter We Are Becoming What We Love held perhaps the greatest blessing for me. The copy that I have opens with a quotation from Chrysostom “To be another than I am I must abandon that I am.” Luther, Edwards, Wesley, Tozer among many others wrote significant pieces regarding the relationship of the will, intellect, emotions. It is a vital and profound subject for each child of God to ponder. What do we love and what is it making us into?
We are all in the process of becoming. We have already moved from what we were to what we are, and we are now moving toward what we shall be. . .
Not only are we all becoming; we are becoming what we love. We are to a large degree the sum of our loves and we will of moral necessity grow into the image of what we love most; for love is among other things a creative affinity; it changes and molds and shapes and transforms. It is without doubt the mosst powerful agent affecting human nature next to the direct action of the Holy Spirit of God within the soul.
What we love is therefore not a small matter to be lightly shrugged off; rather it is of present, critical and everlasting importance. It is prophetic of our future. It tells us what we shall be, and so predicts accurately our eternal destiny.
Loving wrong objects is fatal to spiritual growth; it twists and deforms the life and makes impossible the appearing of the image of Christ in the soul. It is only as we love right objects that we become right, and only as we go on loving them that we continue to experience a slow but continuous transmutation toward the objects of our purified affection.
. . . The love we have for God is not the love of feeling, but the love of willing. Love is within our power of choice, otherwise we would not be commanded to love God nor be held accountable for not loving Him.
The taking over of the romantic love ideal into our relation to God has been extremely injurious to our Christian lives. The idea that we should “fall in love” with God is ignoble, unscriptural, unworthy of us and certainly does no honor to the Most High God. We do not come to love God by a sudden emotional visitation. Love for God results from repentance, amendment of life and a fixed determination to love Him. As God moves more perfectly into the focus of our hearts our love for Him may indeed rise and swell within us till like a flood it sweeps everything before it.
Now I would hasten to disclaim all sympathy with the popular salvation-by-willpower cult. I am in radical disagreement with all forms of quasi-Christianity that depnt upon the “latent power within us” or trust to “creative thinking” instead of to the power of God. All these paperthin religious philosophies break down at the same place–in the erroneous assumption that the stream of human nature can be made to run backward up over the falls. This it can never do. “Salvation is of the Lord.”
For His own children our Heavenly Father has provided right moral objects for admiration and love. These are to God as the colors in the rainbow round about the throne. They are not God but they are nearest to God; we cannot love Him without loving them and as we love them we are enabled to love Him more. What are they?
The first is righteousness. . . The next is wisdom. . . Another object for Christian love to fix upon is truth. . . It is unnecessary to name or try to name all the other good and holy things God has approved as our models. The Bible sets them before us–mercy, kindess, purity, humility and many more, and the Spirit-taught souls will know what to do about them.
The sum of it all seems to be that we should cultivate interest in and love for the morally beautiful. Was that why Paul wrote to the Philippians (4:8) “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”?