By Julia Phillips
“Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” - Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Year B, Proper 25
How do we come to love what God commands? We are a people prone to wander, tempted to laziness, and distracted with busyness. Elisabeth Elliot was a woman committed to listening to God’s leading and following his directions. In her journal, she wrote about Jesus: “He leads us right on, right through, right up to the threshold of heaven. He does not say to us, ever, ‘Here it is.’ He says only, ‘Here am I. Fear not.’”*
Elisabeth and her husband Jim were missionaries to the Waodoni tribe in South America’s remote jungle. Warriors from the tribe killed Jim Elliot and five others from his team. In the face of this tragedy, Elisabeth considered the practical steps of what Jesus was calling her to do. In the absence of her husband and the ministry they had planned together, she contemplated her obedience to God.
Her journal entry reveals how she responded. She accepted that following God’s commands is a continual journey, and that we can love that journey because he is present with us. But our obedience isn’t finished by reaching some milestone or goal. The Lord doesn’t lead us to some destination on earth and then tell us just to sit back and wait for eternity. Instead, our relationship with Jesus is a continual walk, an ongoing life of joyful obedience.
As a child of God, identity is something we receive, not achieve. We can find joy in our daily walk of obedience because the Lord walked before us to Calvary. He walks with us today. As we walk with him, we see and believe that he is enough.
Can you think of a specific time in your past when you knew that God was walking with you and leading you? How did you come to know him more during that time? Spend some time in prayer by writing, singing, or speaking out your thanks to God. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
* Elisabeth Elliot, quoted in Ellen Vaughn, Becoming Elisabeth Elliot (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2020), 253.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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