Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Rejection of Sacrifice

Obedience to God very often appears to us, at first glance, to mean sacrifice.  We shrink from it.  Sacrifice always involves death, and we reject death.  But the divine paradox, the one we find running throughout all of Scripture, is that this sacrifice ---the offering of ourselves in obedience to God--- always means life.  It is life, nothing less than life, that God offers us, so when we disobey, what we are actually doing is choosing death.

“The Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes and to fear the Lord our God; it will be for our own good at all times, and he will continue to preserve our lives”  (Deut 6:24).

We balk at something our conscience tells us we must do--- “I don’t see how that could be for my ‘good’” ---but God does not discuss with us the how or the why.  He simply makes clear what it is we must do.  Then we must take His word for it that it will mean life to us.  Every day He sets two things before us –life and death.  Every day we choose sacrifice, which leads to life, or selfishness, the rejection of sacrifice, which leads to death.  We can count on it, for we have the Word of the Lord that it is so.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Price of Life

“He saved others, but he cannot save Himself” (Matt. 27:42).  This was a joke among the chief priests and lawyers.  If they had comprehended the profound truth of their jest it would have died on their lips.  If He had saved Himself He would have saved no one else.  The principle is true for us as well:  self-giving is the price of Life ---of eternal life, of course, for it was Christ who first gave His life, and if we want eternal life we must give ourselves to Him completely.  But if we would help another toward finding real Life, we must lay down our lives.  If we ourselves want to live, let us “lose” it all ---and then, miraculously, find.

Help me, Lord, to bring this principle down to where I live today.  Is there some fear of loss?  Some unwillingness to relinquish?  Some determination to have it my way?  Some insistence on what I “deserve”?   May I, by Your strength, let it go, and thus find a greater freedom and a more fulfilling life.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Prerequisite for Discernment

It is not reasonable to talk of wanting to know God’s will unless we have first offered ourselves to Him.  Why should He show us what to do if we have not yet made up our minds as to whose we are?  The will of God is for those who trust Him ---those, that is, who commit themselves totally, who offer their “very selves to Him as a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for His acceptance” (Rom.12:1).  This must always be the first step, followed by the refusal to allow the world to dictate thought patterns.  The mind must be “remade” ---shaped according to a radically different pattern.   Then and only then can we discern the will of God.  Then we will understand that it is, contrary to the view that comes naturally, “good, acceptable, and perfect.”

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Music of His Promises

On dark days when the only song we feel like singing is a dirge, we can pray, “Let the music of thy promises be on my tongue” (Ps. 119:172).  This is no tear-jerking ballad of how I’m feeling.  The promises of God will lift me right out of sad sentimentality and put music in my mouth if I will think steadily on them.  Here’s one to sing:  “Unfailing love enfolds him who trusts in the Lord” (Ps. 32:10).
Do you feel nothing of the kind?  When did the validity of the Eternal Word rest on the mood of one of His poor children?

Let the promise be the song you sing.  He will hear it and make it true for you.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot