I wish I had been introduced to Elisabeth Elliot’s ministry when I was a girl.
I always recall seeing one of her books on my mother’s bookshelf, and even recall my mother telling me about her and encouraging me to read it, but Elliot’s writing isn’t easy for everyone to read. I took that book to my room, but I didn’t know how to process it. I wish I’d known how to wade into the deep waters of her writing, because I was too intimidated to dive-in.
It is actually very easy to be intimidated by her writing, even as an adult. Not only is her writing absolutely without a single wasted word, it is all confrontational—spiritually confrontational.
Even her words of encouragement confront us with our unbelief or sin.
And, that is a very good thing! We need to be confronted with truth. We don’t want to be confronted every minute of every day, but that’s really the way a truly spiritual life is going to be lived. Did Jesus ever put down His calling? Did He ever take a break from His purpose on earth? Why do we?
I hesitate here, but I think it’s true: most of us treat our walk with Christ like a day at the beach.
Why Are We Here?
It starts with the heart’s motive. Why does anyone go to the beach? Most of us go to enjoy ourselves. Recoup. Relax. It’s a place we go on our time off, not a place we go to work. We want to have fun, and the beach is the place to do it. We pack our bags with whatever we need to be comfortable, and set out hoping for a sunny day with light breezes. We find just the right spot—not too close to anyone else, and not to close to the shore. We lay out our towel (or set-up our chair), and get comfy—snacks and cold beverages close at hand.
When it’s finally time to get in the water, we dab a toe in and make sure it’s not too cold. If the temperature feels about right, we wade in a little more. Maybe, we won’t go too far—don’t want to ruin or make-up or spoil our get our hair wet. Or, have to reapply sunscreen to our back. We’re careful to watch for things that might bite or sting, and when we’re ready for a break, we step right out and slip into our sun-warmed towel. When we’ve had our fill and the tan is looking good, we pack-up and go home.
Why Not Dive-In?
No analogy is perfect.
I’m not saying we aren’t engaging in a Christian walk, I’m just saying we might be taking it too casually. Maybe, we’re more concerned about appearances. Maybe, we’re missing the whole point of being a Christian. Maybe, we’re doing everything right, but we just are trusting God to take us into the deep places of spiritual intimacy with Him.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I know this is something I put before myself daily. As a small child my mother taught me that one day I would stand before Jesus and lay my treasure at His feet. She taught me that every soul I led to salvation, or helped to come to salvation through my obedience to God (like being quiet in church when she and Daddy were preaching 🙂 ) was a precious gemstone I would one day lay before His throne in tribute. I have always been mindful of this, and that is where Elisabeth Elliot comes back into the story.
Elisabeth Elliot’s Prayer
I don’t know the origins of this prayer, but I think if one sincerely prayed this prayer each day it would change their Christian life.
You may already say a prayer like this, but if you do not I want to encourage you to try praying this for just one week. See what happens.
Jesus loves you! ❤