“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” ― Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control.
Elisabeth Elliot was a young missionary in Ecuador when members of a violent Amazonian tribe savagely speared her husband Jim and his four colleagues as depicted in the movie, End of the Spear. Incredibly, prayerfully, Elisabeth took her toddler daughter, snakebite kit, Bible, and journal and lived in the jungle with the Stone-Age people who killed her husband. Compelled by her friendship and forgiveness, many came to faith in Jesus.
Elizabeth went on to write dozens of books, host a long-running radio show, and speak at conferences all over the world. For Elisabeth, the central question was not, “How does this make me feel?” The question was, “what do I need to do about it to obey God?” How effective are we at obeying the will of God in our lives?
If we want to obey the will of God, that means we have to know what His will is for our lives. To know His will we need to know scripture. Many people want to know God’s plan for their lives, but they overlook the fact that 98 percent of His will is already spoken carefully through His Word. God is very clear about many aspects of what He expects from His followers. He tells us that we should love Him and that we should love our neighbor as our self. There are other things we should do and things that we should not do. The only way to know those things is by reading His Word.
The Word reveals His will for our lives. The Word may not tell you that you’re supposed to pack up and move to Africa but it does reveal the heart of Jesus and His character. The Bible can help us check to see if we’ve modeled his holiness, love, goodness, justice, and mercy. Have we given grace, been bold in our faith, and patient? His Word reveals the image and character of God and we can choose to reflect His image through all of the decisions we make in our lifetime.
In addition to His word, we’ve received the gift of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus, living inside of us. As we walk in step and submission to the Spirit’s leading, He reveals the steps we need to take. He gives the thumbs up or the thumbs down. The bottom line is we need to be aligned to the Spirit and to His Word if you desire to know His will.
“Then Jesus came close to them and said, ‘All the authority of the universe has been given to me. Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 TPT)
- How did you react to the Elizabeth Elliot story? Is it possible to have the faith that she had?
- What can we do this week and in the weeks to follow to better know the will of God?