Saturday, August 11, 2007

Along the Path of Discipleship

The hard part about discipleship is that it requires discipline which, by definition, requires pain; when I experience pain it is very easy to become self-focused. That is not the point of discipleship. The endurance that is necessary along the path of discipline is required that I may learn to think beyond myself and into the realm of God's eternal plan which includes so many people besides me.

The wonderful thing about discipleship is that it brings me into relationship with Jesus Christ - when I obey Him, I come to know Him by sharing in His life. Or as a family friend puts it, "The purest joy and hardest testing are wedded to each other in the ways of our God; and to such a life we are called." I have been re-reading several of Elisabeth Elliot's works recently and have found much encouragement in her thoughts and prayers along the path of discipleship. I share these below.

If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad. (Ruth Stull qtd in Passion and Purity)

The truth is that none of us knows the will of God for his life. I say for his life -- for the promise is "as thou goest step by step I will open up the way before thee." (Let Me Be a Woman)

Freedom begins way back. It begins not with doing what you want but with doing what you ought -- that is, with discipline. With "continuing in the word." To be a disciple means to be disciplined. (Let Me Be a Woman)

Teach us, Good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do Thy will. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. (St. Ignatius of Loyala qtd in Let Me Be a Woman)

Lord I give up all my own plans and purpose, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever. (Betty Scott Stam qtd in Let Me Be a Woman)

Steadfastness, that is holding on;
Patience, that is holding back;
Expectancy, that is holding the face up;
Obedience, that is holding one's self in readiness to go or do;
Listening, that is holding quiet and still so as to hear.
(S.D. Gordon qtd in Passion and Purity)