Recently, before we go to sleep, David and I will spend some time reading in bed. David is currently reading The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (which seem to give him ideas for stories that he is writing). I am reading a novel called Stepping Heavenward: One Woman’s Journey to Godliness by Mrs. E. Prentiss. Set in the 1800’s, this fiction novel reads as a journal chronicling a woman’s life beginning when she is 16 years old. Having read this book before, I wholeheartedly recommend it to other ladies. Also, as Elisabeth Elliot states about this book: “I do not hesitate to recommend it to men, who need to better understand the wives they live with.” As I am reading I am continually thinking “this is how I thought” or “this is how I think.” Not only is it a relatable and engaging read, but it is also spiritually convicting and encouraging. I read it with a pencil nearby because I am constantly underlining and marking sections.
This brings me to why I wanted to write this post; a couple nights ago I read a brilliant section that I wanted to share on Facebook. However, I couldn’t find a good stopping/starting place to quote from that wouldn’t be too long for Facebook. This quote is taken from a letter that Dr. Cabot, Katy’s Pastor, wrote to her and she copied in her journal. (The whole letter is worthwhile, but I will only copy some of it here.)
“Having been pardoned by your God and Savior, the next thing you have to do is to show your gratitude for this infinite favor by consecrating your self entirely to Him, body, soul, and spirit. This is the least you can do….’But,’ you may reply, ‘this is contrary to my nature. I love my own way. I desire ease and pleasure; I desire to go to heaven, but I want to be carried thither on a bed of flowers.Can I not give myself so far to God as to feel a sweet sense of peace with Him, and be sure of final salvation, and yet, to a certain extent, indulge and gratify myself? If I give myself entirely away to Him and lose all ownership in myself, He may deny me many things I greatly desire. He may make my life hard and wearisome, depriving me of all that now makes it agreeable.’ But, I reply, this is no matter of parley and discussion; it is not optional with God’s children whether they will pay Him a part of the price they owe Him and keep back the rest. He asks, and He has a right to ask, for all you have and all you are. And if you shrink from what is involved in such a surrender, you should fly to Him at once and never rest till He has conquered this secret disinclination to give to Him as freely and as fully as He has given to you. It is true that such an act of consecration on your part may involve a great deal of future discipline and correction. But as soon as you be-come the Lord’s by your own deliberate and conscious act, He will begin that process of sanctification which is to make you holy as He is holy, perfect as He is perfect…. At the same time you are not to sit with folded hands, waiting for this blessing. You are to avoid laying hindrances in His way, and you are to exercise faith in Him as just as able and just as willing to give you sanctification as He was to give you redemption.”
It seems to be the American mindset to go about our daily lives living for ourselves and the things we put value in and then call on God when we need Him. We were created to worship God, not the other way around. He is not our servant; we are to be His. That means surrendering our will to His. Sometimes this surrender seems so difficult to me; it’s a daily, even moment by moment, struggle of giving over my self and my wants and giving into the things of God. Sometimes, I feel like it is such a great burden, but God is quick to remind me that it is He, and not me, who is completing it; I just need to be open and willing.