His Passion and Purity part 2

For this post, Brittany and I have decided to split chapters 2-5. She’s taking 2 and 3 and I have 4-5.

MY Affections

In Chapter 4, Elisabeth Elliot really starts to dig in. Like I said in the initial post, Elisabeth has a way of speaking to matters of the heart effectively and aligning scripture properly. The title of this chapter is “Unruly Affections” and I think a quote that encapsulates this chapter most appropriately is: “As I grew into womanhood and began to learn what was in my heart I saw very clearly that, of all difficult things to rule, none were more so than my will and affections. They were unruly in the extreme….”

I think her admission is not only brave, but profound. Humans are naturally prideful people. None of us are born with a taste for humble pie. We are taught that the things we desire and want in life are good and shouldn’t be scrutinized or judged. Elliot’s admission shows that there is something awry in her desires. I agree. I can honestly admit that my desires and dreams are more rampant that ever. Things I want to do, people to meet, goals, love, blah blah blah. It can feel absolutely consuming at times. Buddhists believe that ALL desire is bad, and one must divorce oneself from Desire completely to have peace and achieve Nirvana (“a state beyond sorrows; a state of freedom from cyclic existence”) I can see how that could appealing, but ultimately it feels too easy. I’m sure it is monstrously difficult to live an ascetic lifestyle at first, but humans are very adaptable beings. The whole thing feels cowardly. “Feeling weighed down by desire? Throw it all away and be a sage!” God has made all things good, but sin taints and ruins. God is calling us to pull these unruly affections in rein, not simply because it’s responsible, but because it brings Him glory as well. It will not be easy:

Bringing anything at all into order – a messy room, a wild horse, a recalcitrant child, involves some expenditure. Time and energy at least are required.

One thing that love does it toil for the object of its devotion. How can we say we love God and not toil to bring these things into submission?

His Control

One of the chief aims of this book is showing readers how to submit their love lives to Christ. God is always in the business of redemption: people, cultures, errethang. It’s always cool to pronounce belief in God, but action follows right belief. In the book Blue Like Jazz (an absolute must read by the way) Donald Miller says “but the trouble with deep belief is that it costs something.” People think it might be absurd to think that the God of Eternity and Infinity is concerned about something as trivial as our love lives. Elisabeth remarked much later in the book “Was He interested in the plight of two college kids?” I know so. God made us all with intrinsic value and worth, and any good father is concerned about the affairs of his children, for nothing is trivial. God desires intimacy with us. God not only wants us, He also wants our desires. Since he loves us, and since love isn’t soft and passive, he wants the absolute best for us and purifies us. His love toils. The book mentions how God sifts the hearts of men. My partner Brittany mentions that this is significant. She gives a baking example to explain.

Well, I think it was significant because of the way sifting works with flour. It separates the fine and course particles. When God sifts our hearts, He’s able to see what’s really there. He sifts hearts to see the real intentions and attitudes it holds and to see where He is in it.

He sifted Abraham’s heart through Issac. Jesus sifted the heart of the young ruler through his possessions. The thing(s) we hold most dear can often became the thing through which God sifts our deceptive hearts; for “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Our abstinence doesn’t make us pure, our unyielding devotion to God does.

23 Candles

Hello friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged but I wanted to share some thoughts on being in getting older and being in God’s will. In case you couldn’t tell based on the title if you didn’t already know, today is my birthday! I am now 23 years old and I’m thankful to see this day. For the weeks leading up to my birthday, many thoughts lingered in my head about my soon-coming birthday.

Is 23 even really an important year?

Should I celebrate?

What makes 23 different from 22?

The more I thought about these things, the more I realized how ridiculous I was being. It’s not that age 23 itself is guaranteed to be monumental, but that God had done so much for me and through me at age 22 so I know that this will be a phenomenal year.

Last year, I went through many changes in my family, education, walk with the Lord and every other aspect one can think of. I also had submission issues. I had done a really great job of calling God my Provider, my Healer, my Restorer but a really poor job of treating Him as Lord, Master and Guide. I wasn’t very interested in submitting to Him deeply yet and it showed in my life. But none of that mattered because He is jealous for me. Jealousy is a strong emotion that doesn’t take “no” for an answer and God made it very clear that He wanted me to himself. He made this clear through one of the most heartbreaking experiences I’ve ever gone through, but it is a sheer blessing that He loves us disciplines us, considers our soul first and feelings later.

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. -2 Corinthians 11:2 KJV

My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. -Proverbs 3:11, 12 KJV

As a result of this experience of God shaking up my life, I am in a place that I would not trade for anything. I have made so many bad decisions, wrong turns and honestly, done some really stupid things but the amazing thing about God is that He can make all things work together for our good. His sovereignty blows my mind because I know that before I do anything, He knows how things will end. Nothing catches Him by surprise so even when I go through bad things either as an attack of satan or as a result of my own bad decision, He knows that the experience can be used for my good and for His glory. How amazing is that? Also, He has poured into my life during these past few months. I’ve been blessed with a community of Godly friends, an amazing best friend who loves God dearly and even a phenomenal small group Bible study that I started last night. There is nothing that brings sheer joy, peace, contentment and gratefulness like knowing that you are where God wants you, living for Him and staying in His will. It’s hard going through life if you’re bucking up against His plans for you, and I’m thankful that I don’t even try to anymore.

Turning 23 means so much to me because this is the year that I began walking with God. For the first time in my entire life, God hasn’t been an afterthought or just this scary figure that I had to keep happy. He is my Beloved, my Father, my Lord and my Master yet also my Bridegroom, Provider, Protector, Best Friend and Guide. At this age, nothing matters more to me than living for Christ and making Him known so that others can share in this blessed assurance that I have. The reality is too, my life is not perfect. I have lots of struggles and challenges to work through every single day across many areas of my life. But knowing that God and I are walking together and that God will work everything for my good makes me the happiest girl alive. After knowing that God wasn’t pleased with me before, there’s no gift greater than to know that we are back in a good place.

If you’re in a rough place with God right now, know that He is jealous for you and that He wants to know you intimately. There’s nothing that should come before Him and that if He needs to move things around to have access to you, He might do that but that just shows His amazing love even more.

This is a brief post but thanks for reading and please send up a birthday prayer for me! Prayers are one of my favorite gifts. 🙂

A little older and a (hopefully) a little wiser,

Brittany

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