So, Elizabeth Elliot is turning out to be one of the most practical women I've ever encountered. She reminds me quite a bit of my dear friend and missionary Treva Turpin, who expresses in beautiful boldness the urgency of our calling.
As I read Elliott's book "Discipline," I am constantly challenged to think about what it means to be a soldier in the army of God. I remember the childhood zeal that accompanied my strained vocals and exaggerated movements, singing, "I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery. I may never fly o'r land and sea, but I'm in the Lord's army."
Looking back, I realize the absoluteness with which I sang. I didn't know exactly what my enlistment entailed, but my allegiance was complete.
Elliott writes about the first phrase her high school interest wrote in her yearbook, "No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier." 2 Timothy 2:4
Of course, neither Elizabeth or John could know at that point what the Lord had in store (and praise God for His plan for this couple!). This Scripture reminds me that my allegiance as one in God's army is not to make great personal sacrifices - denying myself each day in heroic acts of service. Rather, to live as Christ is my duty each day.
There's nothing extraordinary about that.
When Elizabeth describes discipline, she writes, "We have said that Christian discipline is one's wholehearted yes to the call of God. It is of highest importance that we understand the necessity of two wills, the one created by the other and ordained free, both operating in accord."
God did this amazing thing - in creating us to participate in creation. Man has extreme liberty in making decisions. Yet, if we rely totally on God's sovereignty we may forget our own responsibility as disciples. And if we rely totally on our own efforts, "we make ourselves God."
The more I reflect on this life of enlistment, the more my desire grows to fulfill my duty as a true servant would. Servants don't wait around for their master to assign tasks. No, instead good servants fill their days with things that please their masters. When the day comes to a close they seek no credit, having just done their duty to their master.
What a drastically different mindset.
I've had a complex mix of emotions since arriving here. Sometimes doubts of inferiority creep in to steal my joy, and I feel myself requiring more affirmation and man-made credit for the work of my hands. Then, I think about my duty to my Savior and Master and realize my steps to please the Father are exactly the expectation.
I can rejoice in that. I can sing praises knowing that God designed me for discipleship. In the very smallest particle pieces of who I am, God knit together a creation to reflect His glory and serve completely.
"How do I know I'm called?" Elliot writes as she quotes every man's fears and suspicions. But instead we should ask the question, "How do I know I'm not called?" We can be sure God designed us for service to display His glory, just as surely as we can be sure the Sun was made to shine and a flower was made to bloom.