Who is “The Wholehearted Woman”? (Part 4) ***Elisabeth Elliot: Joy in Doing the Will of God***

By: Jenni Walker

“Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart.”  Psalm 119:111

“I delight to do Your will, O my God…”  Psalm 40:8a

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In the last several posts, we have been exploring principles laid out for us in the Bible about seeking God with the whole heart.  According to God’s Word, The Wholehearted Woman does three specific things.  The first is that she orients her heart toward the truth of God’s Word.   The second is that she grows intentionally in her knowledge of God.   The third outcome of seeking the Lord with the whole heart is to take joy in doing His will!  My absolute favorite passage in the Bible is found in Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  What joy to be known so intimately by our Lord!  No matter what season of life you are in right now, God is calling you to yield yourself to Him.  When we surrender our hearts and lives completely to the Lord, inclining our hearts toward His Word and growing in knowledge of Him, He will do a work that is ongoing during our time here on earth: He will search our hearts for us, He will lead and guide us in His ways, and He will produce a holy joy in doing His will!

We often do not associate joy with many of the things that are required of us each day.  Many tasks can quickly become draining or mundane.  Certain seasons of life might lose their sparkle, and we can easily forget that God specifically and intentionally has called us to serve Him and others in that season.  How can you “delight to do God’s will” today in some of these following areas?

Marriage…

Singleness…

Raising children…

Trying to conceive…

Being an employee of integrity…

Inviting a coworker to a special church service…

Hosting a game night for those in need of community…

Local volunteerism…

Taking care of an elderly relative…

Going on a mission trip…

Housework, housework, housework…

Sacrificial giving of your time or money…

Investing in a particular friendship…

Turning off the television to play outside with the kids…

Putting your phone away to make conversation with a stranger in the grocery aisle…

Giving your husband a shoulder rub…

Listening rather than defending…

Choosing contentment rather than comparison…

Seeking the Lord daily in prayer and His Word…  (Remember Ruth Graham’s example of taking time wherever she could find it!  No perfection is needed; God just wants your heart!)

As women, I know this list could fill up multiple pages for each one of us.  Yet, remember that in all that you do, God wants your whole heart.  No matter what God is calling you to in your current season of life, and no matter how you are feeling at this very moment, choose to pray like the Psalmist, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart…You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.”  (Psalm 40:8; 4:7)

Our culture so often associates the concept of joy with immediate gratification or the fulfillment of our personal preferences.  Yet, our Lord set a different example for us.  Paul writes in Philippians 2, “Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”  (Philippians 2:2-5, 13, NKJV)

In her book Let Me Be a Woman, Elisabeth Elliot, a well-known speaker, author, and widow of Jim Elliot (whose story was told in the movie End of the Spear), explores the true joy found in living according to the “paradoxical spiritual principle” described in Philippians 2.  She writes, “You yourself will be given light in exchange for pouring yourself out for the hungry; you yourself will get guidance, the satisfaction of your longings, and strength, when you ‘pour yourself out,’ when you make the satisfaction of somebody else’s desire your own concern; you yourself will be a source of refreshment, a builder, a leader into healing and rest at a time when things around you seem to have crumbled.”  (Let Me Be a Woman, p. 47)

Have you truly chosen, once and for all, to follow Jesus no matter the cost?  Have you prayed on your knees, “O Lord, have Your way in me?”  In doing so, He will help to turn our hearts away from focusing on ourselves and our own satisfaction toward, instead, a joyful surrendering of our wills to Him and the ways in which He will use us to reach the lives of others.  As Elisabeth Elliot points out, how satisfying it is to pour yourself out for others!  God is more than able to give us joy in doing His will.

One of the most beautiful and convicting quotes I have ever read embodies the heart which is described in the passage of Philippians 2 that we just read together.  It is from a prayer that was written by Betty Scott Stam, a missionary to China who, along with her husband, was martyred for her faith in Christ.  This prayer was also copied by Elisabeth Elliot into her own personal Bible as a sign of her commitment to her Savior as a young girl. It would define for her what it meant to be a wholehearted woman of God who found joy in doing His will, and it can do so now for us.  The prayer reads as follows:

“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, 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.”

How does God desire to use you?  As we conclude this first online post topic for The Wholehearted Woman, I want to revisit the cozy condo living room in Tulsa, Oklahoma, brimming with conversation and beautiful women of God with hearts desiring to know Him deeper and to make Him known to others.   (If you have not read these in sequential order, I encourage you to go back and check out the last few posts!)  The common link between you, them, Corrie Ten Boom, Ruth Bell Graham, Elisabeth Elliot, Betty Scott Stam, and so many other women is that of a fully surrendered heart to the lordship of Christ.  Knowing Him and being courageously “on-mission” for His purposes starts one heart at a time.  Begin today by inclining your heart toward the Word of God, by intentionally growing in your knowledge of Him, and by delighting to do His will with a joyful and grateful heart.  What an honor to be daughters of the King who “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons [and daughters!] by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6, NKJV)  Let’s join with our other wholehearted sisters in Christ together.  Let’s each be The Wholehearted Woman that God has called us to be!

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