Joy in Doing Your Will

By: Jenni Walker and Beth Doohan 

“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

*          *          *          *          *

As Wholehearted Women, we have been called to represent Christ in spreading the Gospel and to be His hands and feet in the specific mission He’s given us. The tricky bit is to remain strong in the Lord when circumstances and persecutions seek to distract us from our mission. As we reflect on the history of Wholehearted Woman Ministries, we will share stories from several heroes of the faith who incline their hearts after God’s Word, grow in their knowledge of God, and delight to do His will. Today, we will share about a woman very dear to our hearts. She was incredibly humble, influential, sacrificial and grounded in the Lord. This is the story of Elisabeth Elliot. 

Relentless Sacrifice 

Shortly after her first husband Jim Elliot was speared to death trying to bring the gospel to the isolated Auca people of South America, Elisabeth Elliot went with her 3 year old daughter Valerie to live among those people to continue his work of reaching them with the gospel. She could have harbored resentment toward them. She could have easily concluded that it was anything but safe to live there with her young daughter. She could have gone back home and resumed a more “normal” life. But there she was in that open tent, with her daughter sleeping on a bed made of bamboo on a dirt floor. She writes of that situation:

All of us, I suppose, have at times felt strangely displaced, wondering how on earth we landed in a situation so far removed from that of our choosing. In 1958 I was living with Auca Indians in the Ecuadorian jungle. They had provided Valerie and me with a house—“a gift of place,” bless their dear hearts! Often in the intervals between sleeping and fanning the fire I found myself musing in the wee hours—what am I doing here? How am I to glorify the Lord in such a place? Remember Psalm 16:5, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.” I realized that He was preparing me for what He was preparing for me…

Pour Yourself Out

In her book Let Me Be a Woman, Elisabeth Elliot 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.

Your Plan, Not Mine

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.”

Elisabeth Elliot expresses it well when she wrote, “I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.” THAT, wholehearted women of God, is being “on-mission” for kingdom purposes!

What kind of “place” are you in right now?  How can you glorify God and be on-mission for Him in such a place today – right where you are at? Begin on your knees and never despise the small things. Then be ready, responsive, and obedient to the leading of the Lord. Continually offer your entire being as a living sacrifice. Delight in doing God’s will in His strength. Being “on-mission” is something all Christians are called to be a part of! The harvest of those in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ is plentiful but the laborers are few (Luke 10:2). No matter what season or stage of life you are in, commit to live your whole life in worship to Him, doing His will, and being “on-mission” for His kingdom purposes each and every day!  He will help you do His will!

*          *          *          *          *