Thursday, October 13, 2011

11 Steps to a Quiet Heart

Have you heard of Elisabeth Elliot? This is a list she wrote in one of her newsletters that has helped me to focus my energies on God and strive to develop "an undivided heart" (Psalm 86:11). Not that reverence has an exact formula, but I do hope it can be helpful to you as well.

1. Go to God first. Kneel in silence. Lift up your heart and hands. Listen. “I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him” (2 Samuel 15:26).

2. Receive the Givens and the Not-Givens. “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure” (Psalm 16:5).

3. In acceptance lies peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

4. It is always possible to do the will of God. “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15; 15:10). “Let the weakest, let the humblest remember, that in his daily course he can if he will, shed around him almost a heaven” (F.W. Robertson).

5. Do it now. “I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands” (Psalm 119:60). “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow” (James 4:14).

6. Love means sacrifice. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16). Memorize 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.

7. Choose your attitude. “Your attitude should be that of Christ Jesus, who … made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.… He humbled himself” (Philippians 2:5, 7, 8).

8. Analyze your struggle. Is it merely delayed obedience? “For some it is ‘Down crosses and up umbrellas!’” but I am persuaded that we must take heaven with the wind and the rain in our faces” (Samuel Rutherford). “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free” (Psalm 119:32).

9. Give it all to Jesus. “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25). “I am willing to receive what You send, to do without what You withhold, to relinquish what You take, to suffer anything You inflict, to do what You command, to be what You ask me to be—at any cost, now and forever” (Anonymous).

10. Do the next thing. “In the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded” (Ezekiel 24:18). “Five minutes of drastic obedience would make things as clear as a sunbeam” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest).

11. Give thanks always and for everything (Ephesians 5:20). “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it” (Psalm 141:5).