Monday, November 09, 2009

The Next Step... The Threshold of Heaven

I'm being challenged right now reading Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot. I've just started the book, but already I'm deeply encouraged by the zeal that shows through the life of a young man joyfully serious about Jesus. Elisabeth Elliot's writing is almost spartan, but always appropriate and useful. I particularly appreciated these paragraphs in the preface:
Jim's aim was to know God. His course, obedience--the only course that could lead to the fulfillment of his aim. His end was what some would call an extraordinary death, although in facing death he had quietly pointed out that many have died because of obedience to God.

He and the other men with whom he died were hailed as heroes, "martyrs." I do not approve. Nor would they have approved.

Is the distinction between living for Christ and dying for Him, after all, so great? Is not the second the logical conclusion of the first? Furthermore, to live for God is to die, "daily," as the apostle Paul put it. It is to lose everything that we may gain Christ. It is in thus laying down our lives that we find them. (pp. 9-10).

While at college in Wheaton, Jim wrote this advice to his 15-year-old sister:
Fix your eyes on the rising Morning Star. Don't be disappointed at anything or over-elated, either. Live every day as if the Son of Man were at the door, and gear your thinking to the fleeting moment. Just how can it be redeemed? Walk as if the next step would carry you across the threshold of Heaven. Pray. That saint who advances on his knees never retreats.

I've only started, but it's an excellent read, another "classic" I'm just getting around to. And I can tell I'll be thankful and in some measure changed when I've finished it. If you've read it, how did the book affect your life?

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1 comment:

Adam and Ruth said...

Together with this book, a sermon by John Piper that mysteriously (aka providentially) ended up in the back seat of my car titled "doing missions when dying is gain", taking an "intro to christian missions" class, and as an assignment in systematic theology writing a three sentence summary of each page of Grudem's (the unabridged one)Systematic textbook. All of these things prepped me for my present work in a long-term overseas project.

Elliot was a powerful voice and was the first one to get my eyes on the rest of the world. Good post, good book.