One of the most influential women in evangelical circles in the last hundred years was Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of martyred missionary Jim Elliot. Her bestselling books Through The Gates Of Splendor
and Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testimony of Jim Elliot
had tremendous impact on many women and men. You might say Elisabeth Elliot was a true disciple.
Elliot wrote: “We have proved beyond any doubt that He means what He says – His grace is sufficient, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. We pray that if any, anywhere, are fearing that the cost of discipleship is too great, that they may be given to glimpse that treasure in heaven promised to all who forsake.”M had a harrowing experience of detainment and torture
for the cause of Christ while her husband and children waited for her in Europe, not knowing if they would ever be together again on this earth. Her husband also, previously, had been imprisoned for his faith forcing the family to flee. They lived in exile for two years before finding refuge in Europe.
A mother from North America became a follower of Jesus while living with her Muslim husband in the Middle East. As a result, her husband banished her and their nine children from their home. He then kidnapped the three youngest children and fled to North Africa. This woman cried out to God for the return of her children; seven years later they were returned.
These stories represent mature trained disciples who have experienced the sometimes severe cost of discipleship. Their only comfort was their complete obedience to and reliance on Jesus, their Lord.
All disciples are Christians, but not all Christians are disciples.
I am acutely aware of the primary importance of making disciples. I am discovering that while all disciples are Christians, not all Christians are disciples. It is disciples who will be salt and light in their nations. It is disciples who will stand firm in the face of persecution, through family illness and family crises. Disciples will, with fervent prayers, overcome in whatever situation God has ordained. They live their lives as an act of worship.
In Discipleship Essentials, the module titled Our Relationship With God
has a lesson on Our Identity in Christ
(find that here
). The reason these disciples increased their faith through such difficult circumstances is because they focused on their relationship with God. They reached an understanding and recognized that at all times we operate out of our identity in Christ.
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