Friday, January 23, 2009

Set Apart Femininity - Chapter 8

Sacred Claim

Awakening Femininity's Greatest Call

Leslie Ludy was asked by one of her readers why she constantly references Christian heroes like Amy Carmichael and Gladys Aylward. The reader wondered why Leslie never talked about normal, everyday Christians living in America. Leslie's reason? Most average American Christians are living self-serving, pleasure-seeking lives. We don't need any more average Christians. We need more Elisabeth Elliots and Amy Carmichaels.

Most of modern Christianity goes out of its way to convince us that the Christian life is all about us. And it doesn't take much for them to get us convinced, either. Here's the publisher's description of that popular woman's book Captivating. "The message of Captivating is this: Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation." What is meant by the term "your heart"? According to Captivating's author, "The heart is who we are. The real self. Me. My heart is me. The real me. Your heart is you."

So, in other words, you matter more than anything else in Creation? Is that true?

"Do you matter more than the 143 million orphans around the world, starving, scared, abandoned, and alone? Do you matter more than the millions of Latin American street children who hide in alleys and old buildings to escape the "death squads" of corrupt policemen who hunt them down for sport? Do you matter more than the millions of elementary school-aged girls kept as slave prostitutes in South America? Do you matter more than millions of starving kids who live in dumps and eat buzzard soup or dead dogs to survive? Do you matter more than the countless African boys who have seen their parents killed and been forced to rape or kill to stay alive? Do you matter more than the scores of six-year-old African girls who have been repeatedly brutalized and raped by HIV-infected men?"

I think you know the answer to those questions. We are so protected and free here in America. Especially those of us who have grown up in Christian homes. I, personally, have been SO blessed to grow up in a Christian home. Jesus Christ is a household word in our family (and not used in vain). My parent's rules (though seemingly overly strict and horrible at times ;-) ) have protected me beyond my imagination. I'll admit, sometimes (most of the time!) its hard for me to think about the starving children in Africa, when I'm having a bad day. Or even when I'm having a good day! I'm in my own world, many American Christians are. We are so wrapped up in our own little lives, our own little issues that we forget about the rest of the world. How many times have I obsessed about some sort of drama amongst my friends, and not even thought about the abused girls in the slave trade, who would do anything to have a life as good as mine.

"We do not live in a world of peace and harmony. There are urgent battles for injustice waiting to be rescued. There are millions of precious children facing unspeakable suffering."

And I sit here, thinking about my shopping trip later this afternoon, what I'm going to wear on Sunday and how I'm going to deal with a girl I don't like but have to be nice to anyway.

"And like Jackie Pullenger said, if Christ's set-apart ones do not act as His hands and feet to them...who will?"

During the Holocaust, wealthy Christians sat comfortably in their church singing hymns at the top of their lungs only to drown out the anguished cries of the thousands of Jews who passed by in cattle cars on their way to death camps.
"Most of us would be horrified at the thought of ignoring a cattle car of screaming Jews as they were hauled away to their deaths. But we do it every single day when we turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the millions of destitute and dying who urgently need our help. We do it when we spend all our living on self-indulgent pleasures instead of on rescuing abandoned children. We do it when we go on luxury cruises instead of outreaches to the poor. We do it when we have movie marathons instead of prayer vigils for the oppressed. We do it ever time we make our own comforts and happiness the highest priority. We do it whenever we fall for the idea that we are the most important people in all creation."

"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it." Luke 9:23-24

Our hearts are not the most important thing in the world. The pattern of the gospel is to do as Christ did, to seek and save the lost.

"Our hearts are valuable to Christ, yes. He loved us to intensely that He gave up His very life to rescue us and set us free. But why does He set us free? Why does he make us whole? Why does He protect us, heal us, bless us, and provide for us? Why does He make us into strong, valiant, virtuous women? So that we can spend our lives living in selfish pleasure, comfort and ease? So that we can selfishly soak up the benefits and blessings of Christ while the rest of the world is dying?"

He sets us free so we can be like Him. He set us free so that we can be fore others as He was for us - a poured-out living sacrifice that places others' needs above our own.

"If you have chosen the set-apart path of a woman who fears the Lord, your life is not your own. The Spirit of Christ has a claim upon you. You have a call upon your life. You have a job to do. He has called you to minister His love to those in need. This sacred claim is the highest privilege we could ever receive. We can never repay what Christ did for us on the cross. But because He has made us His hands and feet to this world, we have the incredibly opportunity to give to other the very same astounding, transforming love that He gave to us."

Our act of worship is offering our bodies to Him as living sacrifices. This isn't sitting around in a church building singing about how much we love Him (though that is good, too). It is demonstrating Christ's never ending love to those who so desperately need it.

"And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."

- Jesus Christ

(P.S. Check out to learn about more opportunities to become part of an international rescue mission for orphans and enslaved chidren around the world)


Mary said...

wow ... if only

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this, Elise. What a great conviction to all of us. I can definitely identify with getting worked up over petty things when we should be nothing but joy and thankfulness at Christ's blessings. It astounds me how patient and loving our God is to deal with us plushy American Christians!

Anonymous said...