Thursday 26 June 2008

Living Sacrifice

Helen Roseveare is so honest it is easy to warm to her style. Using illustrations from her life as a medical missionary in Africa, 'Living Sacrifice' is a candid analysis of her failings and the lessons she learnt about her practical Christian walk and specifically the need to sacrifice ALL to the Lord. Her chapter headings show how fully she deals with the subject: With all my heart, With all my soul, With all my mind, With all my strength, and in so doing encourages the reader to analyse their own Christian walk in the same way. Apologising, sacrificing possessions, re-evaluating priorities, submitting to physical weakness are all issues dealt with in a very practical way. To give you a taster, I will leave you with a quote taken from the chapter 'With all my Soul' when Helen was struggling with her 'rights' in terms of the way she did her job...
"If I would learn to love God with all my soul, I would have to learn to give Him my will. That would mean giving Him the right to exercise control over it. I had to learn that I had no rights. All rights are His. How was I ever going to learn to live in the atmosphere of the prayer: 'Not My will, but Thine be done' (Luke 22:42)? My right to be considered, to have my opinion listened to, to give my advice, to make choices and decisions, certainly insofar as these related directly to my own life and the outworking of the vision He had given me, all seemed so essentially right and reasonable. It is against all modern teaching and practice to deny any human being the right to be himself and to express himself. Hence the freedom of speech,and of the press, and many other avenues of self-expression have become precious and almost fundamental to our whole way of life and thinking. Psychologically it is sound. Intellectually it is reasonable. Practically, it may lead to anarchy and strikes and disruption of whole communities, though perhaps one might not say so (even in these days of freedom of speech!).This is considered a small price to pay for a basic freedom. However, spiritually, it is not God's way. He has a perfect plan for each one of us, a plan that fits into His overall purpose for the whole world. My individual liberty is safeguarded within His plan. If I truly believe in Him, I'll trust Him to desire for me that which is for my highest good, and to have planned for it's fulfilment. How hard this comes!"
There is certainly much food for thought throughout the book.
Living Sacrifice - Willing to be Whittled as an Arrow, by Helen Roseveare, £6.99 (first published 1980, reprinted by Christian Focus Publications 2007)

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