Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. — 1 John 2:6
“God allows Himself to be found in many ways, and the human tendency to ignore Him or resist Him crosses all cultural lines,” Elisabeth Elliot writes. Reflecting on a life in ministry—as a missionary, teacher, author, and speaker—she asks, “Is there a way of life, a manner of serving the Lord that will deliver us from the temptations and distractions of the world?”
Spiritual conflicts of interest are not removed by vocational or geographical changes. Anyone actively integrating faith into the complexities of life knows every vocation carries its own idols and every place holds its own temptations.
Elliot shares a note from a friend who has dedicated herself to poverty, chastity, and obedience, serving as a nun in a convent:
You know human nature well enough to understand some of the ‘occupational hazards’ that can only too easily compromise the totality of our commitment to the Lord…. Every part of our ‘Rule’ has been chosen to free us for prayer. Centuries of experience have contributed to providing us with an atmosphere most conducive to freeing the mind and heart for prayer, and yet I’m afraid with all that has been given, one can settle for the shell, going through the motions only.
We can compromise the spirit of freedom we have received from the Lord Jesus with the ersatz security and satisfaction of bondage to the letter of our Rule. We can still very easily get caught up in the busyness that makes our heart more a market- place than a house of prayer.
The biblical challenge to “walk in the same way which [Jesus] walked” isn’t aspirational, but relational. If you want to walk as Jesus did you must—by the grace of Christ and the power of the Spirit—stay in constant connection with the Father. In this way, the Fruit of the Spirit becomes the transferable attributes of God—the divine characteristics we embody as we become more like the object of our love.
“Isn’t it amazing that He cares so much that we reflect His image?” Elliot asks. “He wants us. He meets us…. He chose us before we chose Him.” She concludes with the words of her friend:
It is my abiding prayer that the Lord we seek will continue to refine and purify our hearts until our offering is as it should be, and the Sun of Justice shines unobstructed with its healing rays.