I’ve been reading Following God with All Your Heart by Elizabeth George and I’m ashamed to say that when I bought this book I didn’t really expect it to be all that different from any of her other books or for it to have too great of an impact upon me. I enjoy her books, but I tend to think of them as being all the same, and that once you’ve read one or two you’ve read them all…
I’m happy to say that I was wrong. I now love this book and would recommend it to just about every woman I know…especially if you happen to be in ministry or married to someone who is. I think you will especially “enjoy” the section on humility.
A sweet friend of mine (Natalie, do you remember saying this?) made this statement about teaching, she said something to the effect that we should always be able to take away some nugget of truth from a lesson regardless of whether we think the lesson is “good” or “bad”. Meaning regardless of whether we have heard a preacher or teacher teach on a subject twenty million times (and know it all) or whether it is the first time we have heard the message. She said in every case there should be something good or interesting that we can jot down and retain and I think she is right.
Anyway, I’ve kept this bit of wisdom in my mind as I’ve been reading through this book, because as I mentioned, and am ashamed to say, when I started the book I was reading it with a “been there, done that, know this attitude.” And had I retained that attitude (very prideful I might add – Elizabeth calls this the “know it all” woman – ouch! I certainly don’t want to be her) I would have missed so much…
Here is a little of what she has to say about contentment…
Living in an affluent society tends to distort our view of what is good. We mistake the “good things” of life in our opinion with what God considers to be “good” in its beneficial effect. Our “good” is often defined by possessions, cars, houses, vacations, and money, the “stuff” of life. But God’s “good” is defined by His nature: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). God’s good is perfect, where as our good – mankind’s good – is marred by worldly desire, greed, and fluctuating values. God wants to give us that which is always good. We need to make sure our “good” lines up with His “good,” as revealed in the Bible. …
But here’s a catch: There are many good things in this world, but you and I need to keep asking, “Are these the best things for me?”
And here are four tests to help you determine whether something is good:
Test 1 – Is it worthy of a child of God? “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful…” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Test 2 – Will it enslave? “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Test 3 – Will it hinder the spiritual growth of others? “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble” (1 Corinthians 8:13).
Test 4 – Will it produce spiritual growth? “All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
…Go ahead and pray, but remember God doesn’t withhold anything that is good when it is what’s needed right now. So be careful when you think you’re lacking something and when you set your goals. It’s an affront to God and a slur on His character to believe you need something and He isn’t supplying it.
And finally this…A lack of contentment means a lack of trust in the provision of God. –Elizabeth George