Tuesday, March 28, 2006

In Acceptance Lies Peace

In James 1:14, the Greek word for "lust" is epithumia, a word which can also refer to a simple desire or longing, not necessarily something bad or evil. It’s only when a particular desire or longing entices you away from the principles of God's word that it becomes a lust. Moreover, though in our culture the word lust is most often associated with sex, it actually refers to other areas of desire as well – desire for recognition and approval, for money, for a husband or wife, for children, for success, for pleasure. None of these are wrong in themselves. It's only when they take us away from our fellowship with God through the disobedience of being frustrated, obsessed, self-pitying, doubting that He is who He says He is, etc, that they become a lust.

Before I was published I wrestled with all this a lot, for my deep desire, of course, was to be published. Now instead of publication, I find myself longing for good sales and good reviews -- different sides of the same coin really. I still desire recognition and approval for what I do, even though I know that I do it as unto the Lord. I don’t think it’s wrong to want people to like what you do. It’s just that you can’t let it carry you away from the peace you have in the Lord. Turns out the things I learned about dealing with this in my pre-pub days still serve me today.

In her book Keep a Quiet Heart Elisabeth Elliot said,

"There are a great many things in this life we cannot change. Should we stew and fume and fret and be miserable about it? Or say, "Yes, Lord... I accept what has been given and I won't make a fuss about what has not been given." Look not after great things. Small breathings, small desires after the Lord, if true and pure, are sweet beginnings of life. Take heed of despising the day of small things by looking for some great visitation.

"Thou must wait for life to be measured out by the Father. And be content with what proportion and at what time He shall please to measure."

Wise words, that I still find myself calling to mind.

Finished chapter 16 today. The let-it-be-bad method is working splendidly!