Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Power of a Consecrated Life, Part 3

Leslie Basham: People today don't usually bow down and worship idols made of wood or stone. But it's easy to make an idol of a husband or wife.

It's Friday, November 30 and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Marriage is a wonderful gift from God that He gives to some, but to others He gives the gift of singleness. Today we'll hear from a young woman called by God to be a foreign missionary. Do you know what one of the biggest obstacles was in her surrender to God's will? The possibility that she would be single the rest of her life. Let's join Nancy Leigh DeMoss as she wraps up her conversation with Shannon about the cost of obedience.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Shannon, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts.

Shannon: Thanks, Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Over the past couple of days, we've been talking about the pilgrimage that God has had you on; how you sensed His call to the mission field as a high school student, but then during your college years had some wavering because of a difficult cross-cultural experience. And then you shared how God used a friend to challenge you about the basis on which you were making those life decisions.

Shannon: That's right, Nancy. At that time, when she began to urge me to open my life again and pray, "Lord what do you want from my life; not what do I want; not what are all my plans, but Lord what do you have for my life. That's when I really began to seek the Lord in those issues again like I had not done for several years previous to that. At that time, I graduated from college and went off to graduate school and was pursuing a Master's degree as a Nurse Practitioner. But alongside my medical studies, I had a chance to take a course called "Perspectives in the World Christian Movement. " And God really used, not a course to transform my life and my thinking; but He used His Word through the teaching of this course to really get hold of my heart again.

There were a couple of basic radical transitions that had to occur in my understanding and this was first: What does God desire in all the world? What is His greatest passion? What is His heartbeat?

And it is for His own glory. And we really can see that from Genesis to Revelations--God wants to be worshipped. I began to understand that. But then what were the practical implications of that in my life? What I understood was that He has given us this Great Commission in Matthew 28--that we are to be about disciple making in all the nations. And then we see what all of history is moving toward--that great Revelation 7 throne room scene where He completes what He had said way back in Genesis, which was that through Abraham all the families on the earth would be blessed. Ultimately, we know that is through the Gospel and through our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And I began to say, "Lord what part do you have for me to play in that?"

And for me the answer came back, "You are to be one of the ones who goes, Shannon." So I was learning all this. And at that time (as a 23 year old) there was still great fear and resistance--and why was that there? Well I began to think in my mind, What is causing you all this trouble, this difficulty completely abandoning yourself to the Lord? And what I realized was that I had my own plans for life. What did my culture tell me that life was supposed to be about? Well, you finish high school, then you go to college; and you finish college and you begin a career and then you get married and you have a family and then you basically spend the rest of your life creating the safest, most comfortable life for yourself that you can.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How did the Lord get you over that hump and to the place where you would say, "Yes Lord, even if it means that I will be single all of my life or that I will never have the fulfillment of these plans that are part of the American Dream?"

Shannon: There are a number of things that the Lord used in this time; and actually one of them was you, and a broadcast that you had done on FamilyLife Today that I heard during these graduate school years when I was wrestling with the Lord over these issues. You had done a series talking about singleness; and at that particular time, when I heard the broadcast, that was the issue I was struggling with.

(I thought) Lord, I'm having a hard enough time getting a date here in the United States; what am I going to do when I'm overseas? And just thinking, You know, if you say "yes" to this, this may be saying "yes" to a lifetime of singleness. That was fearful for me to consider. But the broadcast that you did, it was all part of God transforming my perspective on what my life is about in the first place. And you talked about how a life of singleness is really a life that can be presented fully to the Lord in abandonment and sacrifice in ministry to others and how fulfilling that life is. It's not (a life) that (says) "Lord, I'm missing this major piece."

(It's a life that proclaims) "No, I am full because I am living right in the center of what You have created me to do, at least at this time in my life as a single woman." And I can give my life to others in ministry and service for God's kingdom. And I just want to say here that the marriage and the children and the home, all of those things are wonderful blessings that the Lord gives to some. But my difficulty had come in that those had become the idol. They were the pursuit, they were the goal of life, and that was where I had gotten into trouble.

So the Lord had to teach me "No, Shannon. You don't exist for yourself. And really all of these things, although they are wonderful blessings from Me, they aren't life. I am life and you living in my will and in ministry--that is going to be the most fulfilling abundant life that you can have.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Shannon, it makes me wonder, (hearing you share that) what may be in my life and the lives of some our listeners--some of the blessings that we have made a goal in and of themselves. It's interesting as I listen to you to realize that those good blessings can actually become idols, can become obstacles, hindrances, to really having the best, which is life in Christ; having Him as my Lord in my life.

Shannon: Nancy, that is so true. I think of Matthew 16:24-25 where Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For he who wishes to save his life shall lose it, but he who loses his life for My sake shall find it." And what I thought I was doing by gripping all of those things so tightly in my hand and saying, "Lord, I'm not willing to let go of these things." I thought I was saving my life. But I wasn't saving my life at all. Life comes in denying myself and in losing my life for the sake of Christ.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And we think, if we let go of those dreams that we're going to have this miserable, depressed, unhappy sort of existence for the rest of our lives; but I'm looking in your eyes and seeing a sparkle and a joy and a freedom and a fullness that I think most people never experience because they are too busy holding onto the things they think they need to survive.

Shannon: That is so key. What happened when I recognized that, Shannon, you're life does not belong to you. You have been bought with a precious price and put into service for the kingdom. What that did was to create the greatest freedom that I have ever felt. My life verse is Philippians 1:21, and there Paul says, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." And the reason Paul was able to say that, I think, is because he recognized that for me here to live it is Christ. It is about the Lord; about His purposes, His glory.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Shannon, what you've shared is so rich and my heart is really burdened for the young person who may be listening who is just basically going through life existing, surviving, living one day to the next; but without any sense of real purpose or mission or intentionality about their life. What would you say to that young person?

Shannon: If that young person knows the Lord then they have His complete Word that tells them about Himself, that tells them about their life and what it is supposed to be about and His purpose in the world. The Scriptures are rich with the knowledge of God and the knowledge of how we, as His children, are to live and function in relation to Him. So I would say first of all to that young person--if they know the Lord, get in the Word of God. Know the God that you worship and serve. Romans 12:1-2 can say it better than I could ever say it. "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is. That which is good and acceptable and perfect." I love the end of verse one where it encourages us to "present your bodies as a living sacrifice..." and they say at the end of the verse, "which is your spiritual service of worship." And really that word spiritual can be translated there (to mean)--which is your logical, which is your reasonable service of worship, based on what the Lord has done for you.

When you begin to contemplate, Lord, not only what I have been saved from by your gracious and precious sacrifice, but what I have been saved to, then you say, "This is not a sacrifice for me."

Many people have said, "I'm so glad you're going to do this, Shannon, because I could never do that." And I say, "No, no, this is not a sacrifice, this is only what is reasonable, it is only what's logical based on what the Lord has done for me. And then the key really in verse two of Romans 12 says, "do not be conformed to this world...." Be careful about the messages that the world is giving you about what life is supposed to be about; the values that the world is trying to teach us to hold. Do not be conformed to world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And how is that done? Well, I would say, "Get in God's Word. Let your mind be refreshed and renewed by what God says is true about Himself first and then about you and your life."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Your life message makes me think of William Borden of Yale. He was a young man, who (after he finished college) went to give his life to the mission field and en route to the mission field, he contracted a disease and died. We would think what a waste. What a loss of a life. But written in the flyleaf of his Bible were these three phrases:

No reserves
No retreats
No regrets

I sense that's what's really written on the flyleaf of your heart. I trust God is going to use your life example to cause many other young women to say, "Lord whatever you want from my life; whatever will bring You glory that's what I want to give my life for."

"He is no fool," Jim Elliott said, "who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Leslie Basham: We've all been taught to pursue the American Drea;, but Nancy Leigh DeMoss and her guest, Shannon, have been teaching us that a life committed to God's will is so much more fulfilling than one chasing after the things of this world.

If you've been challenged by what you've heard today, let me encourage you to get a copy of Nancy's book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free. In it, she tackles many of the issues that were raised today. We have the book Lies Women Believe available in our resource center for a suggested donation of $17. Our number is 1-800-569-5959. You can also order the book on our Web site at www.ReviveOurHearts.com. To contact us by mail you can write to Revive Our Hearts.

Today wraps up our series of interviews with Shannon; and if it has challenged you to re-examine your obedience to God, why don't you write and tell us about it.

Well, did you know that throughout the Bible we read stories about the battle for worship? On Monday, Nancy will begin a new series that will make you think about worship in a new light. Have a great weekend. I hope you can be back on Monday for Revive Our Hearts. 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.