Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Impressed series. Be sure to follow the rest of the series HERE.
Every once in a while a book comes across your path that is powerful and life-changing. A book that makes you think and ponder and pause, and compels you to act. Sometimes it might even influence the paradigm from which you view life. I was exposed to such a book over 20 years ago.
As a new believer I had read many of Elisabeth Elliot’s books and once, even had the chance to meet her. When asked which book had most influenced her, she immediately said, “any book by Amy Carmichael”. Ms. Elliot felt she had been mentored by Amy Carmichael through her writings. I set about trying to collect these books, and in the process found the tiny yet priceless treasure of If. The tag line asks the profound question, “What do I know of Calvary Love?”
May our lives ultimately reflect the light of the One who so perfectly exemplified Calvary Love.
The book is basically a series of if/then questions that further convict the heart regarding this age-old question. “If_____ then I know nothing of Calvary Love.“ I will share a few of my favorites, but be prepared to get slapped around a bit. I am usually a positive person so a book written entirely in the negative voice may have put me off a bit had it not been so right on!
“If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
“If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand,” or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
“If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into the vice of self-pity and self-sympathy; if I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
“If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve around myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have ‘a heart at leisure from itself,’ then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
“If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
“If the praise of man elates me and his blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
“If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
“If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the cross, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
I encourage you to ponder your own questions formed from these penetrating statements, exchanging the “if I..” for “do I..” and allow the Holy Spirit to influence your heart as only He can.
As these nuggets imbed themselves deep into our thinking, may they serve to deepen our perspective – helping us think a little differently. Helping to strengthen our resolve to pray and seek before we respond, and our commitment to walk to the beat of a different drum. May our lives ultimately reflect the Light of the One who so perfectly exemplified Calvary Love. For it is only by His sacrifice at that very place that we have eternal life.
Interested in reading If: What Do I know of Calvary Love? Check it out here!
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