From “The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood” by Susan Hunt and Barbara Thompson:
Living and leaving the legacy of biblical womanhood demands a pilgrim perspective. Pilgrims live well and finish well. In the finishing season, a woman’s legacy of relationships is intensified, and her doctrine is tested. How we finish is determined by our theology.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
A settler takes up residence. A pilgrim is on a sacred journey.
A settler hopes in circumstances and opportunities. She sets her sights on retirement funds and financial security. She despairs the deterioration of the body and obsesses over health and appearance. A pilgrim hopes in Jesus. Her sights are set on eternity in His presence. She does not deny the wasting away of the outer but rejoices in the renewal of the inner.
A settler believes that suffering is random and pointless. She avoids encounters with her mortality. A pilgrim understands the economy of suffering. She knows that she is made strong by it and that a season of suffering is infinitesimal in the light of eternity.
A settler is terrified of death. A pilgrim anticipates it.
Settlers are earthbound. Lot’s wife was a settler, and she became a pillar of salt, “stopped, trapped, transformed as and where she was, in a still upright posture.” Pilgrim daughters continue to be shaped, carved, and positioned to be pillars of support even in the finishing season.
Now my (Lori) thoughts: I suppose I struggle to keep a pilgrim mindset. But, like everything in the Christian life, we have to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give us the will and ability to do it. Jesus told his disciples:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? Mark 8:34-36
Now THAT is a pilgrim. It is not easy to see everything that has only to do with me on this earth as unimportant and only to focus on following in Christ’s example (a selfless love that led to His own death for our sakes) and being obedient to God in whatever circumstance He puts me. And yet, if I do that (not in my own power but in God’s strength He provides me!) I am actually gaining eternal life. This life is temporary. We often put so much more importance on it than that. Am I living with that truth at the forefront of my thoughts and actions? That is being a pilgrim.
Just before the verses from Mark I quoted above, Jesus rebuked Peter for telling Him He shouldn’t die. Jesus said, “For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Mark 8:33b) How can we set our mind on the things of God?
We MUST continually be in God’s Word. We MUST remind ourselves of Who God is, what God has done, what He asks of us, and what His promises are. We MUST be as the Psalmists who – although they may have been distressed – they reminded themselves of God’s character, His faithfulness in the past, and their hope for the future.
1 Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
8 they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!