Elisabeth Elliot is one of my favorite writers. She was the wife of missionary Jim Elliot who was one of the five men killed in Ecuador by the Indians they were trying to reach with the Gospel. But she was so much more than the wife of somebody famous—she was not only married to a dedicated servant of Christ, she was a dedicated servant of Christ long before they served together as husband and wife and in the many years after his death. In her book Passion and Purity, Elisabeth tells the story of her journey to trusting God completely with her life and with her love. I cannot recommend the book enough to young adults seeking to surrender their relationships to the Lord. The only thing I do not agree with is her frequent use of other versions besides the King James Version of the Bible—I would suggest finding those passages she refers to on your own. Below are some quotes from the aforementioned book.
I guarantee that if you read this book with a human mindset instead of a spiritual one, her advice will make you want to snap it shut and forget you ever read it. Because it reminds us that God’s idea of what is good for His children is rarely our idea of what is good. His ways are so much higher than our ways—His thoughts are fathoms higher. We have no right to submit a two-foot-long Christmas list to God and expect to receive all the toys we asked for. God wants us to be holy, and sometimes that means we won’t get what we want.
A simple principle. Stay out of the road and you have a higher chance of not getting run over. Walls are good. Fences tell unsavory characters to keep away. Draw your lines and don’t let anything erase them. A picture is so much more pleasing when colored within the lines.
We are vocal beings by the creation of God, but there are times when vocalizing one’s feelings is not wise. Learn to take it to the Lord first for confirmation before telling the object of those emotions.
Waiting on God for confirmation that someone is “the one” can be hard to bear. Elisabeth and Jim Elliot loved and waited for five years before receiving the green light from God to marry.
If we clutch our desires with both hands, refusing to give them up to God’s will, how can He fill our arms with the things He has prepared? The good is often the enemy of the best. May we let go of our plans and let them die, so that, like seeds, they can be planted in God’s will and grow higher than we ever could on our own.
God does not promise to make it easy to discipline our wills and affections. We are not robots. The exchange of clamor for contentment will cost us something.
When a substance is rare, it draws attention. Purity of heart is even more uncommon than purity of body these days, so it will mark you as odd in a Godless society. But isn’t being different promoted by God’s Word? Don’t be ashamed of cultivating an innocent heart, clean motives, and blameless conduct.
Ah, another unpopular concept—duty over desire. This is an age of feelings: if it feels good, do it. If it doesn’t feel good, leave it for somebody else. Duty means “an obligatory task or conduct.” Because we are Americans, we are obligated to protect our country. Because we are Christians, we are obligated to protect our purity and not let passion run away with us.
I love this quote. This sentence, as well as countless others written by Elisabeth Elliot, expressed convictions I have formed but have not found words for. If I am committed to swim against the tide of Godlessness, shouldn’t my prerequisite for a future mate be the same standard? The Bible says two cannot walk together unless they be agreed.
This is what it all boils down to. The Bible says that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Where do you find your treasure? What is your heart following—God’s will or your will? The answer will determine whether passion or purity will rule your life and order your consequences.