|Passion and Purity|
Lisa Barry: Do you ever wonder what kind of impact Elisabeth Elliot's writings have on people? Eternity will only tell the influence they've had on me. Well, today and all this week Elisabeth will be reading letters that she has received from men, women and children about the things they've been reading. We'll hear from a 17-year-old boy today. So let's get ready for this Monday edition of Gateway To Joy.
Elisabeth Elliot: "You are loved with an everlasting love." That's what the Bible says. "And underneath are the everlasting arms." This is your friend Elisabeth Elliot, talking with you today about some of the letters that I have received.
I found this one very interesting, from a 17-year-old boy named Joshua. He says, "I'm sending you a copy of my book report on your book Passion and Purity on the advice of my mother. She thinks you would like to read it. And since it says in the Bible to heed the advice of your parents, I'm sending it to you. I really enjoy your broadcasts and your books. I've read Passion and Purity, Mark of Man, Let Me Be Woman, and part of Shadow of the Almighty."
Let me put in a parenthesis that Shadow of the Almighty is the story of the life of Jim Elliot, my first husband. I've had more young men tell me that that book has shaped their lives more than any other book. Jim Elliot was a man of God, but he died at the age of 28.
So this young man, Joshua, goes on to say, "They offer so much insight and guidance for a person my age and I'm sure for all other ages, as well. I have also read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which is a book by Joshua Harris. I can see why you recommended it, and I agree totally with the approach it sets forth. I am concerned for so many teens out there in the world because of the influence they are under."
Well so am I, Joshua. I'm glad that you're concerned.
"I have been home-schooled since I was 13, in seventh grade. And I can't imagine how lost in sin I would be if I had stayed in public school despite being saved. I know how hard it is to be a good and moral Christian in a place where all those around you are totally out of it biblically and you yourself are not strong or developed as a child of God.
"I pray that God would either send a revival of biblical teaching or send Jesus for the end because I cannot bear the injustice I see everyday. I pray also that God would use me as I wait on Him because I know that we must do the next thing. I try so hard to remember those words every day. I hope that you receive this letter personally, because I would really like for you to read my book report. But I understand that you're busy and you get so much more important mail, and I will be content with what I receive."
Well, Joshua, I'm delighted that I do have time to read your book report on Passion and Purity.
"By Elisabeth Elliot. It's a non-fiction guidebook about the responsibilities and decisions related to love, relationships, and duty to God. It also gives an account of her own relationship with Jim Elliot.
"This book," Joshua says, "is full of absolutely necessary information about dealings with feelings and love. Elisabeth was extremely careful not to reveal her feelings for Jim. If she did, she would become the initiator and deny God her whole self. Jim also was very deliberate and careful not to rush into meaningless romance before its time. Though even he had made a mistake by confessing his love to Elisabeth without following it with a proposition of marriage.
"Elisabeth had it rough because of these things--more so than Jim--because of her womanly nature to submit to the man's will. Though they had difficulties, they loved God over all. And they would let nothing stand between God's will and them. It was by no means an easy task. It was, in fact, excruciatingly difficult, but not more than they could handle through the help of God. This is the critical piece not only in love, but in all facets of life, that we must maintain a closeness to God--unrivaled by anything. Without this knowledge, we're destined to fail.
"There was an interesting sentence in the book that went something like this, 'When we place all trust in the Lord He takes responsibility for us.' This is beyond joy to me because God has responsibility for us. The comfort this brings to me, I think, must have come in some way to Elisabeth and Jim, because they did leave all trust in Him and He strengthened them.
"This is not to say that they did not still feel a longing, aching desire for each other. No! But they were content to long forever if it would be God's will that they should do so. Christians need to realize that God does not always want to take something away from us, but He wants to take us away from ourselves and our selfish flesh."
I thought that was a good sentence from a 17-year old. Rather unusual. "Christians need to realize that God does not always want to take something away from us, but He wants to take us away from ourselves and our selfish flesh.
"Now who can say they love the Lord and still say 'no' to that? You must know Jesus personally, wholly, without condition, without questioning His desire for us. This statement helps me to say 'Yes Lord; Thy will be done.' Just as Jim and Elisabeth did, I want to give myself wholly, entirely to the Lord's will. It is my choice to do so, and I thank God that I choose it.
"The most interesting character in this book would have to be Jim Elliot. This man gave up his greatest fleshly desire, one powerful enough to separate even the greatest of Christians from God, to follow God's will. This man loved the Lord. He not only would die, but he did die for his Savior--the ultimate gift he could give back to the Lord. No one could say with any true conviction that his intentions were not solely on doing what God had commanded him. He was no heartless man. On the contrary, he was all heart. What makes me respect this man so much is that he gave his heart, his whole being, to the pursuit of obedience.
"I wish I could say that myself. There's more than just one moral to this book. It contains a treasure drove of good Scriptural references, as well as literary perspectives from great authors and poets. If I had to name one moral however, it would be this: 'Save none of your love for another, but give it all to God because when we lose all to Him we gain it all back and in infinite measure.'
"This is the most helpful book I have ever read and possibly ever will read, though I am young yet. No other book in connection with my current status has inspired me in more ways to relinquish all authority I have to the Master of all things. I am grieved at my sin, and at the same time I am overflowing with the joyous knowledge that I am forgiven and blameless before Him when I confess.
"If I give any advice to anyone let it be to confess all to God, leave no stone unturned, no thought unspoken because God already knows and He's only waiting for you to tell Him. Prayer is our constant connection."
I love that! Now that's a paper written by a 17-year-old boy. I am so grateful to know that there are young men and women out there earnest and desirous of knowing the will of God and keeping themselves pure. One of the things which I find very heartening is that even in the secular world people are beginning to realize what absolute nonsense, what rubbish, what folly they have been given way back in the sixties and seventies. When all the rules were sort of swept off the board and the motto was "Do your own thing." "If it feels good, do it." "Don't let anybody tell you what to do."
You know, they are reaping the consequences. There are so many broken families, so many things that have had to be done over because of that absolute rubbish that was propagated back in the sixties and seventies. Of course, in the eighties and nineties many young people, such as this one whose essay I've just read, have realized that there is a far different answer. The Lord loves you with an everlasting love, and He wants you to remain pure. I will guarantee that no matter how promiscuous you men may have been in your lives, what you want for a wife is a virgin.
I have no doubt that you women who deeply desire to have a godly man for a husband, if you slept around and gave away your virginity, you just sort of want to kick yourself around the block and say, "Why did I do that?" But I'm here to tell you there is life, there is forgiveness, and there is the blood of Jesus. God will forgive you. He will not give you back your virginity. Virginity is a gift that can only be given once. But He will give you back your purity if you come to the foot of the cross, confess your sins, ask for the blood of Jesus, and the Lord can completely transform your life and turn it around.
I've had many wonderful letters from people whose lives have been completely changed. It's not too late for you. If there's any young person listening to me today who is "shacking-up," shall we say, or sleeping with a boyfriend or girlfriend, quit it. Just stop it. Make up your mind now that you will come to the foot of the cross. Say, "Lord, I need the cleansing of your blood. I will from now on remain pure. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." The Lord will restore the years that the locusts have eaten. God will purify your heart, and He will enable you to discipline yourself against all the possible assaults of the enemy who would like to get you back into bondage again.
Read 1 Corinthians 6 where it talks about, "You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body."
Lisa Barry: If you'd like a copy of the book that Josh did his book report on, it's called Passion and Purity. And we have that available for you to purchase. Something else you might enjoy is a beautiful collection of verses and quotes that have become regulars here on Gateway To Joy. You'll find them in the book called Gateway To Joy: Reflections That Draw Us Nearer to God. We'd love for you to have a copy, and the cost is $15.00. To purchase it you can send that amount to:
Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501. That's Gateway to Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501. Or call toll-free 1-800-759-4JOY. That number again is toll-free, 1-800-759-4569. Or you can also find us on the Internet at gatewaytojoy.org.
Gateway To Joy is a listener-supported production of Back to the Bible. Tomorrow we'll hear a testimony about answered prayer. Join us then for the next Gateway To Joy.