The following quotation comes from Elisabeth Elliot’s book Passion and Purity (Revell, 2002), pp. 39-40. Her writing has greatly influenced my life, even as a grown married woman. I truly wish someone had introduced me to her works when I was a teenager, but I am learning that it is never too late to incorporate the principles she teaches: namely, that passion is not sinful and purity is not prudish. Nor are they mutually exclusive. You can have both.
In Lilias Trotter’s beautifully illustrated book, Parables of the Cross, she describes the death-life cycle of plants, which illustrates the spiritual processes that must go on in us if we are to die to self and live to God. In the love life, as well as in other areas:
The fair new petals must fall, and for no visible reason. No one seems enriched by the stripping.
And the first step into the realm of giving is a like surrender—not manward but Godward: an utter yielding of our best. So long as our idea of surrender is limited to the renouncing of unlawful things, we have never grasped its true meaning: that is not worthy of the name for “no polluted thing” can be offered.
The life lost on the Cross was not a sinful one—the treasure poured forth there was God-given, God-blessed treasure, lawful and right to be kept: only that there was the life of the world at stake.
What kind of a God is it who asks everything of us? The same God who “…did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all; and with this gift how can he fail to lavish upon us all he has to give?”