The greater the potential for good, the greater the potential for evil. That is what Jim and I found in the force of the love we bore for each other. A good and perfect gift, these natural desires. But so much the more necessary that they be restrained, controlled, corrected, even crucified, that they might be reborn in power and purity for God.
Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity (Revell, 2002), p. 68.
So few people get this.
It’s easy eat whatever you want whenever you want, to satisfy the appetite without regard to long-term consequences. Why do you think there are so much obesity today? Physical fitness takes work. Controlling one’s appetite is a full-time job. We all want a bikini body, but precious few are willing to do what it takes to have one.
The same is true with the love relationship. We all want a “happily ever after,” but how many of us are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to obtain it? Purity before marriage requires a whole lot of self-discipline. Maintaining a healthy, happy relationship after marriage requires a ton of self-sacrifice. There is no “happily ever after” unless each partner commits daily to put the other person’s needs ahead of one’s own, both before and after the vows are exchanged. This sort of discipline yields rich dividends in character development, and it forms a bond between two people that cannot be broken. It isn’t easy. It isn’t popular. But it is right. And it is good.
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Elisabeth Elliot’s 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.