Joyful Surrender

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

Every time I think about Elisabeth Elliot I wish I could have a friend just like her in real life. I have cherished her through her words through the years. Her ideas are full of deep, pain, wisdom and sometimes they cut like a knife, others they feel like a warm balsam. The word Joy and Surrender together is very original, just as she is. We don´t use to think about surrender like joy in life. Discipline is one of the words I think when I think about her. If you are lacking wisdom in those areas you need to pick this book asap. She speaks about: Discipline of our mind (which I find the hardest) our body (the hardest 2nd place), our place, our time (hardest 3rd place), our possessions, our feelings, and our work. You want to change, read it, you want a challenge, read it, but most of all: commit. When she wrote the book, I was just 3yrs old, what an awesome thing to think about.
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There’s a timelessness about Elisabeth Elliott’s writing. This book was originally published in 1982.  Some of the issues and examples that the author uses to explain her points might be different if she had written this book in 2019.  But her sound wisdom, which is based on Biblical principles, shines through on every page of this book.  This is not some fluffy, all-about-me, how-can-I be-perfectly-happy book written in the snappy, breezy style of so many Christian authors today.  These are well-thought out chapters in which we are challenged about the disciplines of living the Christian life to please God first and live for His glory.  It’s going to take me a second reading of this book, and maybe even a third, to completely glean the wisdom she has to offer.  Elisabeth Elliot lived her life to serve her Lord, and we are blessed that she left behind these thoughts for us to ponder.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.
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Elisabeth Elliot never disappoints. This book is no exception. Chockfull of wisdom, rich insights, and application, Joyful Surrender challenges the reader to consider how all life really is for Christ by expositing the scriptures in 7 specific areas of the believer’s life.
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This is the title of a book by Elisabeth Elliot, “Joyful Surrender”.

It seems an oxymoron… Surrender is usually considered a difficult thing we try to avoid.

Elisabeth Elliot, however, has discovered that surrender can be a joyful thing, if you surrender to a loving God.

In fact, Elisabeth found that surrender to God was necessary for her to continue to live as a loving Christian after her missionary husband (Jim Elliot) was killed by a remote Indian tribe. She said that she could not feel love nor forgiveness for the Indians responsible, simply on her own.  It was God who called her to serve those Indians.  For her to follow God’s call, she had to use discipline.

Discipline was something Elisabeth had practiced for many years as a Christian.  She and her husband did nothing without God’s direction.  They always did their best to do what God’s direction told them to do.  That same discipline would help her after her husband was killed.

In the book, Elisabeth tells us about the various types of discipline (or self-control) — Discipline of our mind,  our body, our place, our time, our possessions, our feelings, and our work.

That is a lot of discipline! Elisabeth does not pretend this discipline is easy, but she says that Christians need to try to discipline themselves in order to find the joy in surrender to God.  In fact, she says that we need this discipline in order to be a real disciple of Jesus Christ.

Elisabeth says that since He is a loving God, there can be joy in surrendering to Him.

Yes, this book is challenging.  At times it seems like Elisabeth is too hard on us, but then I remember that she has lived out this discipline in her own life.  She has been able to find joy in surrender to God, despite seemingly impossible tasks given to her by God.  God wanted her to forgive the Indians who killed her husband, (leaving her a widow and their young daughter without a father), and serve them as a missionary, risking her life and her daughter’s life, and bring those Indians to believe in Christ.  

Now, since she did just that, I can read what she says about discipline and “Joyful Surrender”, and know it is possible because she did it!

I can read her book with respect, knowing that she is sharing very personal knowledge that she learned through very difficult life circumstances.  Elisabeth Elliot deserves our respect. 

We would be wise to read her book, and challenge ourselves to at least try to follow the disciplines she describes.  They worked for her!

–Are you up to the challenge of discipline?

–Do you respect Elisabeth Elliot enough to read her wise words and at least consider them?
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July 09, 2019
Joyful Surrender-Elisabeth Eliot

I received this title on my Kindle for the purpose of review for Net Galley.

There is nothing but high acclaim for this book.  Elisabeth does an awesome job of sharing the blessing of a disciplined life. 

Elisabeth is a woman just like me and she has to make decisions about her personal walk with God. 
From the very beginning and all the way thru each chapter and the particular discipline she shares scripture and proof texts of the thoughts behind her challenge.

We are indeed blessed to have her writings continue to challenge each believer and non-believer
to follow this thought process of hers:
When discipline becomes a glad surrender, "Every day we experience something of the death of Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours".
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Elisabeth Elliot is a spiritual mother to many, and this book does not disappoint.  She always presents Truth, plain and simple, with much thought-provoking and heart-searching of the reader.  I'm delighted this book was published post-humously.
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Elisabeth gave her heart to Jesus years before becoming a missionary, but the mission field taught her much more than she expected. In Joyful Surrender we learn about seven disciplines Elisabeth Elliot practiced throughout her life. Discipline of the body, mind, place, time, possessions, work and feelings are disciplines all believers should practice - not legalistically, but out of love for the Savior. When she speaks of deciding to follow the Lord, Elisabeth writes, "Jesus invites us to follow Him, and the disciple accepts. I do not say it is an easy decision, and I have found that it needs to be renewed daily." Renewing our minds daily to be in an attitude of surrender is imperative to a godly life.

Joyful Surrender is absolutely inspiring. It goes against today's popular attitude that "it's all about me" and gives Scriptural evidence that God wants us to live a life of holy conduct. It starts with surrendering our will to God's will. Practicing these disciplines doesn't make us better than anyone else or even prove anything to anybody. They are personal and are meant to keep our hearts and minds on the Lord so we can better serve Him.

I found the unfamiliar Bible translations in this book to be distracting and a hindrance to the enjoyment of the book. In spite of this, Joyful Surrender was Biblically accurate and true to Scripture. I would recommend it to anyone who longs for a deeper relationship with God. It's also a great book for older women to use to teach younger women. Surrender needs to be taught correctly in the church so our young women do not misunderstand the world's view of surrender and submission.

Note: I received a copy of this book from Revell, via NetGalley, in exchange for a free review. All opinions are my own.
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Review of Joyful Surrender: 7 Disciplines for the Believer’s Life, by Elisabeth Elliot   
Format: eBook
I remember attending a conference in the early 80s in which Elisabeth Elliot was one of the speakers.  Do I really remember her delivering a condensed version of this book in her talk, some 38 years ago, or do I just want to think I remember?
Regardless, this book has stood the test of time. Joyful Surrender was originally penned in 1982 by Elisabeth Elliot, under the title Discipline: the glad surrender. The title and the cover have been changed, but I believe just about everything else has been kept as it was. The Scripture versions are all the original ones Elliot used, and some are rarely listed as modern references: The New English Bible, The Jerusalem Bible, and J. B. Phillips translation of the New Testament.
The seven disciplines Elliot examines are of the Body, Mind, Place, Time, Possessions, Work, and Feelings. Elliot speaks some hard truths, calling fat, fat (even gluttony); and lazy, lazy. She related an incident in which a woman asked her to pray she would get a job. Elliot asked her how long she had been out of work. The woman replied she had been out of work, and on government assistance, for two years. Elliot asked her what type of work she was looking for and the lady wanted a job in the television industry. Elliot told her she could surely find a job cleaning, and be able to get off of government assistance. But the woman was offended at the suggestion, because she had a Master’s degree, and only wanted to work in that field. Elliot reminded her of Paul’s words that those who do not work will not eat.
#JoyfulSurrender #NetGalley @RevellBooks
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I found parts of this book to be very interesting, but some seemed outdated. I liked the timelessness of many aspects of her writing though. 

I like how this was separated into 7 disciplines and was glad to see someone actually address physical discipline for food, sleep, and exercise. I'm not saying I'm well disciplined in all of those, but I am working hard to do better in the. And this book encouraged me to continue to care for my body as God's temple.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest review.
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First sentence: Early in the morning I sit on a window seat in a beautiful stone cottage on a remote hilltop in south Texas. It is springtime.

Elliot selected seven (mostly spiritual) disciplines to focus on in this one which was originally published in 1982. Those seven disciplines are: body, mind, place, time, possessions, work, and feelings. She defines discipline as 'the believer's answer to God's call.'

When Elliot stays on task, she offers some good insights to living the Christian life. When Elliot gets off task--which is more often than I'd prefer--she tends to ramble. For example, she often rambles on and on about where she is when she's writing a specific chapter. Her insights into where she is, what time of day it is, her current view, her feelings of the moment, etc--these don't offer anything of worth, in my opinion. Though I suppose you could argue that they reveal her humanity. (But do we really need a reminder that authors are human and have lives to live?)

Before she settles down to her subject--disciplines for living well--she seems to have several chapters about free will. (Six-ish chapters to be exact). Before reading this one I'd never considered if Elliot was "Reformed" or not. (I am Reformed.) There were some iffy statements that could definitely be construed as NOT Reformed or "free will-y" as I like to say. But I'm unwilling to say for sure--context, context, context always matters. Perhaps she is speaking not of a call to salvation but of a call to live holy lives. If she's speaking of sanctification and sanctification alone perhaps there is (some) truth in what she writes. If she is speaking of salvation, then she's definitely off the mark. It isn't as simple as she's out and out wrong. (It is that simple sometimes with some teachers/preachers/writers. But usually not. Usually there is a mingling of right and wrong, true and false, wisdom and foolishness.)
God calls me. In a deeper sense than any other species of earth-bound creature, I am called. And in a deeper sense I am free, for I can ignore the call. I can turn a deaf ear. I can say that no call came. I can deny that God called or even that God exists. What a gift of amazing grace--that the One who made me allows me to deny His existence! God created me with the power to disobey, for the freedom to obey would be nothing at all without the corresponding freedom to disobey. I can answer no, or I can answer yes. My fulfillment as a human being depends on my answer, for it is a loving Lord who calls me through the world's fog to His island of peace. If I trust him, I will obey Him gladly. (12)
This much we know: a God who is sovereign chose to create a man capable of willing his own freedom and therefore capable of answering the call. (15)
We are required to take the risk, move, trust God, make a beginning. This is what Jesus always asked of those who came to Him for help of any kind. Sometimes He asked them to state their case, to affirm their desire, and often to do something positive before He could do His work. There had to be evidence of faith, some kind of beginning on their part. (19)
The grace makes it possible; the Scripture points the way; the Spirit inspires--but there is one thing more. Yet still there is something for man to do, and it is the greatest thing any man can ever do. It is put his full trust in the living God. Faith is the only thing required. (28)
God, the causer of it all, also causes us to cause. The self-determining power of the individual is part of the ordered predestination of God and of the necessity felt by His love to endow the man with a freedom like His own if He expected man to respond to His own. (34)
When the will of man acts in accord with the will of God, that is faith. When the will of man acts in opposition to the will of God, that is unbelief. (37)
God does not coerce us to follow Him. He invites us. He wills that we should will--that is, He wills our freedom to decline or to accept. (37)
In writing of the disciplines, she's not out to make easy friends. Some of what she writes is on the harsher side. For example, in her chapter on discipling the body she makes some harsh-sounding statements about weight. One can easily get the impression that in Elliot's mind to be fat is to be sinning against the Lord. It isn't just gluttony she addresses but also sloth.

But often she does have helpful/truthful insights.

A renewed mind has an utterly changed conception, not only of reality, but of possibility. A turn away from the kingdom of this world to the Kingdom of God provides a whole set of values based not on the human word, but on Christ's. (62)
The deliberate decision to think Christ's thoughts by allowing Him to remold the mind leads to a different way of seeing, which in turn leads to a different way of behaving toward others. (62)
Reality is often evil. There is a common belief that a frank expression of what one naturally feels and thinks is always a good thing because it is honest. This is not true. If the feelings and thoughts are wrong in themselves, how can expressing them verbally add up to something good? It seems to me they add up to three sins: wrong feeling, wrong thought, wrong action. (64)
The work of God is appointed. What was given to the Son to do was the will of the Father. What is given to us to do is also His will. There is always enough time to do the will of God. (100)
Feelings, like thoughts, must be brought into captivity. No one whose first concern is feeling good can be a disciple. We are called to carry a cross and to glorify God. (133)
The world says, "Go with your feelings and be honest."
The Bible says, "Go with your feelings and die."
The world says, "Deny your feelings and you're dead."
The Bible says, "But if on the other hand you cut the nerve of your instinctive actions by obeying the Spirit, you are on the way to real living. (140)
It is the will that must deal with the feelings. The will must triumph over them, but only the will that is surrendered to Christ can do this. (141)
Our love will be shown by obedience, not by how good we feel about God at a given moment. (143)
What I ought to do and what I feel like doing are seldom the same thing. (143)

This one definitely kept me thinking.
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This is a reprint of Elliot's 1982 book, reprinted in 2006 as Discipline. Discipline is our answer to God's call, she says. It is how we fulfill God's purpose for us. God provides the means but we must choose to do it.

Reading Elliot's book is like sitting across from someone while enjoying a cup of coffee. Her style of writing is very free flowing and informal. At times she writes about her life as a disciple. At other times she is clearly teaching from the Bible. She shares her thoughts on a number of topics, such as fasting, sexual control, thinking, honoring, time, possessions, work, emotions, and more. She essentially writes about one's attitude toward those topics rather than how we are to be living them to the glory of God. There are no practical steps nor particular strategy included. I have to admit I skimmed over some paragraphs.

Some young modern readers may be unfamiliar with some of the concepts Elliot relates. Under the topic of honoring, for example, Elliot writes that the wife's submissiveness to her husband is the appropriate way to honor him. Elliot also challenges readers to be at the Lord's disposal, to realize we are God's servants. Those are not exactly popular teachings today.

Elliot does have a way with words. In her chapter on time she writes, “There is always enough time to do the will of God.” (1415/2348)

This would be a good book for readers who are looking for the thoughts of a Christian reflecting on a lifetime of being a disciple. You will not find specific information on the seven disciplines.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher.. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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Self-discipline is one of the most important virtues of a Christian. In Joyful Surrender, Elisabeth Elliot explains the concept of discipline and its immense value for Christians. She teaches us how to
discipline the mind, overcome anxiety, change attitudes, trust God in trials and allow Christ to have complete control of our lives. Scripture verses, illuminating personal stories, and Elisabeth Elliot’s vivid observations of the world helps us to understand that our personal fulfillment depends solely on our obedience to God’s commands for a successful Christian life. God gave us intellectual powers, the gift of reason, a free will and invested us with the option to choose. Everything in creation is connected and solely dependent on God, the Creator, the great Mastermind of the Universe, God Omnipotent, the One who flung the stars into space, created light by His express command, spoke the Word to create matter, time and space. All creation is solely at His disposal. Elisabeth Elliot calls the Bible “a book about God and people” – God calling people who respond to Him obediently. God commands implicit obedience from people. Discipline is responding to God’s call in obedience. We must acknowledge our helplessness and obey God instantly. Unwillingness to obey violates our humanity and asserts our independence. It dishonors and displeases God. Discipline says ‘yes’ to God’s call. When we say ‘yes’ to God, we put ourselves wholeheartedly at His disposal to do whatever He says. This book teaches us the awesome power of joyful surrender to God. It empowers us to live victoriously in the world. I strongly recommend it to readers worldwide.
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