Missionary Woman: Elisabeth Elliot (Joyful Surrender)

I recently had the pleasure of reading one of Elisabeth Elliot’s books: Joyful Surrender with my book club. This may be of surprise but I had only learned of her just a month prior while listening to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts on famous female missionaries and famous christian woman. After reading Joyful Surrender, I doubt she would ever consider herself “famous,” but definitely a missionary woman with a surrendered heart to Christ’s will.

In her book Joyful Surrender, she discusses 7 disciplines for the believer’s life, but there are a total of 14 chapters. The first 6 and last chapter of the book deal more with the meaning of discipleship and discipline, using personal anecdotes and scripture to guide you. As I read her book, I felt as if she were a Christian mentor speaking to me – that was one of my favorite parts of this read.

Lessons from Joyful Surrender (Missionary Woman: Elisabeth Elliot Quotes)

These are some of my favorite lessons (direct quotes from the book) chapter by chapter. Not only did some of these stand out to me, but they also stood out to others in the book club!

Ch. 2

In the lives of Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Matthew, Saul of Tarsus … They were not men who were especially concerned with questions, Is God using me? How can I be a great servant of God? They were not concerned with credit, with plans for notoriety or success. Whatever their own plans might have been, God’s took precedence.

pg. 15

Discipline is the wholehearted yes to the call of God.

pg. 16

Ch. 3

The conditions for discipleship begin with “dying,” and if you take the first step, very likely you will find that you have indeed been “called.”

pg. 20

Ch. 5

We have been given a task. Faith is a task. Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking we are making any contribution to our eternal salvation, are doing God a favor, or that He owes us anything for work done.

pg. 31

Ch. 8

It has helped me tremendously in facing a dreaded meeting with someone to take Paul’s resolve, seeking to see that person only in the context of the cross.

pg. 63

[with regards to strongholds] The enemy has made use of an area of weakness as his power base, and he hits us again and again.

pg. 67

Ch. 9

A missionary must be humble enough to be flexible. … It is to minister, not to be ministered to, that we are sent.

pg. 89

Ch. 10

There is always enough time to do the will of God.

pg. 100

Ch. 11

Covetousness involves suspicion about the goodness and love of God … Faith looks up with open hands.

pg. 108

Ch. 12 (My favorite chapter: The Discipline of Work)

If our work seems to be beneath us, … boring and meaningless, … It is not the life of freedom and fullness a disciple’s life is designed to be.

pg. 121

Not only is work itself a blessing. The ability to work is a gift.

pg. 128

A Christian is characterized by a willingness to work.

pg. 130

Ch. 13

[Referring to Jesus] His face was set “like flint” to do the will of His Father, and no human feelings, overwhelming as they must have been, deterred Him.

pg. 138

Ch. 14

The goal of every true disciple is to please his God. The Bible is our guidebook, showing us how to do that.

pg. 149

Was Elisabeth Elliot Catholic or Christian?

Something I found strange in this book was the mention of Catholic priests though Elisabeth Elliot is Christian. There were instances where she refers to their writings and shares a bit about their lives. For example, the dedication page quotes Saint John of the Cross and there are mentions of Saint Benedict, Saint Francis and Fénelon in the chapters.

This is my first time reading one of her writings so I’d be cautious next time because I personally do not like to read Catholic teachings.

Conclusion on Joyful Surrender by Missionary Woman Elisabeth Elliot

Overall, Joyful Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot was a nice read. I took on the perspective that she was a mentor sharing her wisdom and definitely gained some nuggets which I have shared above.

My least favorite part was her bringing Catholic priests into her writing. I don’t know if this is common in her books, but something to watch out.

Despite that, we can definitely learn a lot from her about what it means to be a woman surrendered to God. Elisabeth Elliot was a missionary woman with a selfless heart to serve and do the will of God.

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