Jim Elliot: From “Shadow of the Almighty”

We focus our attention on a man who never wrote a book. He did write a diary and what a powerful testimony it is! No book, other than the Bible, has affected my life than the one entitled, “Shadow of the Almighty.” It is a compilation of the prayers and meditations of the young missionary, Jim Elliot, composed by his wife after his martyrdom, in 1956. His life was short on quantity but long on quality. When you read it, you cannot help but be stunned by the passionate faith and love this young man has for the One who gave all for him. This one declaration characterized the way he lived and the way he died: “He is no fool who give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” The following is the first of several presentations of the quotes from the heart of this young disciple of Jesus. Get ready to be blessed and challenged.

“Begin each day with a private reading of the Word and prayer. Bunyan said it well, “’Sin will keep you from this book, or this book will keep you from this book.’” 39

[After his freshmen year at Wheaton] “It’s been a profitable year drawing closer to my Savior and discovering gems in His Word. How wonderful to know that Christianity is more than a padded pew or a dim cathedral, but it is a real, living, daily experience which goes on from grace to grace. And its goal-sometimes seemingly distant, but bright and unfading, lit up and glowing with the beauties of the Son of Righteousness.”

[At home In the summer between school years] “Oh to be reveling in the knowledge of Him, rather than wallowing in the quagmire of inscrutable philosophy! My philosophy prof says I can’t expect to learn much in his class-all he wants to do is to develop an inquiring mind in order to ‘make explicit and critically examine philosophical problems of the widest generality.’ Ho hum.” 40

“My grades came through this week, and were, as expected, lower than last semester. However, I make no apologies, and admit I’ve let them drag a bit for study of the Bible, in which I seek the degree A. U. G., ‘approved unto God.’” 43

I lack the fervency, vitality, life in prayer which I long for. I know that many consider it fanaticism when they hear anything which does not conform to the conventional, sleep inducing eulogies, so often rising from Laodicean lips; but I know too that these same people can acquiescently tolerate sin in their lives without so much a tilting one hair of their eyebrows. Cold prayers, like cold suitors, are seldom effective in their aims. 44

For you brother, I pray that the Lord might crown you this year with His goodness and in the coming one give you a hallowed dare-devil spirit in lifting the biting sword of Truth, consuming you with a passion that is called by the cultured citizens of Christendom ‘fanaticism,’ but known to God as that saintly madness that led His Son through bloody sweat and hot tears to agony on a rude Cross- and Glory!” 53

Fix your eyes on the rising Morning Star. Don’t be disappointed at anything or over elated, either. Live every day as if the Son of Man were at your door, and gear your thinking to the fleeting moment. Just how con it be redeemed? Walk as if the next step would carry you across the threshold of Heaven. Pray. That saint who advances on his knees never retreats. /53

Our young men are going into the professional fields because they don’t ‘feel called’ to the mission field. We don’t need a call; we need a kick in the pants. We must begin thinking in terms of ‘going out,’ and stop weeping because ‘they won’t come in.’ Who wants to step into an igloo? The tombs themselves are not colder than the churches. May God send us forth. /54

God, I pray Thee, light up these idle sticks of my life and may I burn up for thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus. /55

It sobered me considerably to think that the Lord kept me from harm in this. Certainly He has a work that He wants me in somewhere. Oh that I might ‘apprehend that for which I am apprehended. /55

‘He makes His ministers a flame of fire.’ Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dead asbestos of ‘other things.’ Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I might be aflame. But flame is transient, often short lived. Canst thou bear this, my soul- short life? In me there dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God’s house consumed Him. And he has promised baptism with the Spirit with Fire. ‘Make me thy fuel, Flame of God.’