Eric Ludy - Total Surrender to Christ - Episode 20 | Compelled Podcast

#20 Total Surrender – Eric Ludy

Although Eric Ludy is best known for his popular books about purity, this episode explores Eric’s journey of surrender to Christ. Eric yielded his career, his reputation, his finances, and even his family to God’s will.

Despite the difficulties Eric has experienced living for Jesus, he has found deeper intimacy with Christ to be a sweet reward which has made every trial worthwhile.

Win a free book from Eric Ludy by entering the giveaway contest further down this page.

Episode Summary

The following is a summary of the podcast interview above with Eric Ludy. Many more details are included in the original podcast episode and we encourage you to listen.

Growing Up

Eric Ludy was saved as a young child. Eric came to love Jesus deeply, and, as a 3-year-old, collected pictures of Jesus and even slept with them at night.

However, as Eric grew older, he began learning that being a Christian wasn’t always “cool” and eventually traded following Jesus for the approval of his peers. Eric was so successful in gaining popularity he was voted homecoming king in both high school and college.

Eric’s life remained unyielded to Christ as he entered college. Instead, he threw himself into academics. Eric’s goal was to become a doctor, and he was at the top of his class. But God had other plans for Eric. He was about to change everything in Eric’s life through an unexpected Christmas gift.

An Unexpected Gift

Ironically, while Eric’s life was consumed with his own goals and interests, his sister was in the process of becoming a missionary. Eric’s relationship with his sister was strained as he felt she was too “religious,” but her Christmas gifts to him were always his favorite. 

So when Christmas rolled around shortly after Eric turned 19, he was particularly intrigued by his sister’s gift, as she said she had prayed about it. The gift turned out to be a book about Keith Green, a famous Christian musician who had lived a life sold out to Jesus before dying at a young age.

Eric’s sister told him that Keith reminded her of Eric in many ways. Initially, Eric was repulsed by the book, but eventually, curiosity overtook him, and he read it.

God used the story in a powerful way to convict Eric of his sin and bring him to repentance. And, all of a sudden, Eric couldn’t do anything but tell other people about Jesus.

Eric was so moved by the book his sister had given him that he quickly gave it away, hoping to impact someone else. He bought numerous copies to give away to friends, including his brother. Like Eric, his brother was initially skeptical of the book, saying Eric had become too much like their “religious” sister. Eric convinced him to read it though, and, by another mighty act of God, Eric’s brother gave his life to Christ as well.

A New Passion

Once Eric gave his life to Christ, his priorities shifted and his life began to look very different. School and his career path took a backseat to activities like sharing the Gospel with friends and earnest prayer for revival across his college campus. 

Eric started to re-evaluate his life’s direction and came under the conviction that his decisions should be made based on God’s will rather than his own. 

Layer by layer, God was transforming Eric into His likeness by giving him brand new desires. Eric was in love with Jesus, just as he was in his childhood. However, Eric’s yearning for popularity was still there, posing a threat to his re-discovered faith, and Eric’s commitment to Christ was about to be tested.

Eric Ludy, The Radical

Eric was in a casual conversation with his peers on the way to a youth retreat when the topic of purity came up. “I love my future wife right now,” Eric told his friends. Eric wasn’t married or even in a relationship, so his friends were mystified. 

Eric went on to explain his conviction purity was not merely physical but also a matter of the heart. He loved his future wife right then by honoring her through his thoughts even though he had no idea who she would be. 

Eric’s friends were incredulous. This was a concept they had never heard of before, and it sounded strange. Maybe even absurd. 

That weekend, someone asked Eric to speak at the retreat on the topic of purity. Eric had only 10 minutes to prepare. Eric’s flesh longed to bring a message that would be well-received, and popular with the listeners. So it was with dread that he realized God wanted him to share his unpopular convictions about internal purity. 

For the next 10 minutes, Eric struggled internally. Would he obey God’s leading? Or cave to his own desires? 

Eric gave the unpopular message, and, when he finished, there was no applause. In fact, many people felt he should ask for forgiveness from the crowd for speaking condemnation. Eric was labeled a radical, something he did not enjoy. However, it turned out that this uncomfortable experience was only foreshadowing what was to come next in Eric’s life. 

A New Calling

Eventually, Eric met and married his wife, Leslie. They wrote a book together about their relationship and their convictions about purity, challenging Christians to let God “write their love story.” 

Eric had continued to work toward becoming a doctor, and, just as he was about to enter medical school, requests began pouring in for Eric and Leslie to speak. Christians were intrigued by the ideas in the Ludy’s book and wanted to learn more. 

Even though Eric and Leslie had no desire to become speakers, God made it increasingly clear to them that speaking – not the medical field – was His plan for them. Eric had to once again make the decision to yield his own will to God’s. 

A Tough Decision

Eric and Leslie soon found themselves travelling all around the world to speak to churches, and Eric soon found his desire for the approval of man would once again prove to be a point of temptation as well as an opportunity for growth. 

In one instance, Eric was scheduled to speak at several churches across Australia. Just as he was travelling overseas to preach a message of true revival, he learned a popular “revival” movement was spreading like wildfire across the country.

This movement had questionable teachings about the Holy Spirit and left people making animal noises after each meeting.

When Eric showed up at the first church he was scheduled to preach at, the pastor excitedly shared about the previous 28 preachers who had visited their church, all who were part of the new movement. 

Inwardly cringing, Eric realized he was faced with a choice, whether he would preach a popular, watered-down message or a message laced with the truth of God.

Australian Revival

The response to Eric’s sermon at the Australian church was reminiscent of the response to his first public speaking experience. There was no applause. However, Eric felt led by the Lord to provide the congregation with a time for confession of sins. He sat down and, for 10 minutes, his wife played the piano to fill the awkward silence that settled over the congregation.

Then one woman got up and tearfully confessed sin against her father. They embraced and were restored. Another person got up and shared. Then another and another. People in the church were confessing sins for 2 hours. 

One woman had left when the confession started, convicted because she too had unconfessed sin in her life. She told herself she would come back in 2 hours, and, if people were still there confessing, she would obey the prompting in her heart. She was moved to tears when she showed back up at the church and people were indeed still confessing sin. She too confessed and was restored that day.

Training Disciples

As Eric continued to speak at churches all over the globe and watched revival sweep over the Church, God placed a burden on his heart for discipleship. Seeing people come to Christ for the first time or as a renewed commitment was exciting, but Eric often wondered… what happened when he left? 

Eric longed to see people so committed to the Gospel that they would willingly die for their faith. He wanted to give people, especially young people, a “toolbox” to help them live victorious Christian lives. 

In 2009, the Ellerslie Mission Society was founded, designed to equip students with a radical Gospel, not just for salvation but for daily life. Launching a Bible school is no small undertaking, and, although Eric didn’t originally set out to do so, the school came to operate under somewhat of a “George Mueller model.” 

Eric has routinely seen God provide for needs at the last minute. In 32 out of the past 48 months (as of when we conducted this interview), Ellerslie has experienced a financial gap of no less than $30,000, yet has always seen that gap miraculously closed at the last minute by God’s grace.. There has never been a week when Eric didn’t see all of the school’s needs met. 

In one specific instance, Ellerslie was short $30,000 the day payments were supposed to be made. Even if a check were to have shown up that day, it couldn’t have been deposited and had the funds transferred in time to pay all of the bills. In God’s faithfulness, someone drove up to the campus that very day with exactly $30,000 in cash.

Worth the Trials 

Through all of the difficulties he has experienced, Eric has found true joy in serving Christ. Eric has often found himself begging God to take away trials, yet sensing a reminder from God of the intimacy with Christ he would miss were it not for suffering.

In these moments, Eric has realized he would never trade all that he’s gone through for a life of ease; relationship with Christ is worth more.

For any believer wondering if the Christian life is worth it, Eric’s story speaks a resounding, “Yes!”

Win a free book from Eric Ludy!

We’re giving away 3 of Eric’s books to our podcast listeners:

  • When God Writes Your Love Story
  • Wrestling Prayer
  • The Bravehearted Gospel
Eric Ludy books

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Show Notes

Eric Ludy
Eric Ludy

Books that influenced Eric:

Books written by Eric Ludy:

Ministries Eric is involved with:

The Gospel (short film)

He is (short film)