I’ve been asked more than once what the deeper Christian life is all about.
While it has also been called the Exchanged Life, the Victorious Christian Life, or the Narrow Way of the Cross, simply, the deeper Christian life is one of absolute surrender to, complete dependency upon, and abiding faith in Jesus. It is a life that is obsessed with, focused upon, and sourced by Jesus Himself as I live in continual response to Him. Paul said: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2.20).
Out of intimacy with Him and the flow of the indwelling Holy Spirit within, Jesus produces and becomes my victory and triumph in life; He is all that I need. As the great Keswick preacher Handley Moule declared:
[The Christian life is] to be like [Christ]. To displace self from the inner throne and to enthrone Him; to make not the slightest compromise with the smallest sin. We aim at nothing less than to walk with God all day long, to abide every hour in Christ, and He and His words in us, to love God with all the heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. . . . *
The Christian life is not focused upon my efforts or my abilities, it is a sole focus on the Person of Jesus as the substance and source of my life. Ian Thomas once captured it well when we wrote:
The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you – your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything – then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it! … True Godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only explanation for you, is Jesus.
We are not promoting laziness, apathy, or “sit on a couch until Jesus forces me to do something,” rather it is the interaction of my life and His in oneness and response. I become the vessel by which He flows His life and love, His Gospel, Truth and triumph through. I become the stage upon which He acts and demonstrates Himself to a lost and dying world around me. I become His hands and feet to a needy and broken world.
In the Christian life there is a desire for greater growth and depth. It is, as my friend Eric Ludy states, “an endless frontier” to explore and ever press onward in. As we live in the dark chocolate richness of Jesus in this moment, we realize that this is but a taste and must continue onward and upward. Andrew Murray captured this when we stated:
You will ask me, are you satisfied? Have you got all you want? God forbid. With the deepest feeling of my soul I can say that I am satisfied with Jesus now; but there is also the consciousness of how much fuller the revelation can be of the exceeding abundance of His grace. Let us never hesitate to say, This is only the beginning.
What is the deeper Christian life you ask? It is a life focused on, filled with, and dependent upon Jesus Christ. It is an ever increasing intimacy and oneness of relationship with the God of the universe. It is being filled and sourced by the Spirit of God. It is plunging headlong into the endless depths of Jesus, drinking in more and more, with the prayer of a kid in a swimming pool of chocolate: “Oh Lord, increase my capacity!”
If you want a picture of what such a life looks like, open any biography of these heroic Christians of old and you will discover a hint of what is possible when we embark down the path of the deeper Christian life.
A few deeper Christian lives from the last couple centuries:
C.T. Studd, Hudson Taylor, George Muller, Rees Howells, Andrew Murray, A.W. Tozer, William Booth, Amy Carmichael, Samuel Brengle, Richard Wurmbrand, Leonard Ravenhill, Paris Reidhead, Corrie Ten Boom, Samuel Morris, George Whitefield, John Wesley, David Brainerd, Charles Spurgeon, Francois Fenelon, Watchman Nee, E.M. Bounds, John Hyde, Handley Moule, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Madame Guyon, Keith Green, Jackie Pullinger, D.L. Moody, Major Ian Thomas, Charles Trumbull, Gladys Aylward, David Wilkerson, Duncan Campell, Francis Asbury, Jonathan Goforth, and Oswald Chambers.
Question 1: What questions do you have about the deeper Christian life?
Question 2: Who are some of your favorite Christian heroes from yesteryear?
Answer in the comments below.
*Bishop Moule in his Thoughts on Christian Sanctity, as quoted in The Keswick Story by John Charles Pollock (CLC Publications, 2006, pages 98-99)