Moving from Head to Heart:
The need for a miraculous answer to chronic spiritual and psychological problems
Being made in God’s image we have ultimate needs, including the need for love, acceptance, worth, and belonging. Women seem especially aware of the need for security, and men are typically on a search for significance. Going back to Genesis chapters 1-3, before the Fall, how many ultimate needs of Adam and Eve were fulfilled by God? 100% of them! But after the Fall, we live in a sin-cursed world with people running around trying to fulfill ultimate needs with substitutes–usually personal relationships. The primary human vessels to meet these needs in our formative years are our parents. To the extent these needs are not met by relationships we have experienced rejection.
What’s the antidote for rejection? Psychology uses self-help and self-esteem. We believe God has a better way: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts’ ” (Isaiah 55:8). Through the Exchanged Life and freedom in Christ, we experience God as our Ultimate Source (Gal. 2:20; John 8:32). He heals our hurts and gives us a new, unchangeable identity and adequate resources for living!
What is the entrance ramp to this highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8)? The following steps are typical of how God leads believers to appropriate Christ as life. In the ministry of discipleship counseling we seek to facilitate this process. Prayerfully consider these steps of sanctification.
1. Be convicted of your flesh patterns.
When we were saved, God convicted us of our sins and revealed Christ’s death for us. For abundant living, the Holy Spirit convicts us of “self” with its unique version of the flesh. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:17).The remedy is a discovery of our spiritual union with Christ (Phil. 3:3-10).
2. Be broken of self-will, self-sufficiency, and pride.
Full surrender is a prerequisite to exchanging our life for Christ’s life (Rom. 12;1,2). This leads to giving up on our ability to life the Christian life in any other way than radical dependance on Christ within (Rom. 7:24,25; John 12:24). Paul put this clearly as he remembered God’s revelation: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
3. Learn the truths of identification with Christ.
We are not separate from Christ; we have been united with Him in spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). We were crucified with Him, buried with Him, raised with Him, and have ascended with Him! (Eph. 2:4-7). He is the Vine; we are branches (John 15:1-8). Just as we were born in Adam and were legally and spiritually condemned in him, so we are now legally and spiritually made righteous in our new Head–Christ Jesus! (1 Cor 15:22; Rom 5:12-21; 6:4-14; 1 Cor. 1:30,31; 6:17).
4. Be illumined by the Holy Spirit as to the personal reality and significance of identification with Christ.
The Holy Spirit is credited with convincing us that Jesus Christ is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). He is also the One who illumines us to the personal reality of identification–dropping this truth from head to heart, from knowledge to experience (1 Cor. 2:11-13).
5. Appropriate Christ as Life by faith.
Just as we were saved from hell by grace through faith, we can be saved from self by grace through faith. Abundant Life requires an appropriation by faith of Christ as your Lord and Life.  Romans 6:11,12 describe this personalization of faith as “reckoning.” Count to be true personally what is true of you biblically! The “Selfer’s Prayer” is a sample of the kind of surrender and faith that welcomes Christ to be our source of living (Col. 3:1-4; Col. 2:6,7; 1 John 5:4). As Paul testified, so reckon this as true of you: “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” (Gal. 2:20; Cf. 1 John 5:4).
We count on this by cultivating a trusting awareness of Christ’s presence within. Norman Harrison wrote:
“‘Christ liveth in me.’ Paul knew it–knew it was a daily, practical fact. Since He is too deep down for feeling, we must do much consciously to realize His presence during the day. Especially would we urge you the forming of this habit: Never rise from your bed till you have assured yourself for the day, ‘Christ lives in me.’ “
This faith is not necessarily confirmed by feeling supernatural sensations; faith rests in the facts and promises of God. The initial appropriation may be in a crisis event or a more gradual process. However, the believer’s focus is not on an experience, but on the Person of Christ (Col. 2:6,7).
In the book of Joshua, the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant were bidden to walk by faith into the Jordan. God was faithful and parted the waters there, just as He had led Israel through the Red Sea 40 years earlier. Likewise, the Promised land of Abundant Life is available to all God’s People who live out of their spiritual union with the heavenly Joshua (Joshua 3:13-16; John 10:10; Heb. 4:8-10).
These directives point the way for you to appropriate Christ as Life, moving from head knowledge to heart assurance. With this confidence you cooperate with God, living as a branch on the true Vine, bearing fruit for His glory.
 For further reading, see The Ins and Out of Rejection, by Dr. Charles Solomon. (Solomon Publications). 1-888-66GRACE.
 The “Selfer’s Prayer” is a sample of the kind of surrender and faith that welcomes Christ to be our source of living (Col. 3:1-4). See the corresponding Grace Note.
 Norman Harrison, New Testament Living. (His International Service), p.67.
 The name “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew “Joshua,” meaning “Yahweh is Salvation.”
Grace Notes: Copyright 2004, revised 2013 by John Woodward.