Exchange Rate

In our travels to other nations we usually get some currency to use while in their country. My most recent trip required an exchange of US funds to Euros. Depending on the country and its economy, there are various exchange rates that banks offer.

This concept of “exchanging” echoes missionary Hudson Taylor’s reference to abundant life in Christ as the Exchanged Life.[1]  This title reflects biblical passages such as Galatians 2:20 “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.” Jesus came to give us life that is eternal and abundant.

So what do we “exchange”? A transaction has already taken place for all true believers in Christ; we have been positionally and spiritually united with Him in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension—Praise God!” (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 2:6). For abundant living we exchange our self-oriented life for a Christ-centered life. What is the “exchange rate” in this case? Our self-sufficiency “deposited” in the bank of heaven would be worth $0.00, but God’s grace would returns to us  Unlimited Provision. What a deal!

A profound truth about this exchange is that as we deny our fleshly “self-life” we discover the enabling grace of God released in our experience. The apostle Paul expressed it this way: “For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:11). And we are promised: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His  life” (Rom. 5:10).

Our Father assures us that the indwelling resurrection life of Christ is more than adequate to handle the problems and difficulties that we face.

The Lord’s call for us to “deny ourselves and take up the Cross” (Luke 9:23) can be summarized in the phrase “not me, but God…in spite of the cost..” Since the soul has the faculties of mind, will, and emotions, I’ve found it helpful to use three petitions that correspond to these aspects of the soul’s need for this breakthrough and ongoing “exchange.”

1. Regarding your mind, pray: “GOD’S PERSPECTIVE, NOT MINE.”

Instead of living according to the flesh patterns we have been programmed with over the years, we are to accept God’s revelation in His Word. We are to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). His perspective includes the correct view of God’s character, and our spiritual identity in Christ.

Michael Wells gave an example of the practical relevance of having God’s perspective on our identity:

“One day I was eating in a restaurant and sharing the Lord with a friend. The man behind me overheard the conversation, and when I was leaving, he identified himself as a Christian and a recovering alcoholic. I stuck out my hand immediately and responded, ‘Nice to meet you. I’m Mike, a child of God.’ Then I asked him, ‘Which would you rather be, a recovering alcoholic or a child of God? [in terms of essential identity]’ He returned to the office with me and we shared the exchanged life truths. Again, there are two ways to be controlled by alcohol: one is needing it and the other is having to stay away from it. Either way, one’s identity remains the same—an alcoholic. Jesus did not come, however, so we could remain the same and merely be sinners who don’t sin. He took away the [spiritual] life in us that desires sin [the ‘old man’] and replaced it with a heavenly one—His very life. We possess a new identity; now we are saints, not sinners. Satan’s definition of a hypocrite and God’s are totally different. Satan tells us when we try to act holy we are hypocrites, because we are really wicked, vile sinners. On the other hand, God tells us we are hypocrites when we sin, because we are really holy saints! Even to the church in Corinth, with all her problems and sins, Paul addressed his letter to saints. Remember, we are not saints because of works, but by birth.” [2]

2. Regarding your will, pray: “GOD’S WILL, NOT MINE.”

Our Lord Jesus, though sinless, expressed this devotion in Gethsemane when He prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).

As Christians, we affirm that “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Although this is a fact objectively, do we yield to His rightful claim on every area of life? The scope includes spheres of personal and corporate, private and public, “secular” and “religious”, work and play, business and family.

The attitude of surrender is concisely expressed in this song by Lynn Keesecker: “Yes, Lord, Yes”

Yes, Lord, yes to Your will and to Your way.
Yes, Lord, yes; I will trust You and obey.
When Your Spirit works in me, with my whole heart I’ll agree,
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes.

3. Regarding your emotions, pray: “GOD’S RESOURCES, NOT MINE.”

Our Lord illustrated this principle by the metaphor of the vine: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

C. G. Trumbull recalls learning this lesson:

“I was in Edinburgh, attending the World Missionary Conference, and I saw that one whose writings had helped me greatly was to speak to men Sunday afternoon on ‘The Resources of the Christian Life.’ I went eagerly to hear him. I expected him to give us a series of definite things that we could do to strengthen our Christian life; and I knew I needed them. But his opening words showed me my mistake, while they made my heart leap with a new joy. What he said was something like this: ‘The resources of the Christian life, my friends are just—Jesus Christ.’ That was all. But that was enough … We are to say in blind, cold faith if need be, ‘I know that my Lord Jesus is meeting my all my needs now (even my need for faith), because His grace is sufficient for me.’ [3]

Will you made these petitions your own? With this bountiful exchange rate from God’s heavenly bank, let’s live out of the spiritual resources of Christ, “Who is our life” (Col 3:3)!


[1] Dr. Howard and Geraldine Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret (Moody Press).  Mr Taylor’s testimonial letter:

[2] Michael Wells, Sidetracked in the Wilderness (Revell), p. 108,109.

[3] Charles G. Trumbull, Victory in Christ, (CLC), p.23,32.

I gave a talk on The Nature of The Exchange at a GFI equipping event. The audio recording is here:

Copyright 2000 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint if credit is given to the author and Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version (copyrighted by Thomas Nelson).

Posted in