How God Spells Relief
Some of the specific patterns of flesh that the Lord gave me victory over were the fear of rejection and the fear of man. Up until this time, I had not fully relied on God’s love for me and had depended too much on human love. I tried to win this acceptance on the basis of my performance or what the Bible would call “works.” I feared people rejecting me. The Lord taught me to accept the acceptance He had provided for me in Christ (Romans 15:7; John 17:23). I am totally accepted and loved by God apart from any work that I might do because I am in Christ. He is my acceptance. Therefore I don’t have to let others control me by my fearing their rejection.
Another symptom that God dealt with was my fear of man (Proverbs 29:25). I feared what people would say about me or might do to me. This brought me under bondage to their control rather than being under Christ’s control. But now that I know that Christ is my strength as He lives His life within me (Philippians 4:13), I don’t have to fear other people.
Can you imagine the stress that these fears and performance based acceptance put on me? It was such a relief to find release from this stress in Christ! God spells relief, J E S U S.
Other results that relying on my union with Christ brought were:
1. Freedom from inferior feelings through knowing who I am in Christ.
2. Drawing close to God as an intimate friend, rather than a distant, formal, unfeeling deity.
3. Learning to cast my burdens on the Lord rather than carrying them myself.
A “Secret” Too Good to Keep
Another significant result of experiencing Christ as my life was that I wanted to share Him with others. This led to my getting training in an Exchanged Life Workshop and Advanced Training and then to establishing Exchanged Life Ministries in the Dallas area where we could minister Christ and His sufficiency to people through discipleship, conferences and training.
What a thrill it is to see people’s lives transformed by Christ! The stories found in our book, Exchanged Lives, are only a small portion of the many who have found life in Christ through Exchanged Life Ministries. I wish you could personally meet these people.
Resting in the Faithful One
The more Satan has attacked Carolyn and me, the more it has driven us into our only safe shelter, the Lord Jesus Christ. God has used the trials brought to us to draw us closer to Him and to cause our faith to mature and our hope to be even more stable (James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-5).
One of the most significant things that God has done is given me a deepened and renewed trust in Christ’s adequacy to be truly responsible for me and all related to me. This is in stark contrast to the weight of responsibility that I have often felt. My flesh tends to take almost everything very seriously.
God, in His great love for me, has wanted to relieve me of this pressure so I could be a testimony of His faithfulness, not mine. In order to do this, God let it get really “hot in the kitchen” to show me that all my well-intended sense of responsibility was inadequate. First, a couple of situations developed with my children that were crushing. No matter how hard I tried or how deeply I cried, the situations didn’t get better, they got worse. I was put in a position of having to either release the problems to the Lord or continue to lose sleep, have an over-taxed mind and a churned-up stomach.
Another matter that the Lord brought to the surface was my concern over finances in our family and in the ministry. I was not sure what to do about it. In fact, it seemed that little could be done to change it. Here again, the Lord stepped in with a solution I was not expecting. God is full of surprises! What all this is showing me is that it’s a waste of my time and energy to get worked up over anything. My life and all connected to it is in Christ’s very capable hands. Why not just rest in His love, power and provision? The story of Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, in a booklet, The Exchanged Life, has joyfully refreshed me that all I need is in Christ. My concern, if there is any, should be preoccupation with Him, not my own condition, not my problems, not my victory or lack of it. When Taylor saw this the weight and strain was gone, though responsibilities had grown and grown for him, as they have for me. I see, like J. Hudson Taylor did, that it is futile to find strength, intelligence or even enough faith to meet them all. It is not striving for more faith but resting in the Faithful One!
The Lord is burning into my mind two things about the sufficiency of Christ:
1. Christ within is all I need for my needs and my identity. I need search nowhere else or in nobody else! I have been learning very vividly that God loves me unconditionally no matter what. Yet there is more. Christ should be my focus, not my getting my love need met! The love need will be met as a necessary consequence but the focus should not be there! Identity is found through what He has made me to be, yet the big thing is Christ, not my identity, even as it’s in Him.
2. But that is not all! Christ is all I need for victory over sin and circumstances. My identity with Him in co-crucifixion renders me dead to sin (Romans 6:6, 11). My identity with Him in co-resurrection and ascension renders me more than a conqueror over circumstances (Romans 8:35-37).
I never want to see myself as apart from Christ. Since He is my rest and resource, the flesh and Satan want me not to be trusting in my union with Him. If I abide in the fact of my union with my exalted Lord, whatever does not ruffle or agitate Him today does not have the power to ruffle or agitate me. If it does, it’s only my feelings. I don’t have to let them twist me around! I can stand firm on truth, not just abstract truth, but personal truth, on Him who is the Truth that sets us free (John 8:32, 36).
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