Precise Directions

A friend who came to visit our family was dropped off in Toronto by his father. He planned to take the subway to the bus station, then catch a bus to our town in southern Ontario. He knew approximately where the subway station was, but asked someone on the street for directions. “I’ll bring you there,” said the older immigrant who escorted our friend a few blocks to a restaurant. The sign over the door read “Subway”–but it was a submarine sandwich shop! After discreetly getting precise directions, he found the subway station and continued his journey.

Many believers are on a quest to find relief from besetting sins, dysfunctional relationships, and inner turmoil. They search the Bible, listen to sermons, and read devotional literature, but end up with vague directions at best and contradictory, misguided instructions at worst. The searching disciple may have caught a glimmer of hope through promises like 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.” However, many wonder exactly how this quality of life can be experienced today. Those who enjoy this abiding life know it’s real, but often have difficulty explaining to others “how to get there.” The need for precise directions remains.

Consider these three essentials for “life more abundant” in Christ.

1. Know

What should we know? Romans 6:6 tells us: “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with [rendered inoperative], that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” This refers to the Holy Spirit illuminating the child of God to grasp his co-death with Christ. We tend to think of Christ’s work on the Cross as “He died for us.” This is wonderfully true (1 Pet. 3:18). But equally wonderful is the truth that “we died with Christ!” No, we did not die physically with him 2000 years ago at Calvary, but we did die with Him positionally and spiritually. When we are born again, the dead human spirit (the “old man”) is canceled out by Calvary; our regenerated spirit (the “new man”) is united with Christ (Eph. 2:1; Col. 3:9-10). So we truly are one with Christ (1 Cor. 6:17). He is the true Vine, we are the branches; He is the Head, we are His body (John 15:1-5; 1 Cor. 12:27).

A century ago a missionary in India had an unusual dream about the Cross; the dream impressed on him the reality of his co-crucifixion with Christ. F.J. Huegel recorded,

“In this dream, it was not the Savior’s bleeding form which held his eye. It was an exceedingly ugly thing, an indescribably loathsome thing, the nature of which he could not make out. What was the thing that so horrified him? Later, as he heard the message of identification, and realized that with Christ he had been crucified, the Spirit revealed to him that the loathsome thing he had seen in his dream was none other than himself.” [1]

This worker went on to greatly promote the teaching of the believer’s identification with Christ.

Watchman Nee clarified this step of knowing:

“Read them together: ‘Knowing that our old man was crucified,’… ‘reckon ye yourselves to be dead’ (Rom. 6:6,11). That is the order. When we know that our old man has been crucified with Christ, then the next step is to reckon it so. Unfortunately, in presenting the truth of our union with Christ the emphasis has too often been placed upon this second matter of reckoning ourselves to be dead, as though that were the starting point, whereas it should rather be upon knowing ourselves to be dead… What, then, is the secret of reckoning? To put it in one word, it is revelation. We need a revelation from God Himself (Matt. 16:17). We need to have our eyes opened to the fact of our union with Christ, and that is something more than knowing it as a doctrine.” [2]

It was to encourage this first step that Paul prayed that our eyes of understanding would be enlightened (Eph. 1:17-21). How about reading and meditating on that prayer. Make it your own. God delights in illumining His children!

2. Surrender

When we receive Christ as Savior and Lord, we acknowledge the fact that Christ has the right to rule our lives, but how much of our mind, will, and affections (soul) have we truly abandoned to His control? Romans 12:1,2 exhorts:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Notice that God’s will is not adverse to our well-being; it is what we would want if we knew all the facts!

In The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, Hannah W. Smith summarized this condition of surrender:

“Consecration … abandonment … whatever word we use, we mean an entire surrender of the whole being to God; spirit, soul, and body placed under His absolute control, for Him to do with us just what He pleases. We mean that the language of our soul, under all circumstances, and in view of every act, is to be, ‘Thy will be done.’ We mean the giving up of all liberty of choice. We mean a life of inevitable obedience. To a soul ignorant of God, this may look hard. But to those who know Him, it is the happiest and most restful of lives.” [3]

Fellow believer, will you raise the white flag of surrender and enjoy the victory Christ has won for you?

3. Trust

We are well aware that our entrance into new life in Christ was through faith: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Repeatedly God’s Word affirms that, likewise, the Christian is to live by faith: “For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith'” (Rom. 1:17). Notice the parallel in Colossians 2:6: “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord [through faith], so walk in Him [through faith].”

Jack Taylor compares “saving faith” with “satisfying faith”:

“Many people who are saved are not satisfied. The experience of salvation is not just an event; it is a relationship. Just as faith was needed in the initial event, it is needed in the continuing relationship. Paul, in Romans 5:1, speaks of a saving faith by which ‘we have peace with God.’ But in the next verse he adds an ‘also.’ As we are saved by an initial act of faith we continue in faith to have ‘access by faith into this grace in which we stand…’ (Rom. 5:2). It is in the ‘much more’ that we find the victory in Christ. Faith is the trusting commitment of self to Jesus Christ … It is continued faith that brings us to complete satisfaction in an unceasing relationship with our Lord.” As 1 John 5:4 says, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” [4]

We need to trust Christ, not only our Savior and Lord, but also as our Life. “When Christ, Who is our Life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:2-4). Believer, shout it from the rooftops–Christ is your Life! Therefore, depend on Him moment by moment for all your spiritual needs.

Maybe you came to Christ by using a model “sinner’s prayer.” Many have found a “selfer’s prayer” to be a useful guide for appropriating Christ as Life.

A sister was perplexed about the way to the abiding life. She said to Hannah Smith: “You all say, ‘Abandon yourself, and trust, abandon yourself, and trust,’ but I do not know how. I wish you would just do it out loud, so that I may see how you do it.” In her old English style, Hannah replied,

“Shall I do it out loud for you? ‘Lord Jesus, I believe that Thou art able and willing to deliver me from all the care, and unrest and bondage of my Christian life. I believe Thou didst die to set me free, not only in the future, but now and here. I believe Thou art stronger than Satan, and that Thou canst keep me, even me, in my extreme of weakness, from falling into his snares or yielding obedience to his commands. And, Lord, I am going to trust Thee to keep me. I have tried keeping myself, and have failed, and failed most grievously. I am absolutely helpless; so now I will trust thee. I will give myself to thee; I keep back no reserves. Body, soul, and spirit, I present myself to Thee, a worthless lump of clay, to be made into anything Thy love and Thy wisdom shall choose. And now, I am Thine. I believe Thou dost accept that which I present to thee; I believe that this poor, weak, foolish heart has been taken possession of by Thee, and Thou hast even at this very moment begun to work in me to will and to do of Thy good pleasure. I trust Thee utterly, and I trust Thee now!'” [5]

A map doesn’t describe all the features of geography, and these “precise directions” do not cover all aspects of sanctification. Yet, by knowing, surrendering, and trusting you will experience the joy and peace of abiding in Christ.


[1] F. J. Huegel, Bone of His Bone, (Zondervan, 1972), p.27.

[2] Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life, (London: Victory Press, 1957), p.42, 44.

[3] Hannah W. Smith, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, (Fleming Revell, 1941), p.48.

[4] Jack R. Taylor, The Key to Triumphant Living, (Bantam, 1986), p.72.

[5] Smith, p.55-56.

Grace Notes (c) 2001 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Honorable Mention

Cherri Freeman’s book has been republished. Beside Still Waters: Discovering Peace in the Midst of Your Child’s Addiction is now available through Christian Faith Publishing online and at book stores. Consider posting an endorsement at She and Joe direct Love Them to Life. Here is the book’s new trailer video:

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