Will you permit me to bear a personal testimony? During the first World War, while serving with the Medical Corps, I became conscious of a great need in my life, for a more consistent testimony to Christ. The daily crowded experiences and my surroundings all too easily caused me to lose touch and to fail my Lord until I became greatly burdened and discouraged. One day there came to me the realization of the meaning of Philippians 1:21: “To me to live is Christ.” I cannot tell you what joy and relief this brought to my life, but I well recall the freedom and power that came as quietly, day after day, I learned the difference between RESISTANCE and RELIANCE. Instead of resisting the inclinations to dislike and even have contempt for some of my fellows, I found that a quiet reliance upon Christ moment by moment, as my life through whom I could take His attitude to them. This led to a real love for them. I found that He truly did constitute Himself my life as I relied on Him, and energized me moment by moment for each fresh and different emergency and challenge. Prayer, the study of the Bible, service, all became transformed as I ceased from my own working to let Him work.
He never failed and never has. In course of time, however, I drifted away from that position and had to learn how defeated I could be by my own effort. The testimony of Charles G. Trumbull in The Life that Wins again opened my eyes to the Resources of the Life of Victory in Christ, and I shall always be grateful for his testimony and the joy it has brought in my own experience. I know now that the maintenance of a life of victory is possible. I know it by a discovery of my own weakness. I know it by a discovery of how very inadequate have been the efforts of my constant struggle, and I know it through the faithfulness of His Word applied by the Spirit of God, that Jesus Christ the Lord is the final and adequate Resource of the Victorious Life.
But now we naturally ask, How can I know this Resource as my constant stay? So we next consider:
II. Our Reception of, and Reliance upon, this Resource for the Victorious Life
It seems to me that there are three attitudes linked with faith as the means of our finding the Life of Christ as our Resource.
John 7:37: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.” Perhaps the simplest word of Jesus is “Come to Me.” Yet will you please note it implies a very definite action of abandonment. When Peter and the rest of them came, they left their nets. When the blind man came he left his garment. When the sick of the palsy came, he left his bed.
For us, the life of Victory in Reliance upon Christ as our Resource must always mean a quiet but fixed determination to have His will done in our lives at every point and in every detail great or small, always, no matter what the cost. Anything less than this means a turning from Him to some other resource. “He that hath entered into His rest hath ceased from his own works as God did from His” (Heb. 4:10).
You will no doubt recall the story of an old tract. A young lady, after a desperate struggle against abandonment to Christ for Salvation, goes to rest. She dreams that she falls over the side of a precipice but, in her fall, grasps the twig of a small bush and her fall is stayed temporarily. However, she feels herself slipping and hears a voice saying, “Let go of the twig and I will catch you.” She feels that she cannot let go and desperately clings on. Again the voice speaks the same words, and yet once again until, in desperation, she lets go and falls into the arms of the One Whom she recognizes as her Savior and Lord.
Some of you recall a somewhat similar experience when you first came to Christ. Then note these words: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him” (Col. 2:6).
To know His resources we must abandon our own. Shall we do this? You can trust the Man who died for you. He will never hurt you. Some of us will never know what resources are ours in Christ. We are too settled in our ways. We are too fearful to abandon. We are too careful to commit ourselves.
All of His resources are open to the soul who has none of his own. All of His life is yours if you will let Him — let Him, mark you, not do it yourself — let Him nail that old self to the Cross and replace it with His own life.
And as I faced this, I said once, “Lord, I cannot do it.” Then in His love and mercy He disclosed a wonderful truth to me. There came a realization of the meaning of that text in Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” “By the mercies of God.” The word translated “by” is “dia” = “through”, and the mercies are those Paul has been presenting in previous chapters — justification, redemption, sanctification. I saw it all. I simply thanked Him that He presented me to Himself in Christ and discovered that even my yielding was in utter dependence upon Him.
But the next step in the reception of, and reliance upon, this Resource is:
This is a more sustained experience than the last. Look at Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies how they grow; they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” John 15:4: “Abide in Me an I in you.” The lilies make no effort to grow. Their roots simply receive life and depend upon it and the product is beauty.
How do we depend upon Christ as our life practically? The story is all told in a little word used in several New Testament passages and variously translated “on” and “upon” — the word “epi.” In Acts 16:13, these words occur: “Believe ON the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” The same word is used in 1 Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care UPON Him.” And in every case it means “to lean your weight upon.”
Two other places where it occurs will make this clear. John 13:25: “He then lying ON Jesus’ breast.” John, at the last supper reclining with the weight of his head upon the breast of the Lord, pictures vividly the meaning of the word. Once again in Mark 4:38: “And He was in the hinder part of the ship asleep ON a pillow.” There Jesus is at rest, resting His weight upon the pillow. It simply means that moment by moment, in every emergency of thought or action and in the even ways of life, we lean ourselves upon Him by faith until the attitude becomes habitual and our life is the life of dependent faith upon Him and His life is expressed through us.
Part 2 of 3
Originally published by European Christian Mission, Lancs., England (Heightside Press).This series is also available at Gracenotebook.com in Spanish.
Scripture quotations: K.J.V.
Text: British spellings