A Testimony of the Winning Life
There is only one life that wins; and that is the life of Jesus, the Christ. Every man may have that life; every man may live that life.
I do not mean that every man may be Christlike; I mean something very much better than that. I do not mean that a man may always have Christ's help; I mean something better than that. I do not mean that a man may have power from Christ; I mean something very much better than power. And I do not mean that a man shall be merely saved from his sins and kept from sinning; I mean something better than even that victory.
What I mean is this: I had always known that Christ was my Savior; but I had looked upon Him as an external Savior, one who did a saving work for me from outside, as it were; one who was ready to come close alongside and stay by me, helping me in all that I needed, giving me power and strength and salvation. But now I knew something better than that. At last I realized that Jesus, the Christ was actually and literally within me; and even more than that; that He had constituted Himself my very life, taking me into union with Himself--my body, mind, and spirit--while I still had my own identity and free will and full moral responsibility.
Was not this better than having Him as a helper, or even than having Him as an external Savior? To have Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, as my own very life: It meant that I need never again ask Him to help me as though He were one and I another; but rather simply to do His work, His will, in me, and with me, and through me. My body was His, my mind His, my will His, my spirit His; and not merely His, but literally a part of Him; what He asked me to recognize was, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me." Jesus, the Christ had constituted Himself my life--not as a figure of speech, remember, but as a literal, actual fact, as literal as the fact that a certain tree has been made into a desk. For "your bodies are members of Christ;" and "ye are the body of Christ."
Do you wonder that Paul could say with tingling joy and exultation, "To me to live is Christ"? He did not say, as I had mistakenly been supposing I must say, "To me to live is to be Christlike," nor, "To me to live is to have Christ's help," nor "To me to live is to serve Christ." No; he plunged through and beyond all that in the bold, glorious, mysterious claim, "To me to live is Christ." I had never understood that verse before. Now, thanks to His gift of Himself, I am beginning to enter into a glimpse of its wonderful meaning.
And that is how I know for myself that there is a life that wins: that it is the life of Jesus, the Christ; and that it may be our life for the asking, if we let Him--in absolute, unconditional surrender of ourselves to Him, our wills to His will, making Him the Master of our lives as well as our Savior--enter in, occupy us, overwhelm us with Himself, yes, fill us with Himself "unto all the fullness of God."
What has the result been? Did this experience give me only a new intellectual conception of Christ, more interesting and satisfying than before? If it were only that, I should have little to tell you today. No; it meant a revolutionized, fundamentally changed life, within and without. If any man be in Christ you know there is a new creation.
Jesus, the Christ does not want to be our helper; He wants to be our life. He does not want us to work for Him. He wants us to let Him do His work through us, using us as we use a pencil to write--better still: using us as one of the fingers on His hand.
When our life is not only Christ's, but Christ, our life will be a winning life; for He cannot fail. And a winning life is a fruit-bearing life, a serving life. It is after all only a small part of life, and a wholly negative part, to overcome; we must also bear fruit in character and in service if Christ is our life. And we shall--because Christ is our life. "He cannot deny Himself;" He came "not to be ministered unto, but minister." An utterly new kind of service will be ours now, as we let Christ serve others through us using us. And this fruit-bearing and service, habitual and constant, must all be by faith in Him (by living His faith); our works are the result of His Life in us; not the condition, or the secret, or the cause of that Life.
The conditions of thus receiving Christ as the fullness of the life are simply two--after, of course, our personal acceptance of Christ as our Savior--through His shed blood and death as our substitute and Sin-Bearer--from the guilt and consequences of our sin.
1.) Surrender absolutely and unconditionally to Christ as Master of all that we are and all that we have, telling God that we are now ready to have His whole will done in our entire life, at every point, no matter what it costs.
2.) Believe that God has set us wholly free from the law of sin (Rom.8:2)-- not will do this, but has done it.
Upon this second step, the quiet act of faith, all now depends. Faith must believe God in entire absence of any feeling or evidence. For God's word is safer, better, and surer than any evidence of His work. We are to say, in blind cold faith, if need be, "I know that my Lord Jesus is meeting all my needs now (even my need of faith), because His grace is sufficient for me."
Remember that Christ Himself is better than any of His blessings; better than the power, or the victory, or the service, that He grants. Christ created spiritual power; but Christ is better than that power; He is God's best; He is God; and we may have this best; we may have Christ, yielding to Him in such completeness and abandonment of self that it is no longer we that live, but Christ liveth in us. Will you thus take Him?