Reading #29 – Abiding in Christ

Context: Hudson Taylor’s writing to his sister after a simple but great revelation. What greater joy to me than to confirm my experience in his as well! Praise God for His wisdom and His affirmations of the truth! I had immense joy last night and today, reading through Hudson Taylor’s sharings for the Lord has been teaching me all these things and now has combined them and made sense of them for me in Taylor’s writings. Oh, how my spirit rejoice in the truths of the Word lived out in this brother’s life!

Excerpt below the break:

“All the time I felt assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was – how to get it out. He was rich truly, but I was poor; he was strong, but I weak. I knew full well that there was in the root, the stem, abundant fatness, but how to get it into my puny little branch was the question. As gradually light dawned, I saw that faith was the only requisite – was the hand to lay hold of his fullness and make it mine. But I had not this faith.

“I strove for faith, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Savior, my guilt and helplessness seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not or would not take God at his word, but rather made him a liar! Unbelief was, I felt, the damning sin of the world; yet I indulged in it. I prayed for faith, but it came not. What was I to do?

“When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed to me the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before. McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure but saw the light before I did, wrote (I quote from memory):

“‘But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the faithful one.’

“As I read, I saw it all! ‘If we believe not, he abideth faithful’ [2 Tim. 2:13]. I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!) that he had said, ‘I will never leave thee’ [Heb. 13:5].

“‘Ah, there is rest!’ I thought. ‘I have striven in vain to rest in him. I’ll strive no more. For has not he promised to abide with me – never to leave me, never to fail me?’ And, dearie, he never will.

“Nor was this all he showed me, nor one half. As I thought of the vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured direct into my soul! How great seemed my mistake in wishing to get the sap, the fullness out of him! I saw not only that Jesus will never leave me, but that I am a member of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. The vine is not the root merely, but all – root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit. And Jesus is not that alone – he is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and 10 thousand times more than we have ever dreamed, wished for or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! I do pray that the eyes of your understanding too may be enlightened, that you may know and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ.

“Oh, my dear sister, it is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Savior, to be a member of Christ! Think what it involves. Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your right hand be rich and your left poor? Or your head be well fed while your body starves? Again, think of its bearing on prayer. Could a bank clerk say to a customer, ‘It was only your hand, not you, that wrote that check’; or ‘I cannot pay this sum to your hand, but only to yourself’? No more can your prayers or mine be discredited if offered in the name of Jesus (i.e., not for the sake of Jesus merely, but on the ground that we are his, his members) so long as we keep within the limits of Christ’s credit – a tolerably wide limit! If we ask for anything unscriptural, or not in accordance with the will of God, Christ himself could not do that. But ‘if we ask anything according to his will’ [1 John 5:14]… we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

“The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being sweeter than another, is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for he, I know is able to carry out his will, and his will is mine. It makes no matter where he places me, or how. That is rather for him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position he must give me his grace, and in the most difficult his grace is sufficient. It little matters to my servant whether I send him to buy a few cash worth of things, or the most expensive articles. In either case he looks to me for the money and brings me his purchases. So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must he not give much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? No fear that his resources will prove unequal to the emergency! And his resources are mine, for he is mine, and is with me and dwells in me.

“And since Christ has thus dwelt in my heart by faith, how happy I have been! I wish I could tell you about it, instead of writing. I am no better than before. In a sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be. But I am dead and buried with Christ – ay, and risen too! – And now Christ lives in me, and ‘the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ [Gal. 2:20]”

-Hudson Taylor

 

“But are you always conscious of abiding in Christ?” Hudson Taylor was asked many years later.

“While sleeping last night,” he replied, “did I cease to abide in your home because I was unconscious of the fact? We should never be conscious of not abiding in Christ.”

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