There is a process each of us goes through that leads us from where we are in our spiritual life to where we desire to be. Or, from the nominal Christian experience that most of us fixate at, to the Higher Christian Life, the “abundant life” Jesus promised (John 10:10). Everyone goes through it. Some stay at one stage longer than others. And some move quickly through many of the early stages only to get hung-up on a latter one. The process or stages in our awareness of this Higher Christian Life are general in nature and differ in details from person to person. But the value is in seeing there is a process for receiving the Higher Christian Life that everyone seems to go through. So be encouraged where ever you find yourself in the process.
This “process” or stages in our experience with the Holy Spirit and the Higher Christian Life should not surprise us. In fact, we see a similar process revealed in Romans 8 regarding our salvation. In this process, God moves in our lives in distinct ways, in separate stages, some of them unknown to us at the time, to bring about His will for our lives. And what is His will? That we will be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).
Consider the process God brings those through who have embraced the Higher Christian Life:
One, there is an awareness of our need for more of Him. We find this truth in John 7:37, where Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Before the refreshing given by the Lord, there must first be an awareness of our need.
Two, there is a troubling in our soul, a growing, deep dissatisfaction with our present spiritual state. In other words, “I now know that I am thirsty, and I am miserable until I get this need satisfied.” Remember, those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” will be filled or satisfied (Matt. 5:6).
Three, there then must come a time of absolute surrender of self to the Lord Jesus. It is what is called the point of total abandonment to Him. This is when “you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). This is the point of commitment, the point of no return. From this step forward, success or failure depends on the desire you have for the Higher Christian Life and your willingness to suffer the costs of true discipleship (Luke 14:25-33).
But the best is yet to come.
Absolutely. Since you have made your commitment and crossed your Rubicon, this is the part of the process that comes with the most blessings and the most difficulty. Let me explain.
Four, after your commitment of total surrender to the Lord, there must come a time of trust, assurance, and acceptance by faith that “He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). You must appropriate by faith the confidence that God is able, as He promised, to “keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). Remember, you are saved and then blessed to experience the Higher Christian Life by faith, and nothing else.
Five, now it is time to rest, live, dwell, make your home, or “abide” in Him and His love. After all, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4). This is part of the process whereby you begin to experience His power for service and ministry (Acts 1:8) flowing into you to allow you, as a great privilege, to bear His fruit much as a branch does to a vine (John 15:8). But be warned, your ability to remain in the blessing of the Higher Christian Life is dependent on your desire, as a branch, to remain connected to the vine, to “abide in Him.”
“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” – John 15:6.
And finally, the Higher Christian Life, the exchanged life as it has been called, is a life of “abundance” (John 10:10), adventure, and excitement. And this abundant life you are given is promised to produce “rivers of living water” (John 7:38) as the Holy Spirit ministers to many through you.
Quite honestly, it doesn’t get any better than this. And this life is yours for the asking, for the surrender, for the exchange. So ask today and see what the Higher Christian Life is all about.
Until He comes,