Nobody wants to fail, at anything, ever. We strive to be winners and not losers. We tell our kids that “if you try hard enough, you can do anything!” We don’t start a business to fail. We don’t start an exercise program to fail. We don’t enter into marriage to fail. Failure is not an option. Yet for those who have experienced the Higher Christian Life, many of their testimonies talk about multiple failures, often over many years, before any success. So why is that? Why do most people fail at their attempt to live the Higher Christian Life?
With just a glance into the lives of those who have lived the Higher Christian Life, a certain pattern emerges. And that pattern is a time of waiting, and pleading, and praying, and frustration, and spiritual darkness, until the light finally dawns. There seems to be some distance between when the person realizes what he is missing in his spiritual life and begins to actively seek it, and when that need is finally satisfied by the Holy Spirit.
Oswald Chambers, author of My Utmost for His Highest, waited over four years between the time he began to pray for the Higher Christian Life and when the Lord granted his request. And during that time he said, “nothing but the overruling grace of God and kindness of friends kept me out of an asylum.” Why? Because of the internal anguish of his soul knowing where he was and where he wanted to be with the Lord, and not being able to get there on his own.
For Amy Carmichael, the famed missionary to India, it was only two years. She came to know Jesus as her Lord at the age of sixteen, and by eighteen had surrendered her all to Him. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Andrew Murray testifies it was “seven or eight years” between his seeking, and ultimately receiving, the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” He called that time of barrenness “one of deep dissatisfaction.” And look what the Lord did through the pen of this man after his time of waiting. Amazing.
For Dr. Walter Wilson, it was much longer. In his testimony at the Canadian Keswick Conference, he states he was saved in December of 1896 and didn’t experience the blessings of the Higher Christian Life until January 14, 1914, almost 18 years later.
Yet for Charles Finney, the one who was used so mightily by God during the Second Great Awakening, his salvation and the Higher Christian Life happened at almost the same time. God chooses how He will deal with each of us differently. For some, it is after a time of waiting. For others, it is almost instantaneous, like exhaling out the self-life and breathing in the Higher Christian Life.
But the truth they all understood is this, “God never gives us a desire that He will not ultimately fulfill.” Never.
That depends totally on you. And no one else.
There are two main reasons why those who have struggled with the Higher Christian Life have had periods of failure before ultimate success. They are as follows:
One, Our Desire is Too Low. In order to receive the HIgher Christian Life, we must desire it. Passionately. Without reservation. No matter what.
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution – 1 Timothy 3:12.
There is always a cost involved when we try to be the very best at something. And that is especially true in our spiritual lives as we seek the Higher Christian Life
Two, the Cost is Too High. No matter what we want to accomplish in this life, there is always a cost, to us and to others.
If you want to build a business, the required long hours away from home will cost you and your family. But we suffer the cost because the blessing, in the end, is worth the sacrifice, for us and those we love. And if you want to strive to be more like Jesus, to bear more of His fruit, it will also cost you and those you love. Jesus spent quite a few paragraphs of red ink warning us about the costs of discipleship and of following Him. You might want to read it yourself in Luke 14:28-33.
But for those of you who have counted the costs and want all of HIm, your longing will soon be satisfied. And the blessing for those who run the race well is far greater than the labor of the race itself. Remember, God never places a desire in your heart that He will not ultimately fulfill. Never. But He will fulfill it in His time, and not ours.
So wait on Him without wavering and the dawn will soon come.
Until He comes,