10: Our Need for the Higher Christian Life
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Whatever Your Need, You Already Have the Holy Spirit
As we have shared, the key verse regarding the blessings of receiving the Spirit and His inaugurating the Higher Christian Life in each of us is found in John 7:38. Here Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” In this Jesus was speaking about the Holy Spirit, whom “those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39). But the Holy Spirit is now given. And Jesus is now glorified. So what does this say about our current need for the Higher Christian Life?
Before we can understand the “why” of the Higher Christian Life, we first must come to grips with the anemic condition of our faith and then somehow dig deep and find the desire and fortitude required to make things different. Remember, our actions will never outrun our faith. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” It is equally true, “You’ll only do what you think you can and should do.” Or, as Solomon said, “For as he (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7a).
To quote a truth from Facing the Giants, my favorite movie, “Your actions will always follow your beliefs. If you accept defeat, then that’s all you’ll get.”
And this truth isn’t true for just football. It is also true in our spiritual lives.
The following are six truth statements regarding the Higher Christian Life and the condition of the church. And remember, the church is defined as a group of individuals who collectively make up the whole. This means, by inference, these six statements that are true of the church, are also true of you and me as individual members of His church. Once we accept the reality and consequences of our current state, then we can begin to move forward from spiritual apathy to abundance (John 10:10). And we can then begin to embrace the Higher Christian Life, no matter the cost, and no matter how long it might take.
What is Our Current Need for the Higher Christian Life?
The following are six truths regarding the Higher Christian Life that perfectly described the condition of the church in the 1870s. And we have, as His church, fallen to new lows since then. So as you read these, ask yourself if you believe these statements are true. And if they are, what are you prepared to do about them?
One, it is the will of God for every one of His children that they live entirely and unceasingly under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Two, without a believer being filled with the Spirit, it is impossible for an individual Christian or a church to ever live or work as God desires.
Three, in the life and experience of Christians, this blessing is little used and little searched for.
Four, God waits to give us this blessing, and in our faith, we may expect it with the greatest confidence.
Five, the self-life and the world hinder and usurp the place that Christ ought to occupy.
Six, we cannot be filled with the Spirit until we are prepared to yield ourselves to be led by the Lord Jesus— to forsake and sacrifice everything for this pearl of great price.
And finally, let me reiterate a most encouraging truth found on the lips of all who have made it their aim to discover the Higher Christian Life and be found well-pleasing to God. And it is simply this, when you are discouraged about the lack of progress you seem to be making towards Christlikeness:
“God never places a desire in the heart of His children that He will not ultimately fulfill.”
Note: The six statements were written by Andrew Murray (1827-1917).