Sometimes something will just click. I finally get it.
There are people who think that being a Christian means asking Jesus into your heart, and then struggling through this life attempting to obey him the best you can. In fact, perhaps most Christians think that.
Somehow that never dawned on me.
I was told many years ago, then told over and over throughout the years, that it’s impossible to live the Christian life that way. I was told over and over the proper way to live the Christian life, and it has given me hope, sustenance, and occasionally the most amazing power from heaven, even in my weakest moments–no, especially in my weakest moments.
Yesterday, as I was reading Roy Hession’s The Calvary Road, I got it.
Not everyone knows these things!
What Are “These Things”?
These things are the very Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These things are the power and foundation of your Christian life.
If you don’t know these things, then, my friend, it’s no wonder you struggle so much.
The Way is hard even when you do know your utter reliance upon Jesus Christ and the greatness of his power in you. How impossible it must be if you do not know!
Here are “these things” in Roy Hession’s words:
Revival is just the life of the Lord Jesus poured into human hearts. Jesus is always victorious. … Whatever may be our experience of failure and barrenness, He is never defeated. … And we, on our part, have only to get into a right relationship with Him, and we shall see His power being demonstrated in our hearts and lives and service, and His victorious life will fill us and overflow through us to others. And that is revival in its essence.
The Christian life really is about believing. It’s about believing that in you—that is, in your flesh—nothing good dwells (Rom. 7:18) and that in him, everything good dwells. It is about believing that we really can die to self and that Jesus Christ can really live his life through us.
And it’s about believing there is no other way than that.
Our flesh can never please him (Rom. 8:5-13). If he doesn’t do something miraculous, if we don’t really and miraculously become "his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works," then we have no hope. We will thoroughly fail and embarrass ourselves in the process. We won’t have a shot.
The Call of Jesus Christ
Jesus has a high and difficult call. Read it yourself: Luke 14:26-33. He asks for everything.
If you’ve struggled just to give God merely what the typical American church—perhaps the First Church of Goats Who Don’t Help People and Rich Men Who Can’t Be Saved—asks of its members, then the thought of trying to give Jesus what he asks for in Luke 14 must make you want to run and hide!
That’s why the Christian life starts with dying!
The Calvary Road goes on about that:
Dying to self is not a thing we do once for all. There may be an initial dying when God first shows these things, but ever after it will be a constant dying, for only so can the Lord Jesus be revealed constantly through us. … It will mean no plans, no time, no money, no pleasure of our own. It will mean a constant yielding to those around us, for our yieldedness to God is measured by our yieldedness to man. Every humiliation, everyone who tries and vexes us, is God’s way of breaking us, so that there is a yet deeper channel in us for the Life of Christ.
Did you know that’s the life Jesus Christ called you to?
If you don’t, then you’ve been lied to. There isn’t any other Christian life. There’s only the one that Roy Hession just described for you.
The Impossible Christian Life
What’s worse is that often supposed Christians turn away from the call of Jesus Christ, thinking that kind of life is impossible. The exact opposite is true!
It’s the "easy" Christian life that isn’t possible. The Scriptures teach us that the mind set on the flesh cannot be subject to the law of God. The person who’s in the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:7-8).
And if you’ve found some other way than the one Christ preached, you’re in the flesh! He’s sure not going to help you live your own brand of Christianity!
The impossible Christian life is the only one that can be lived because it is the only one God gives grace for. That would be the life Christ preached, where you turn the other cheek, deny yourself, serve everyone, forsake your family and possessions, keep all your promises (and your idle comments), and basically take up your cross, follow him, and never do your own will.
How can that be possible?
Just one way.
You see, the only life that pleases God and that can be victorious is His life—never our life, no matter how hard we try. (Calvary Road, p. 25-26)
That last thing. You have to know that.
There is no other way.