Are you still hopeful about the Christian life or are you just about ready to give up? Have you been burned out for so long that you’re not sure how much longer you can go on?
You can get so beat down by sin that you don’t know what’s possible for Christ to do for you. I don’t mean what’s possible for you to do with Christ’s help, but what’s possible for what Christ can do through you.
Handley Moule (1841–1920) was an evangelical Anglican New Testament scholar. I came across him because he was one of the first speakers at the Keswick Convention, and his book, Thoughts on Christian Sanctity, was cited as an example of what Keswick taught about the “higher life.”
Moule wrote over a hundred years ago, but he addressed a longing that I certainly have today:
“Everywhere, under widely different circumstances, in many and varied Christian communities…there is felt and found in our Christian world to-day a deep, strong, and growing drift of enquiry and desire after Christian holiness” (p. 10).
Holiness is often on my mind. As our culture embraces moral disintegration, many Christians today feel that their lives are not what they should be or could be. And when you read the New Testament, it seems like there should be more to the Christian life. For Moule, that higher life is possible and it’s based on taking Jesus at His word:
“It is possible, I dare say, for those who will draw on their Lord’s power for deliverance and victory, to live a life—how shall I describe it?—a life in which His promises are taken as they stand, and found to be true” (p. 18).
If you know Christ’s promises and believe them to be true, then you can draw on the Lord’s power, and instead of having a life of inner turmoil, you can have peace on the inside. As Moule testifies:
“It is possible to cast every care on Him, daily, and to be at peace amidst the pressure. It is possible to have affections and imaginations purified through faith, in a profound and practical sense. It is possible to see the will of God in everything and to find it, as one has said, no longer a sigh, but a song. It is possible, in the world of inner act and motion, to put away, to get put away, all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and evil speaking, daily and hourly” (p. 18).
Rather than holding your worries close to the chest, as though they were treasures, are you willing to cast every care on Him? Are you willing to be rid of your bitterness, anger, and evil speaking? You can be purified by Jesus. How?
“It is possible, by unreserved resort to divine power, under divine conditions, to become strongest, through and through, at our weakest point; to find the thing which yesterday upset all our obligations to patience, or to purity, or to humility, an occasion to-day, through Him who loveth us, and worketh in us, for a joyful consent to His will, and a delightful sense of His presence and sin-annulling power” (pp. 18-19).
How do you become strongest precisely where you’re the weakest? You might expect Moule to say it is by unreserved effort. But instead, every good thing is possible by depending upon His divine power.
With Christ living through you, sin can be defeated in you. With Him, you can “Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice” (Eph 4:31). That kind of victory is divinely possible.
But is that what you want?
You believed Jesus’ promise of eternal life, but are you willing to believe Him to be your sanctification (1 Cor 1:30)? Are you willing to stand on those promises, too? We’ll see what Moule has to say in future blogs.
Prayer for the day: Heavenly Father, you know my heart, with all of its desires, and all of its needs. Show me what You are able to do with it, and then do what You are able, through Jesus Christ. Amen.