It has been more than 15 years since Beth and I first learned of the “exchanged life” found in Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by [the faith of] the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

It was a mystery at the time – one of those truths you hope to eventually understand and live out. I am not so naïve to think that I understand it fully, but time and some recent revelations have me substantially closer. I would like to share these for your consideration and response (it’s in community that we hear from the Lord).

In his autobiography, Remarkable Miracles, C. V. Bevington describes the key to hearing from God (and claiming His promises for miracles) as a process of getting small – as small as a little worm. For Bevington, this was a real battle with the Devil and his flesh; of quieting his mind and soul by becoming as nothing as he possible could. He would spend hours – even days – in prayer to find this place of humility. The results were… remarkable miracles.

Having just finished this book (for the 3rd time), I found myself in a prayer meeting listening – as I had been taught – for the Lord’s will in the prayer. What I heard was someone praying that we have all we need from God – we just need to be bold enough to use it. I agree with this assessment. If we have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit residing within us, then we have all the power, gifts and fruit that we need for the call on our lives. But what I heard in my spirit was:

“We need to focus less on using God, and more on surrendering to Him using us.”

My prayer partner went on to pray that we must be bold to share the Gospel with others in the grocery line. That reminded me of the times I had tried to be bold in the grocery line… and in the line at the bank… and the… wherever. What I remember of those moments is the wrestling in my heart and mind for the will to share: Will I embarrass myself? Will they be offended? What do I say? I don’t even know them. Will God be pleased? The results were… less than remarkable.

As a bit of a side note, let me add that this wrestling is living out of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We were not created to live from that tree, but from the Tree of Life. You know, the One that claims to be the Life – Jesus Christ. Another exchange? Hmm.

Back to the wrestling: I think we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Some are more successful than others at willing themselves to share. But is that success? Check out Philippians 2:13:

…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

It is not my responsibility to will myself to be bold; or to do the work for His good pleasure. This was nothing short of an epiphany for me. It left me wondering, “Lord, what does that leave me with?” His response: “Trust Me. Choose My will and work. Surrender to the death of your will and your work. As a wise man once told me, the Christian life is not one of addition, but of subtraction.

Conclusion – And He will get the Glory

The “exchanged life” looks like me trusting Him and saying, “Here I am Lord. Use me.” If I can find that place in the grocery line, the following is very likely to happen. First, the Lord’s compassion for that person will rise up in me. With it will come a word of knowledge or wisdom – something about them that I otherwise would not know. And then, the words – Christ’s words – will come out of my mouth. It will be… a remarkable miracle.

And He will get the glory!!

I want to suggest that the desire to “get small” does not begin in the grocery line. It does not even start when I walk into the store – though it would be good to take hold of it there. No, getting small must begin during my quiet time with the Lord EACH AND EVERY MORNING. For those of you that struggle finding early morning time with Him, be encouraged that He will give it to you as you turn your heart toward Him.

And He will get the glory!!

In closing, let me suggest two books that have helped me find the exchanged life. Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life is a classic. It provides a strong theological exposition on the subject. Another classic (of a different kind) is Jeanne Guyon’s Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ. I have only read the first four chapters and already I have discovered three simple and practical methods of prayer that have helped in the “turning and yielding of your heart to the Lord… the expression of love within your heart for Him.”

And I give Him all the glory!!

Your servant and His,