The Exchanged Life
This is excerpted from
the chapter on "The Exchanged Life" in Hudson
Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard
Taylor (London: China Inland Mission, 1955, pp.
110–116, et passim). J. Hudson Taylor, M.D. was a
missionary to China, and the founder of the China
Inland Mission. Here is the inward joy and power
that Hudson Taylor found in Christ. What was the
secret? The simple, profound secret of drawing for
every need, temporal or spiritual, upon "the
fathomless wealth of Christ."
"Yes, in me, in me He
I in Him and He in me!
And my empty soul He
Now and through eternity.
–– Horatio Bonar
" . . . God made me a new
man! God has made me a new man!"
Wonderful was the
experience that had come in answer to prayer, yet so
simple as almost to baffle description . . .
Do you know, I now think
that this striving, longing, hoping for better days
to come is not the true way to holiness, happiness
or usefulness. It is better, no doubt, far better
than being satisfied with poor attainments, but not
the best way after all. I have been struck with a
passage from a book . . . entitled Christ is All. It
says, "The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun;
the Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing; the
Lord Jesus counted upon as never absent would be
holiness complete . . . .
"He is most holy who has
most of Christ within, and joys most fully in the
finished work . . ."
. . . . To let my loving
Savior work in me His will, my sanctification, is
what I would live for by His grace. Abiding, not
striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him;
trusting Him for present power; . . . resting in the
love of an almighty Savior, in the joy of a complete
salvation, "from all sin"––this is not new, and yet
'tis new to me . . . . Christ literally all seems to
me, now, the power, the only power for service, the
only ground for unchanging joy . . . .
How then to have our
faith increased? Only by thinking of all that Jesus
is and all He is for us: His life, His death, His
work, He Himself as revealed to us in the Word, to
be the subject of our constant thoughts. Not a
striving to have faith . . . but a looking off to
the Faithful One seems all we need; a resting in the
Loved One entirely, for time and eternity.
. . . . I looked to
Jesus, and when I saw––oh, how joy flowed!
It was resting in Jesus
now, and letting Him do the work––which makes all
the difference. Whenever he spoke in meetings after
that, a new power seemed to flow from him, and in
the practical things of life a new peace possessed
him. Troubles did not worry him as before. He cast
everything on God in a new way, and gave more time
It was the exchanged life
that had come to him––the life that is indeed "No
longer I." . . . It was a blessed reality "Christ
liveth in me." And how great the
difference!––instead of bondage, liberty; instead of
failure, quiet victories within; instead of fear and
weakness, a restful sense of sufficiency in Another.
Perhaps I may make myself
more clear if I go back a little. . . . I prayed,
agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the
Word more diligently, sought more time for
meditation––but all without avail. Every day, almost
every hour, the consciousness sin oppressed me.
I knew that if only I
could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could
not. I would begin the day with prayer, determined
not to take my eye off Him for a moment, but
pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, and
constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, caused
me to forget Him. Then one's nerves get so fretted
in this climate that temptations to irritability,
had thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the
more difficult to control. Each day brought its
register of sin and failure, of lack of power. To
will was indeed "present with me," but how to
perform I found not.
Then came the questions,
is there no rescue? Must it be thus to the
end––constant conflict, and too often defeat? . . .
. Instead of growing stronger, I seemed to be
getting weaker and to have less power against sin;
and no longer, for faith and even hope were getting
low. I hated myself, I hated my sin, yet gained no
strength against it. I felt I was a child of God.
His Spirit in my heart would cry, in spite of all,
"Abba, Father." But to rise to my privileges as a
child, I was utterly powerless.
. . . . I knew I was
powerless. I told the Lord so, and asked Him to give
me help and strength. Sometimes I almost believed
that He would keep and uphold me; but on looking
back in the evening––alas! There was but sin and
failure to confess and mourn before God.
. . . . And yet, never
did Christ seem more precious; a Savior who could
and would save such a sinner! . . . And sometimes
there were seasons not only of peace but of joy in
the Lord; but they were transitory, and at best
there was a sad lack of power.
All the time I felt
assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but
the practical question was––how to get it out. He
was rich truly, but I was poor; He was strong, but I
weak. I knew full well that there was in the root,
the stem, abundant fatness, but how to get it into
my puny little branch was the question. As gradually
light dawned, I saw that faith was the only
requisite––was the hand to lay hold on His fullness
and make it mine. But I had not this faith.
I strove for faith, but
it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in
vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of
grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious
Savior, my guilt and helplessness seemed to
increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles
compared with the sin of unbelief which was their
cause, which could not or would not take God at His
word. . . . I prayed for faith, but it came not.
What was I to do?
When my agony of soul was
at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear
McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes,
and the Spirit of God revealed to me the truth of
our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it
"But how to get faith
strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by
resting on the Faithful One."
As I read, I saw it all!
"If we believe not, he abideth faithful." I looked
to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy
flowed)! That He had said, "I will never leave
"Ah, there is rest!" I
thought. "I have striven in vain to rest in Him.
I'll strive no more. For has not He promised to
abide with me––never to leave me, never to fail me?"
And, . . . He never will.
. . . . As I thought of
the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed
Spirit poured direct into my soul! How great seemed
my mistake in wishing to get the sap, the fullness
out of Him! I saw not only that Jesus will ever
leave me, but that I am a member of His body, of His
flesh and of His bones. The vine is not the root
merely, but all––root, stem, branches, twigs,
leaves, flowers, fruit. And Jesus is not that
alone––He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and
ten thousand times more than we have ever dreamed,
wished for or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this
truth! I do pray that the eyes of your understanding
too may be enlightened, that you may know and enjoy
the riches freely given us in Christ.
. . . It is a wonderful
thing to be really one with a risen and exalted
Savior, to be a member of Christ! Think what it
involves. Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your
right hand be rich and your left poor? Or your head
be well fed while your body starves? . . . . No more
can your prayers or mine be discredited if offered
in the name of Jesus (i.e., not for the sake of
Jesus merely, but on the ground that we are His, His
members) so long as we keep within the limits of
Christ's credit––a tolerably wide limit!
The sweetest part, . . .
is the rest which full identification with Christ
brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I
realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out
His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter
where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him
to consider than for me; for in the easiest position
He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult
His grace is sufficient. . . . So, if God should
place me in serious perplexity, must He not give me
much guidance; in positions of great difficulty,
much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and
trials, much strength? No fear that His resources
will prove unequal to the emergency! And His
resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me
and dwells in me.
And since Christ has thus
dwelt in my heart by faith, how happy I have been! .
. . I am no better than before. In a sense, I do not
wish to be, nor am I striving to be. But I am dead
and buried with Christ––ay, and risen too! And now
Christ lives in me, and "the life that I now live in
the flesh, I live by faith of the Son of God, who
loved me and gave Himself for me."
. . . . Do not let us
consider Him as far off, when God has made us one
with Him, members of His very body. Nor should we
look upon this experience, these truths, as for the
few. They are the birthright of every child of God,
and no one can dispense with them without
dishonoring our Lord. The only power for deliverance
from sin or for true service is Christ.
And it is all so simple
"But are you always
conscious of this abiding in Christ?" Mr. Taylor was
asked many years later.
"While sleeping last
night," he replied, "did I cease to abide in your
home because I was unconscious of the fact? We
should never be conscious of not abiding in Christ."
"I change, He changes
The Christ can never die:
His truth, not mine, the
His love, not mine, the
By Howard Taylor /
Whitaker House Publishers
Exchanged Life Excerpted from Hudson Taylor
Secrets of the Christian Life