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"Maintaining the Walk"
(An excerpt from the last chapter, Abide in Christ,
from the book The Life of Victory)
A continuing challenge in the Christian life is how to maintain the experience. Many individuals have written on the topic, including Mead MacGuire. I will try to add more on this topic since it is so important. This excerpt comes from the last chapter "Abiding in Christ" of his book The Life of Victory. The book is excellent and high recommended, and is a study of the book of Romans and Steps to Christ.
Let us be sure that we understand clearly how this abiding experience is secured and maintained. Many have striven earnestly to obtain it, but without success, for we have already read that it is the work of God. We must cease striving to abide, and BELIEVE that God has “stablished” us “in Christ,” and will, with our consent and cooperation, maintain the relationship. This cooperation means the exercise of FAITH.
“Do you ask, ‘How am I to abide in Christ?’ In the same way as you receive Him at ﬁrst. … You gave yourself to God, to be His wholly, to serve and obey Him, and you took Christ as your Saviour. You could not yourself atone for your sins or change your heart; by having given yourself to God, you BELIEVED that He for Christ’s sake did all this for you. By FAITH you became Christ’s, and BY FAITH you are to grow up in Him-by giving and taking. You are to GIVE all,-your heart, your will, your service,-give yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must TAKE all,-Christ, the fulness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper,-to give you power to obey.” - Steps to Christ, pages 69 and 70. Thousands of people have surrendered all to the Lord as fully as they knew how, and yet in perplexity because of the consciousness of some great deﬁciency, they cry, like the young man who came to Christ, “What lack I yet?” Here the difﬁculty is clearly pointed out. Abiding in Christ is the result of “giving and taking.” They may have given all with honest and sincere hearts, but they have not TAKEN ALL. There must be a constant appropriation of Christ by faith. We need not say, “Lord, give Thyself to me,” for He has already done that. But we should say, “Blessed Saviour, since Thou has given Thyself to me, and invited me to receive Thee into my heart, I now open wide the door, and welcome Thee in. I thank Thee that Thou has come in, and Thy presence is a reality this moment.” The promise is realized as soon as we meet the conditions and claim its fulﬁllment.
Thus by the exercise of simple faith His indwelling is a reality in us, and in the same manner we enter into and abide in Him. He knows well how helpless we are to place ourselves in Him, or to keep ourselves abiding; but He says that “we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ,” and He bids us to abide in Him. Even after we have entered “the secret place of the Most High,” how often we worry and fear lest we shall forget and cease to “abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps. 91:1. All this hinders our progress, for we are assuming responsibility for something which only our Lord can do. He requires only what we CAN do, and then He promises His people, under the beautiful ﬁgure of the vineyard, “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; … I will keep it night and day.” Isaiah 27:3. So long as we do not neglect the simple conditions of cooperation, God will do all for and in us that is required. “Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very ﬁrst work. Let your prayer be, ‘Take me, O Lord, as wholly Think. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.’ This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.
“A life in Christ is a life of restfulness. There may be no ecstasy of feeling, but there should be an abiding, peaceful trust. Your hope is not in yourself; but it is in Christ. Your weakness is united to His strength, your ignorance to His wisdom, your frailty to His enduring might.” - Steps to Christ, page 70.
From the last chapter, "Abide in Christ" from The Life of Victory by Mead MacGuire