They Found the Secret began as a series of twenty articles
written for Christian Life magazine that were gathered together
in a book in 1960. What Edman tried to do was to show in the actual
lives of Christian people how the power of Christ, called by him "the
indwelling life of Christ," was the source of every believer's spiritual
strength. This had been a much neglected theme in the writings of
evangelical Christians for the last fifty years or so. Dr. Edman's
goal was to put the idea into the mainstream of the movement so
that all could benefit by entering into a life-transforming relationship
with Christ. It is not enough just to know about Christ, or to know
about what He did for us, nor even to experience His work in us.
What is needed is to experience Him in us, as He works out
God's inscrutable will. [Walter Elwell, Wheaton College, Wheaton,
Every now and then we come across a life that is radiant, revealing
a richness, a warmth, a triumph that intrigues and challenges us.
The details of their experiences [in this book] are usually quite
different yet as we listen to their stories and watch their lives,
either in our reading or in our contact with them, we begin to see
a pattern that reveals their secret. Out of discouragement and defeat
they have come into victory. Out of weakness and weariness they
have been made strong. Out of ineffectiveness and apparent uselessness
they have become efficient and enthusiastic.
The pattern seems to be self-centeredness, self-effort, increasing
inner dissatisfaction and outer discouragement, a temptation to
give it all up because there is no better way, and then finding
the Spirit of God to be their strength, their guide, their confidence
and companion--in a word, their life.
The crisis of the deeper life is the key that unlocks the secret
of their transformation. It is the beginning of the exchanged
What is the exchanged life? Really, it is not some thing,
it is some One. It is the indwelling of the Lord Jesus Christ
made real and rewarding by the Holy Spirit.
It is new life for old. It is rejoicing for weariness and radiance
for dreariness. It is strength for weakness and steadiness for uncertainty.
It is triumph even through tears and tenderness of heart instead
of touchiness. It is lowliness of spirit instead of self-exaltation
and loveliness of life because of the presence of the altogether
Said the Savior: "I am come that they might have life, and that
they might have it more abundantly." We find newness of life in
Christ by receiving Him as our own Savior from the penalty of sin.
Abundance of that life we find by surrendering self and drawing
on the unfailing resources of the Almighty. There is life and there
is life more abundant. This is the exchanged life.
From a multitude of witnesses throughout the centuries I have chosen
just a few by way of illustration. The pattern of their experiences
is much the same. They had believed on the Savior, yet they were
burdened and bewildered, unfaithful, and unfruitful, always yearning
for a better way and never achieving by their efforts a better life.
Then they came to a crisis of utter heart surrender to the Savior,
a meeting with Him in the innermost depths of their spirit; and
they found the Holy Spirit to be an unfailing fountain of life and
refreshment. Thereafter life was never again the same, because in
one way or another they had learned what the apostle Paul had testified: "I
am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ
liveth 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
New life had been exchanged for old.
I have deliberately chosen witnesses of diverse personalities and
backgrounds. God is no respecter of persons! The details of their
experience of the crisis of the deeper life are delightfully different;
yet their testimony to the reality of the joy and power of the Spirit-filled
life is unanimous. Nowhere in Scripture are we taught to seek experience.
Rather, the Word says, "Seek ye the Lord." It is He who satisfies
the longing soul. He is the secret of the exchanged life!
J. Hudson Taylor
The Exchanged Life
The deep dealing of God with His children varies in detail
but the general pattern seems much alike for individual cases. Into
each life there arises an awareness of failure, a falling short
of all that one should be in the Lord; then there is a definite
meeting with the risen Savior in utter surrender of heart, which
is indeed death to the self. There follows an appropriation by faith
of His resurrection life through the abiding presence of the Holy
Spirit. As a result there is realized an overflow of life likened
by the Lord Jesus to "rivers of water." (See John 7:37-39.)
As a lad Hudson Taylor had come to know the Lord Jesus as his personal
Savior. In his youth he had been called to the mission field of
China. For fifteen years he had served earnestly and effectively
in that land before he came into experiential possession of "the
exchanged life." At the age of thirty-seven he opened his heart
to his mother in a long letter that expressed his innermost hunger
"My own position becomes continually more and more responsible, and my need
greater of special grace to fill it; but I have continually to mourn that I
follow at such a distance and learn so slowly to imitate my precious Master.
I cannot tell you how I am buffeted sometimes by temptation. I never knew how
bad a heart I had. Yet I do know that I love God and love His work, and desire
to serve Him only in all things. And I value above all things that precious
Savior in Whom alone I can be accepted. Often I am tempted to think that one
so full of sin cannot be a child of God at all; but I try to throw it back,
and rejoice all the more in the preciousness of Jesus, and in the riches of
that grace that has made us 'accepted in the Beloved.' Beloved He is of God;
beloved He ought to be of us. But oh, how short I fall here again! May God
help me to love Him more and serve Him better. Do pray for me. Pray that the
Lord will keep me from sin, will sanctify me wholly, will use me more largely
in His service."
The human heart has no desires that God cannot satisfy. The Christian's
greatest difficulty is to take literally the promises of the Savior.
Said the Lord Jesus: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and
drink." We are told to come to Him, not to some friend, not to some
experience, not to some feeling or frame of mind. We are not even
to come just to the Word of God: rather, we are to go through
that Word to the person of the Lord Jesus Himself.
The way to heart satisfaction and rest of spirit for Hudson Taylor
was learned from a fellow missionary, John McCarthy. In a letter
to Mr. Taylor he wrote: "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; trusting Him to subdue all inward corruption;
resting in the love of an almighty Savior, in the conscious joy
of a complete salvation, a salvation 'from all sin' (this is His
Word); willing that His will should truly be supreme--this is not
new, and yet 'tis new to me. I feel as though the first dawning
of a glorious day had risen upon me. I hail it with trembling, yet
with trust. I seem to have got to the edge only, but of a sea which
is boundless; to have sipped only, but of that which fully satisfies.
Christ literally all seems to me now the power, the only power for
service; the only ground for unchanging joy. May He lead us into
the realization of His unfathomable fullness."
The Lord used this letter literally to lead Mr. Taylor "into the
realization of His unfathomable fullness." The missionary was always
reticent about telling details of his transforming experience; but
he did say, "As I read, I saw it all. I looked to Jesus; and when
I saw, oh how the joy flowed!"
His fellow missionaries said of him, "Mr. Taylor went out, a new
man in a new world, to tell what the Lord had done for his soul."
Writing to his sister in England he said: "As to work, mine was
never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight
and strain are all gone. The last month or more has been perhaps,
the happiest of my life; and I long to tell you a little of what
the Lord has done for my soul. I do not know how far I may be able
to make myself intelligible about it, for there is nothing new or
strange or wonderful--and yet, all is new! In a word, "Whereas once
I was blind, now I see '
"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 the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before.
McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure, but saw
the light before I did, wrote (I quote from memory): '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 overflowed!) that He had said,
'I will never leave you.' 'Ah, there is rest!' I thought. 'I have striven in
vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide
with me--never to leave me, never to fail me?' And, dearie, He never will!
'But this was not all He showed me, nor one half. As I thought of
the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured
into my soul! How great seemed my mistake in having wished to get
the sap, the fullness out of Him. I saw not only that Jesus would
never leave me, but that I was a member of His body, of His flesh
and of His bones. The vine now I see, is not the root merely, but
all--root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit: and Jesus
is not only that: 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 may be enlightened, that you may know and
enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ ..
"The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being sweeter than another,
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 positions
He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient."
God's grace is indeed sufficient, and the heart that has come to
know personally and ultimately the risen Lord Jesus by the overflow
of His Spirit experiences the reality of "rivers of living water." With
Isaiah he knows that "thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose
mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee."
Many years after Hudson Taylor's meeting with the Lord Jesus in
"the little crowded house in Chin-kiang," an Anglican clergyman,
the Reverend H. B. Macartney of Melbourne, Australia, added this
testimony to that of many others regarding the missionary's possession
of the life that is Christ:
"He was an object lesson in quietness. He drew from the Bank of Heaven every
farthing of his daily income--'My peace I give unto you.' Whatever did not
agitate the Savior, or ruffle His spirit was not to agitate him. The serenity
of the Lord Jesus concerning any matter and at its most critical moment, this
was his ideal and practical possession. He knew nothing of rush or hurry, of
quivering nerves or vexation of spirit. He knew there was a peace passing all
understanding, and that he could not do without it.
"Now I was altogether different. Mine is a peculiarly nervous disposition,
and with a busy life I found myself in a tremor all day long. I did not enjoy
the Lord as I knew I ought. Nervous agitation possessed me as long as there
was anything to be done. The greatest loss of my life was the loss of the light
of the Lord's presence and fellowship during writing hours. The daily mail
robbed me of His delightful society.
"I am in the study, you are in the big spare room,' I said to Mr. Taylor at
length. 'You are occupied with millions, I with tens. Your letters are presently
important, mine of comparatively little moment. Yet I am worried and distressed,
while you are always calm. Do tell me what makes the difference.'
"My dear Macartney,' he replied, 'the peace you speak of is in my case more
than a delightful privilege, it is a necessity.'
"He said most emphatically, 'I could not possibly get through the work I have
to do without the peace of God "which passeth all understanding" keeping my
heart and mind.'"
.Here is a man almost sixty years of age, bearing tremendous
burdens, yet absolutely calm and unruffled. Oh, the pile of letters!
Any one of which might contain news of death, or shortness of funds,
or riots or serious trouble. Yet all were opened, read and answered
with the same tranquility--Christ his reason for peace, his power
for calm. Dwelling in Christ he partook of His very being and resources,
in the midst of and concerning the very matters in question.
"Yet he was delightfully free and natural. I can find no words to describe
it save the Scriptural expression 'in God.' He was 'in God' all the time, and
God in him. It was the true 'abiding' of John 15."
With good reason could the clergyman add the exhortation to all: "Are
you in a hurry, flurried, distressed? Look up! See the Man in the
Glory! Let the face of Jesus shine upon you--the face of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Is He worried, troubled, distressed? There is no wrinkle
on His brow, no least shade of anxiety. Yet the affairs are His
as much as yours."
Hudson Taylor could not find words more adequate to express the
truth of the Scriptures he had proved by experience than those in
the little booklet by Harriet Beecher Stowe, How to Live on Christ, a
copy of which he sent to every member of the mission. In part Mrs.
"How does the branch bear fruit? Not by incessant effort for sunshine
and air; not by vain struggles for those vivifying influences which
give beauty to the blossom, and verdure to the leaf: it simply abides
in the vine, in silent and undisturbed union, and blossoms and fruit
appear as of spontaneous growth.
"How, then, shall a Christian bear fruit? By efforts and struggles to obtain
that which is freely given; by meditations on watchfulness, on prayer, on action,
on temptation, and on dangers? No: there must be a full concentration of the
thoughts and affections on Christ; a complete surrender of the whole being
to Him; a constant looking to Him for grace. Christians in whom these dispositions
are once firmly fixed go on calmly as the infant borne in the arms of its mother.
Christ reminds them of every duty in its time and place, reproves them for
every error, counsels them in every difficulty, excites them to every needful
activity. In spiritual as in temporal matters they take no thought for the
morrow; for they know that Christ will be as accessible tomorrow as today,
and that time imposes no barrier on His love. Their hope and trust rest solely
on what He is willing and able to do for them; on nothing that they suppose
themselves able and willing to do for Him. Their talisman for every temptation
and sorrow is their oft-repeated child-like surrender of their whole being
Such is the
"exchanged life," the abiding, fruitful life, the life that is
Christ, which should be the possession of every believer. Galatians
2:20 should be, and can be, a glorious reality:
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not
I, but Christ liveth 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."
[These excerpts where taken from the book They Found
the Secret, by V. Raymond Edman, published by Zondervan
Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530. ISBN: 0-310-24051-4.
It can be ordered from most Christian bookstores, and I highly
recommend it for all who truly desire to have Jesus Christ in
them, who desire the "indwelling of Christ" in their personal
lives.] [Or you can order online: http://www.amazon.com ]
Dwight L. Moody
More and more Moody's preaching became characterized by the
spirit of love. Declared the evangelist: "The only way any church
can get a blessing is to lay aside all difference, all criticism,
all coldness and party feeling, and come to the Lord as one man;
and when the church lives in the power of the thirteenth chapter
of First Corinthians I am sure that many will be added daily to
the flock of God. I would like to have the church read that chapter
together on their knees and, as you do so, pray God to apply
it with power. Of late my earnest prayer to God has been that He
would help me to to save more, and I cannot tell you how wonderfully
He has answered my prayer.
Moody at the New York Hippodrome, he preached:
"Now I want this thing clearly understood. We believe firmly that
[if] any man has been cleansed by the blood, redeemed by the
blood, and been sealed by the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost dwells
in him. And a thought I want to call your attention to is this,
that God has got a good many children who have just barely got life,
but not power for service. You might say safely, I think, without
exaggeration, that nineteen out of every twenty of professed Christians
are of no earthly account so far as building up Christ's kingdom;
but on the contrary they are standing right in the way, and the
reason is because they have just got life and have settled down,
and have not sought for power. The Holy Ghost coming upon them with
power is distinct and separate from conversion. If the Scripture
doesn't teach it I am ready to correct it.
"Let us look and see what God says, and if you will look in the third chapter
of Luke you will see that all these thirty years Christ had been in Nazareth
He had been a son, but now the Holy Ghost comes upon Him for service, and He
goes back to Nazareth and finds a place where it is written: 'The Spirit of
the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the
poor. He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captive, to recover sight to the blind, and set at liberty them that are bruised.'
And for three years we find Him preaching the kingdom of God, casting out devils,
and raising the dead, while for thirty years that He was at Nazareth, we hear
nothing of Him. He was a son all the while, but now He is anointed for service;
and if the Son of God has got to be anointed, do not His disciples need it,
and shall we not seek it, and shall we barely rest with conversion?"
"In the 7th chapter of John, 38th and 39th verses,
Jesus says, 'He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (but this spake
He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive
for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not
yet glorified.)' Now, do you tell me that Peter and John and James
and the rest of those men had not been converted at that time? Had
they been three years with the Son of God and had not been born
of the Spirit? Had not Nicodemus been born of the Spirit, and had
not men been converted before them? Yes, but they were saints without
power, and must tarry in Jerusalem until imbued with power from
on high. I believe we should accomplish more in one week than we
should in years if we had only this fresh baptism
"It seems to me we have got about three classes of Christians: the
first class, in the 3rd chapter of John, were those who
had got to Calvary and there got life. They believed on the Son
and were saved, and there they rested satisfied. They did not seek
anything higher. Then in the 4th chapter of John we come
to a better class of Christians. There it was a well of living water
bubbling up. There are a few of these, but they are not a hundredth
part of the first class. But the best class is in the 7th chapter
of John: 'Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' That
is the kind of Christian we ought to be
"A great many think because they have been filled once, they are
going to be full for all time after; but O, my friends, we are leaky
vessels, and have to be kept right under the fountain all the time
in order to keep full. If we are going to be used by God we have
to be very humble. A man that lives close to God will be the humblest
of men. I heard a man say that God always chooses the vessel that
is close at hand. Let us keep near Him."
Dr. C.L. Schofield spoke this at D.L. Moody's funeral service: "Doubtless
this unlettered New England country boy became what he was by the
grace of God. The secrets of Dwight L Moody's power were: First,
in a definite experience of Christ's saving grace. He has passed
out of death into life, and he knew it. Secondly, he believed in
the divine authority of the Scriptures. The Bible was to him the
voice of God, and he made it resound as such in the consciences
of men. Thirdly, he was baptized with the Holy Spirit, and he knew
it. It was to him as definite experience as his conversion. Fourthly,
he was a man of prayer. He believed in a mighty and unfettered God.
Fifthly, he believed in works, in ceaseless effort, in wise provision,
in the power of organization, of publicity. He expected the supernatural
to work, but through the natural. He hitched his wagon to a star,
but he always kept the wheels on the ground and the axles well oiled."