LifethatwinsMessages on the Victorious Life

Message Two – Part One

There is only one life that wins; and that is the life of Jesus Christ. Every man may have that life; every man may live that life.


I do not mean that every man may be Christ like; I mean something very much better than that. I do not mean that a man may always have Christs help; I mean something better than that. I do not mean that a man may have power from Christ; I mean something very much better than power. And I do not mean that a man shall be merely saved from his sins and kept from sinning; I mean something better than even that victory.


To explain what I do mean, I must simply tell you a very personal and recent experience of my own. I think I am correct when I say that I have known more than most men know about failure, about betrayals and dishonoring Christ, about disobedience to heavenly visions, about conscious falling short of that which I saw other men attaining, and which I knew Christ was expecting of me. Not a great while ago I should have had to stop just there, and only say I hoped that someday I would be led out of all that into something better. If you had asked me how, I would have had to say I did not know. But, thanks to His long-suffering patience and infinite love and mercy, I do not have to stop there, but I can go on to speak of something more than a miserable story of personal failure and disappointment.


The conscious needs of my life, before there came the new experience of Christ of which I can tell you, were definite enough. Three stand out.


1. There were great fluctuations in my spiritual life, in my conscious closeness of fellowship with God. Sometimes I would be on the heights spiritually; sometimes I would be in the depths. A strong, arousing convention, a stirring, searching address from some consecrated, victorious Christian leader of men; a searching, Spirit-filled book, or the obligation to do a difficult piece of Christian service myself, with the preparation in prayer that it involved, would lift me up; and I would stay up – for a while – and God would seem very close and my spiritual life deep. But it wouldnt last. Sometimes by some single failure before temptation, sometimes by a gradual downhill process, my best experiences would be lost, and I would find myself back on the lower levels. And a lower level is a perilous place for a Christian to be, as the Devil showed me over and over again.

It seemed to me that it ought to be possible for me to live habitually on a high plane of close fellowship with God, as I saw certain other men doing, and as I was not doing. Those men were exceptional, to be sure; they were in the minority among the Christians whom I knew. But I wanted to be in that minority. Why shouldn‘t we all be, and turn it into a majority?

2. Another conscious lack of my life was in the matter of failure before compulsive sins. I was not fighting a winning fight in certain lines. Yet if Christ was not equal to a winning fight, what were my Christian beliefs and professions good for?  I did not look for perfection. But I did believe that I could be enabled to win in certain directions habitually, yes, always, instead of uncertainty and interruptions, the victories scattered with crushing and humiliating defeats. Yet I had prayed so earnestly, for deliverance; and the habitual deliverance had not come.


3. A third conscious lack was in the matter of dynamic, convincing spiritual power that would work miracle changes in other mens lives. I was doing a lot of Christian work – had been at it ever since I was a boy of fifteen. I was going through the motions – oh, yes. So can anybody. I was even doing personal work – the hardest kind of all; talking with people, one by one, about giving themselves to my Saviour! But I wasnt seeing results. Once in a great while I would see a little in the way of results of course, but not much. I didnt see lives made over by Christ, revolutionized, turned into firebrands for Christ themselves, because of my work; and it seemed to me I ought to. Other men did, why not I?  I comforted myself with the old assurance (so much used by the Devil) that it wasnt for me to see results; that I could safely leave that to the Lord if I did my part. But this didnt satisfy me, and I was sometimes heartsick over the spiritual fruitless state of my Christian service.


About a year before, I had begun, in various ways, to get intimations that certain men to whom I looked up as conspicuously blessed in their Christian service seemed to have a conception or consciousness of Christ that I did not have -that was beyond, bigger, deeper than any thought of Christ I had ever had. I rebelled at the suggestion when it first came to me. How could anyone have a better idea of Christ than I? (I am just revealing to you the blind, self- satisfied workings of my sin-stunted mind and heart.)


– Did I not believe in Christ and worship Him as the Son of God and one with God?

– Had I not accepted Him as my personal Saviour more than twenty years before?

– Did I not believe that in Him alone was eternal life?

Was I not trying to live in His service, giving my whole life to Him?

– Did I not ask His help and guidance constantly, and believe that in Him was my only hope?

Was I not championing the very cause of the highest possible conception of Christ, by conducting in the columns of THE SUNDAY SCHOOL TIMES a symposium the deity of Christ, in which the leading Bible scholars of the world were testifying to their personal belief in Christ as God?


All this I was doing. How could a higher or better conception of Christ than mine be possible? I knew that I needed to serve Him far better than I had ever done; but that I needed a new conception of Him I would not admit.


And yet it kept coming at me, from directions that I could not ignore. I heard from a preacher of power a sermon on Ephesians 4:12, 13; “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ“; and as I followed it I was amazed, bewildered. I couldnt follow him. He was beyond my depth. He was talking about Christ, unfolding Christ, in a way that I admitted was utterly unknown to me. Whether he was right or wrong I wasnt quite ready to say that night; but if he was right, then I was wrong.


Later I read another sermon by this same man on “Pauls Conception of the Lord Jesus Christ.” As I read it, I was conscious of the same uneasy realization that he and Paul were talking about a Christ whom I simply did not know. Could they be right?If they were right, how could I get their knowledge?


One day I came to know another minister whose work among men had been greatly blessed. I learned from him that what he counted his greatest spiritual asset was his habitual consciousness of the actual presence of Jesus.


Nothing so bore him up, he said, as the realization that Jesus was always with him in actual presence; and that this was so, independent of his own feelings, independent of his deserts, and independent of his own notions as to how Jesus would manifest His presence.


Moreover, he said that Christ was the home of his thoughts. Whenever his mind was free from other matters, it would turn to Christ; and he would talk aloud to Christ when he was alone– on the street, anywhere – as easily and naturally as to a human friend. So real to him was Jesus’ presence.


Some months later I was in Edinburgh, attending the World Missionary Conference, and I saw that one whose writings had helped me greatly was to speak to men Sunday afternoon on The Resources of the Christian Life.” I went eagerly to hear him. I expected him to give us a series of definite things that we could do to strengthen our Christian life; and I knew I needed them. But his opening words showed me my mistake, while they made my heart leap with a new joy. What he said was something like this:


“The resources of the Christian life, my friends, are just – Jesus Christ.” That was all. But that was enough.

I hadnt grasped it yet; but it was what all these men had been trying to tell me. Later, as I talked with the speaker about my personal needs and difficulties, he said, earnestly and simply, “Oh, Mr. Trumbull, if we would only step out upon Christ in a more daring faith, He could do so much more for us.”