What is the Exchanged Life?

soaring eagle

Since you are reading this blog, I assume you came to it through our web site, graceheals.org. On this site, you will see the term, “Exchanged Life“. You may or may not know what this term means. Since I have met many Christians who have no clue what this means, I am going to write a brief explanation of not only the origin, but the Biblical definition.

The term “exchanged life” was coined by the son of Hudson Taylor to describe the spiritual experience of his father. Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission. Many years of labor for Christ resulted in the founding of a major work in China but also resulted in spiritual burn-out in the life of Hudson Taylor.

Speaking about Hudson Taylor, his friend, Mr. Judd said, "He had been a toiling, burdened Christian before, with recently not much rest of soul. He was a joyous man now, a bright happy Christian. It was resting in Jesus now, and letting Him do the work -- which makes all the difference."

Hudson Taylor's son said, "It was the exchanged life that had come to him -- the life that is indeed, 'No longer I'. Six months earlier he had written, “I continually mourn because I follow at such a distance and learn so slowly to imitate my precious Master”. There was no thought of "imitation" now! It was in blessed reality 'Christ lives 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. So great was the deliverance, that from that time onward Mr. Taylor could never do enough to help make this precious secret plain to hungry hearts wherever he might be."

I, as a believer, can relate to his circumstances. Can you? To be free from the pressure to perform is a freedom that is hard to describe, but a reality that I had and continue to battle. Some of this pressure was programed in me through well intentioned believers. They were looking out for my interest and spiritual growth, and I do not fault them. However, deep down I knew, trying as hard as I could, I could not live up to the “standards” I was being taught. I kept this to myself, and began to believe the lie: that something must be wrong with me. Frustrated, I began, so to speak, to “redouble” my efforts. Still, more sense of failure. My failure to “live the Christian life” resulted in a very weary and suspect Christian. This condition was overwhelming me and I began to question not only my relationship with Jesus, but my calling as a pastor.

How was this condition addressed? By God Himself, to put it bluntly. He allowed me to fail in what I thought I could “do”. Notice, the use of the words, “me” & “I”? Come to find out, I was the problem. The journey from trusting myself to live the Christian life in whatever circumstance I found myself, to trusting Him to live His life not only in me but through me, was quite long and difficult. I cannot remember all the twist, turns, detours, the starts and stops. However, I can tell you how I arrived at the destination. When I realized that I could do nothing apart from Jesus. That He not only saved me from my sins, but had saved me from myself. At that point, I began to live in a love relationship with Jesus, not by a list. And as a result of this love relationship with Him, He began to set me free from depending on myself to keep a list, and allow Him to manifest through me the “sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place”.

What is the exchanged life? Here is the outline so to speak. For me it began with preparation. Did I prepare? No. God allowed me to fail at something where I really wanted success. Further, I was keenly aware that the Christian life and my brand of Christianity, was frustrating and exhausting at the least. It seemed to me to be all about “doing” instead of “being”. Frustration, weariness, and discouragement PREPARED me for wanting to “be” instead of “do”. The next thing I learned about the exchanged life was the PERSON I would be exchanging my life with… Jesus. He became my life vs. people, principles, platform, pastoring, or any endeavor that would steal my joy and put expectations on me that I could never meet. He lives inside of me and wants to express His life through me in all my situations and circumstances. And His PROMISE appealed to me more than any other promises made to me by humans.

Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? GOD doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he  knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon GOD get EXCHANGED strength. HIS STRENGTH, They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind. (Isaiah 40: 28-31)(MSG)

Basically, The Exchanged Life is His life for mine, His strength for my weariness, His wisdom for my stupidity, His peace for my frustration, and His power for my weakness. Are you there yet?

Go to graceheals.org and check out Crossway Ministries. We may be able to assist you in making this exchange. You can call 864.224.5557 and leave a message. Someone will give you a call back.