Hudson Taylor’s life was one resounding affirmation that God uses means to preserve and deepen and intensify union with Christ. Those means are a kind of effort. He would say not slavish effort, but trusting effort. The difference between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit — the difference between serving in your own strength and 1 Peter 4:11: Let him who serves serve in “the strength that God supplies.”
What’s that like? That should be one of your major goals in life is to discover the meaning of 1 Peter 4:11 for ministry: serving in the strength of another. You serve, but the strength is from another. That’s the miracle of life. That’s what he discovered in a new way.
Galatians 2:20: “The life I now live” — yes, I get out of bed in the morning. I go and open my Bible. I write mission letters. I edit a magazine. I recruit recruits — by the faith of him who loved me and gave himself for me so that I’m walking in constant reliance and communion upon him moment by moment, so that there’s this sweet peace and contentment in my effort.
In this effort of faith, there are things to be done. “Communion with Christ requires our coming to him. Meditating upon his person and his work requires the diligent use of the means of grace, and especially prayerful reading of his word. Many fail to abide because they habitually fast instead of feed” — fast from the word instead of feeding on the word.
His new pattern after his experience was to go to bed earlier and get up at 5:00am. He knew he needed sleep. That’s another means of grace. He got up at 5:00am in order to “give time to Bible study and prayer, often two hours, before the work of the day began.”
He never saw these spiritual disciplines in contradiction to glorious experience of union with Christ. Jesus is the vine. His Father is the vinedresser. Both the power of the vine and the providence of the vinedresser, including the vinedresser’s providence to get you out of bed in the morning, get you over your Bible, open your eyes — use caffeine if you must — and keep you reading in his holy word.
Read, watch, or listen to the full message: