In the letter which Hudson Taylor (The famed missionary to China) wrote to his sister Amelia in October, 1869 beautifully describes the 'exchanged life'. It is so encouraging and refreshing.
In the letter he explains the turmoil he went through in his futile efforts to please God.
Like many of us he tried, tried and tried to please God with all his energy:
I felt the ingratitude, the danger, the sin of not living nearer to God. I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for retirement and meditation - but all was without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me.
I knew that if I could only abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not.
To will was indeed present with me, but how to perform, I found not.
I hated myself; I hated my sin; and yet I gained no strength against it.
He had the same illusion many christians live with such as:
I thought that holiness was to be gradually attained by a diligent use of the means of grace.
But the more I pursued and strove after holiness, the more it eluded my grasp, till hope itself almost died out, and I began to think that perhaps to make heaven the sweeter, God would not give it to us in this life.
All the time I felt assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was how to get it out.
Unbelief was, I felt, the damning sin of the world - yet I indulged in it. I prayed for faith but it did not come.
Here comes the light:
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 directly 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!
Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your right hand be rich and the left poor? Or your head be well fed while your body starves?
Could a bank clerk say to a customer, "It was only your hand that wrote that check, not you," or "I cannot pay this sum to your hand, but only to yourself?"
And here is the best part:
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 difference 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.
I am no better than before (in one sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be); but I am dead and buried with Christ - yes, and risen too and ascended; and now Christ lives in me, and "the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Faith, I now see, is "the substance of things hoped for" and not mere shadow. It is not less than sight, but more. Sight only shows the outward forms of things; faith gives the substance. You can rest on substance; you can feed on substance.
Click here to read the full letter.