4. The Larger Life

from A Larger Christian Life

A.B. Simpson
Scriptures Referenced in This Article:

Please note that all Scriptures may not be posted at this time.

Josh. 13:1 π Josh. 18:3 π Psa. 119:18 π Psa. 119:32 π Mt. 5:44 π Mt. 22:37 π Jn. 3:34 π Jn. 13:34 π 1 Cor. 13:4-7 π 2 Cor. 6:13; 2nd; 3rd π Eph. 1:17-18 π Phlp. 4:11-13 π Heb. 12:2 π Heb. 13:3 π Jas. 1:2

"You also be enlarged." ( 2 Cor. 6:13; top )

The law of growth is a fundamental principle of all nature and redemption. Whatever ceases to grow begins to die; stagnancy brings corruption; the corpse belongs to the worm; a self-contained pool becomes a malarious swamp. Vegetation springs from a seed, the seed grows into a tree, and the tree into a forest. Human life commences in infancy and develops to maturity. The word of God has all unfolded from a single promise. The great plan of redemption has been a ceaseless progression, and will be through the ages upon ages that are yet to come.

The experience of the soul is a growth. True, it must have a starting point. We cannot grow into Christianity; we must be born from above and then grow. And so sanctification is progressive, and yet it has a definite beginning. Christ is completely formed within us, but He is the infant Christ, and grows up to the maturity of the perfect man in us just as He did in His earthly life.

It is here that the enlargement of our text meets us. It is only the truly consecrated Christian that grows. The other treads the ceaseless circle of the wilderness. But he has crossed the Jordan and begun the conquest of the land and the progressive experience of which it was the beautiful pattern and symbol. No book in the Bible has more progress in it than the book of Joshua, and yet from the very beginning it is the life of one who has wholly died to self and sin and has taken Christ for full salvation and is walking in the heavenly places in Him.

And even the book of Joshua only begins its highest advance when it is almost ended. It is after the whole land is subdued, that the call comes, "How long will you be slack to go to possess the land? ...There remains yet very much land to be possessed." ( Josh. 18:3 ; 13:1 ) And then it is that old Caleb, who has the weight of eighty-four years on his honored head, steps forth and claims the privilege of entering upon the boldest and hardest campaign of his life, the conquest of Hebron and the Anakim. It is to us then, who know the Lord Jesus in His fullness, that He is saying, "You also be enlarged." ( 2 Cor. 6:13; top )


1. We need a larger vision. All great movements begin in great ideas. There is no progress without a new thought as its embryo. China has remained the same for three thousand years because China has not accepted a new idea. Her teacher is a man who lived long before Christ, and for nearly thirty centuries she has followed the ideas of Confucius and is just the same today as she was thirty centuries ago. Let China receive the American idea or the Christian idea and she will be revolutionized at once.

So the first step in our advance must be a new conception of the truth as it is in Jesus and a larger view of His word and will for us. We do not need a new Bible, but we need new eyes to read our Bible and brighter light to shine upon its deep and pregnant pages. We need to see, not simply a system of exegesis or a system of Biblical exposition and criticism; a thorough knowledge of the letter and its wondrous framework of history, geography, antiquities and ancient languages; but a vivid, large and spiritual conception of what it means for us and what God's thought in it for each of us is. We want to take it as the message of heaven to the twentieth century and our generation, nay, the living voice of the Son of God to us this very hour, and to see in it the very idea which He Himself has for our life and work; to take in the promises as He understands them, the commandments as He intends them to be obeyed, and the hopes of the future as He unfolds them upon the near horizon of their approaching fulfillment. How little have we grasped the length and breadth and depth and height of this heavenly message! How little have we realized its authority and its personal directness to us! "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law!" ( Psa. 119:18 ) "I will run in the way of Your commandments, when You shall enlarge my heart." ( Psa. 119:32 ) That you may be filled with "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." ( Eph. 1:17-18; top ) May the Lord grant it to each of us in the largest possible measure in accordance with His will!

2. We need a larger faith. What is the use of light if we do not use it? We need a faith that will personally appropriate all that we understand, and a faith so large that it will reach the fullness of God's great promises; so large that it will rise to the level of each emergency as it comes into our life. Do we not often feel that a promise has been brought to us with a light and power that we have been unable to claim and a need has arisen that we are persuaded God is able to meet, but for which we are conscious our faith is not grasping the victory, at least according to the full measure of the exigency? This ought not so to be. If all things are possible to him that believes we ought to have all things in His will for every moment of life's need. The divine pattern of faith is the faith of God. Oh, let us be enlarged to this high measure!

3. We need a larger love. We need a love that will meet God's claim of perfect love, as He has said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." ( Mt. 22:37 ) We need a love that will love one another "even as He has loved us." ( Jn. 13:34 ) We need a love that will love our enemies and pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us. ( Mt. 5:44 ) We need a love that will love the lost as He loves them, overcoming our repugnance to every personal condition, and delighting to suffer or sacrifice for their salvation with the joy that counts it no sacrifice. We need a love that will take our brother's need and pain as if it were our own, and "remember those in bonds as bound with them, and them that suffer adversity since you yourselves are in the body also." ( Heb. 13:3 ) We need that love of which Paul writes, "Love suffers long, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." ( 1 Cor. 13:4-7; top )

4. We need a larger joy. We need a joy that will not only rejoice in the gifts of God, but will rejoice in God Himself and find in Him our portion and our boundless and everlasting delight. We need a joy that will not only rejoice in the sunshine but in the hour of darkness and apparent desertion, when men misunderstand us, when circumstances are against us and when even God seems to have forgotten us. We need a joy that will not only rejoice in all things, but rejoice evermore. We need a joy that even when we do not feel the joy, will "count it all joy," ( Jas. 1:2 ) and rejoice by faith. We need a joy so large, so deep, so divine that it will not feel its sacrifice, will talk about its trials, but will "endure the cross despising the shame...for the joy set before us." ( Heb. 12:2; top )

5. We need a larger experience. We do not mean by this any mere state of emotional feeling, but a larger range of Christian living, a bringing of Christ more into everything; an experience that will prove Him in all situations, amid secular business, exasperating circumstances, baffling perplexities, extreme vicissitudes; and going all round the circle of human life, will be able to say, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content; I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ( Phlp. 4:11-13; top ) That is a large experience. That is a degree in the school of Christ that will outweigh all the D.D.'s of all the colleges.

6. We need a larger work. We do not mean by this that we need a larger sphere. That may not be. That certainly is not the case if we are not filling our present; but we need a better quality of work. We need to finish our unfinished work. We need to do the things that we have thought of doing, intended to do, talked about doing, and are abundantly able to do. We need to do the work that can be done in the intervals and interstices of life, the work that can be done on the way and on the wing, between times as well as in times of special service and appointment; the word that can be spoken as we casually meet people; the work that can be done by the wayside and on the crossroads of life, where souls meet that never meet again. Sometimes the ministry that can be performed at such a moment becomes the pivot for hundreds of souls and eternal ages to turn upon. We need a work that is larger in its upward direction, more wholly for God, more singly devoted to His glory, and more satisfied with His approval whether men are pleased or not. And we need a larger conception and realization of the work that He expects of us in the special line in which He has been developing our Christian life. Most of those who read these lines or hear these words have been called to know Christ in a measure unknown to the great mass of the people of God, and we have not yet realized what God expects of us in spreading these special truths and extending this blessed movement, of which Christ is the center and substance, over all the land and over all the world. God is calling us at this time to a larger faith for this special work - the testimony of Jesus in all His fullness to all the world.

7. We need a larger hope. We need to realize more vividly, more personally, more definitely, what the coming of the Lord means, and means to us, until the future shall become alive with the actual expectation and ever immanent prospect of His Kingdom and His reward. Oh how little this great hope has been to the hearts and lives of most of us until within a few years! How utterly blind the majority of Christians are to it as an actual experience! How much inspiration is it fitted to lend to the heart that truly realizes it! May the Lord enlarge our hopes and intensify them until this becomes, next to the love of Jesus, the most inspiring, stimulating, quickening motive of our Christian life and work!

8. We need a larger baptism of the Holy Spirit, for this is the true summing up of all we have said. It is one thing, not many things, that we need; and, filled with the Spirit in still larger measure, the fruit of the Spirit shall expand and increase in proportion. We need more room for His indwelling, more scope for His expanding, more channels for His outflow. We are not straitened in Him, we are straitened in ourselves. "He does not give the Spirit by measure," ( Jn. 3:34; top ) but we receive Him in very confined and small capacities. He wants more room; He wants our entire being, and He wants so to fill it that we shall be expanded into larger possibilities for His inworking and His outflowing.

Beloved, "you also be enlarged." ( 2 Cor. 6:13; top ) And not only in all these senses and directions, which, no doubt, have searched us and made us realize the limitations of our present lives, but we want to be enlarged in the quality of our life; we want not only more breadth and length, but we want depth and height, a more spiritual, a more mellow, a more mature fruition, and a more established, settled and immovable standing in and for Him.

I'd love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!

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