Experiencing the depths of Jesus Christ requires more than prayer and Scripture study; it calls for total abandonment to Him.
There are several steps involved in coming to know the depths of Jesus Christ. The first two are quite simple: praying the Scriptures and just beholding the Lord in quietness and trust. After you have pursued this level of experience with the Lord for a considerable length of time, you then should be ready to go on to a deeper level of knowing Him.
But in this deeper encounter with the Lord, you must move outside the realm of prayer alone; or, to state it more clearly, you must move away from just the one or two times a day you set apart for prayer with the Lord.
At this point, there must enter into your heart whole new attitudes toward your entire life. If you are to branch out beyond just a time of prayer each day, other parts of your life—and even your whole viewpoint of life—will have to be altered. This new attitude must come for a very special reason: so that you may go on deeper, still deeper, into another level with your Lord.
To do this, you must have a fresh attitude toward yourself as well as toward the Lord; it is an attitude that must go much deeper than any you have known previously.
To help you develop this attitude, I introduce a new word to you. The word is abandonment.
To penetrate deeper in the experience of Jesus Christ, it is required that you begin to abandon your whole existence, giving it up to God.
Let us take the daily occurrences of life as an illustration.
You must utterly believe that the circumstances of your life—that is, every minute of your life, as well as the whole course of your life; anything, yes, everything that happens—have all come to you by His will and by His permission. You must utterly believe that everything that has happened to you is from God and is exactly what you need.
One way you can be introduced to such a disposition is to learn to accept every time of prayer, whether it be a glorious time with Him or a time when your mind wanders, as being exactly what He desired for you. Then learn to broaden this perspective until it encompasses every second of your life!
Such an outlook toward your circumstances and such a look of faith toward your Lord will make you content with everything. Once you believe this, you will then begin to take everything that comes into your life as being from the hand of God, not from the hand of man.
Do you truly, sincerely desire to give yourself up to God?
Then I must next remind you that once you have made the donation, you cannot take the gift back again. Once the gift has been presented, it no longer belongs to the giver.
You see, knowing the depths of Jesus Christ is not just a method. It is a lifelong attitude. It is a matter of being enveloped by God and possessed by Him.
We have spoken of abandonment. Abandonment is a matter of the greatest importance if you are to make progress in knowing your Lord. Abandonment is, in fact, the key to the inner court—the key to the fathomless depths. Abandonment is the key to the inward spiritual life.
The believer who knows how to abandon herself to the Lord will soon come into perfect concert with His will in all circumstances.
Let us say you reach this state of abandonment. Once you have reached it, you must continue, steadfast and immovable. Otherwise, to arrive there and remain only briefly is of little value. It is one thing to reach this state; it is another thing to remain there.
Be careful; do not listen to the voice of your natural reasoning. You can expect just such reasoning to well up within you. Nonetheless, you must believe that you can abandon yourself utterly to the Lord for all your lifetime and that He will give you the grace to remain there. You must trust in God, hoping against hope (see Rom. 4:18).
Great faith produces great abandonment.
Exactly what is abandonment? If we can understand what it is, perhaps we can better lay hold of it.
Abandonment is casting off all your cares. Abandonment is dropping all your needs. This includes spiritual needs. Let me repeat that, for it is not easily grasped. Abandonment is laying aside, forever, all your spiritual needs.
All Christians have spiritual needs; but the believer who has abandoned himself to the Lord no longer indulges in the luxury of being aware of spiritual needs. Rather, he gives himself over completely to the disposal of God.