Our Lord, Jesus Christ, calls the Christian to live a “higher” life. This higher life is not some mystical experience, but a seeking of the things of Christ. Our Lord always calls us to this higher place – away from earthly things, away from fleshly desires, away from our own way – to His way.
Isaiah 55:8-9 teaches us that our thoughts and our ways are not His thoughts and His ways. He declares that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways and thoughts higher than ours. Even in our feeble attempts to do good or to follow His law, we find that His ways are so much higher. That higher place to which we are called cannot be produced by human effort. Listen to the words of Jesus: For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).
Take time to read Matthew 5:21-48 and you will see this truth demonstrated. As Jesus teaches, He addresses more than the external. He addresses the heart. As we read through this passage, we get a glimpse of the higher life – with a mind set on things above.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5:21-22). The external act is that of murder. The higher life focuses on the anger that is in the heart that produced the deed.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28). The external act is that of adultery. The higher life focuses on the lust in the heart that produced that deed.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44). The human way is to love those who are “loveable.” The higher life focuses on loving the “unlovable.” A full reading of chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Matthew will continue to reveal the higher life.
You can also see these truths addressed by the Apostle Paul as he calls believers to put off the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind … that ye put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
In actuality, that is what the higher life is about – righteousness and true holiness.
Take time to read Ephesians 4:25-32. The higher life is about more than not lying – it is about speaking the truth with your neighbor. It is about more than not stealing – it is about giving to him that is in need. It is about more than not speaking corrupt words – it is about speaking words that help and minister grace. It is about more than our angry, bitter feelings – it is about kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness.
The higher life is about the Lord Himself. It is about His ways, His thoughts, and His righteousness.
Perhaps you are wondering, “How can I live in that way? Where do I even begin?” First, it is important to realize that the higher life is truly about heavenly things. Jesus said: … For without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5). It is an impossibility to live a spiritual life without Him!
Secondly, we must be renewed in the spirit of our minds. By nature, we have our own thoughts. We were born with them; we awaken each day to our own thoughts; our thoughts are influenced by others and by the world. Have you come to realize what your “self” sounds like? It is, therefore, necessary for our minds and thoughts to be renewed, and there is only one place where we can find God’s thoughts – in the Word of God. For that reason, it is imperative that we read and study the Word of God, for it is there alone where our minds will be renewed.
Next, God has given the wonderful privilege of prayer. The Christian can actually come before the throne of God and lay all of her cares and concerns at His feet. And, as we are still and quiet before Him, He will bring Scripture to our minds. Then, as we walk in His Word, we walk in His ways.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
Also, we must not forget the precious Holy Spirit. He teaches, leads, guides, and brings to remembrance God’s Word as we need it. Learn to be sensitive to Him!
And, of course, God has given the church – the body of Christ – to edify, build up, and encourage us all.
Indeed, God calls us to a higher life – to a life of righteousness and true holiness. We cannot get there apart from Him, but by Him we are able to die to ourselves and live unto Him.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God
Lord, help us to desire You and Your ways above ourselves and our ways. Help us to seek, from the heart, the things that are pleasing to You. Help us to be wives and mothers that reflect Your ways and bring glory to Your name. Truly, help us to set our affection on things above and not on things of the earth.
Yea, the higher life is about ‘righteousness& true holiness’ well expressed. May God help us to desire Him& His way more & more. Amen