What is the Higher Life?

"…that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:18, 19)

"…that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:10, 13b, 14).

"The highest Christian life is characterized by:

  1. Depth – Surrender, crucifixion of self, consecration;
  2. Height – Supernatural life of overcoming, and aiming for the holiness and righteousness of Christ;
  3. Breadth – Overflowing life of love, sacrifice and service.

–A.B. Simpson

Depth — Surrender to God

We enter the Higher Life through the Deeper Life of consecration and surrender. As we surrender all to Jesus (as in the classic hymns "I Surrender All," "Take My Life, and Let It Be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee," and "Have Thine Own Way, Lord"), we die to our self and the life of the flesh. This often occurs through suffering, which purifies and refines us spiritually, if we allow God to work and have His way.

Height — Overcoming Supernatural Life

Then we rise to the heights–a higher dimension and quality of living, what Jesus calls the "abundant life" (John 10:10). We cannot live in the dynamic power of the resurrection, unless we have first died–to sin, self, pride, ambition, the desires of the flesh. But once we have surrendered, Jesus raises us up again to a supernatural life of love, joy, peace, and overcoming sin, self, Satan, and the world through the power of the Spirit. We fix our eyes on Jesus, "and all the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

As A. B. Simpson testified, "I have found a heaven below, and I am living in the glory…" Our attitude then becomes: "Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord, once it was the feeling, now it is His Word."

In this state, we do not regard ourselves as having arrived, or having become perfect, but we press for the higher call of God in Christ Jesus: "I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day; still praying as I’m onward bound, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground." We "launch out into the deep" and do not remain on the shores of superficiality and carnality in our Christian lives. We hunger and thirst for more of God.

As A. W. Tozer wrote in his classic book The Pursuit of God:

"Within this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears …. there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities…They are athirst for God and will not be satisfied until they have drunk deep at the fountain of Living Water."

Breadth — Overflowing Life of Love and Service

That hunger and thirst for God then partakes of God’s passion–a compassion for the weak and hurting, and a passion for lost souls, overflowing in a life of sacrifice and service for the sake of Christ and the needs of others–rescuing others from the miry pits and bondages of their lives and lifting them up and leading them to a Higher Life of freedom, healing, hope, victory, and restoration.

Join in the journey to the Higher Christian Life!