JAMES HUDSON TAYLOR
1832 - 1905
James Hudson Taylor was born
into a Christian home in England where zeal
for Christ was the mainspring. Born in 1832,
Taylor's parents had prayed: "Dear God,
if You should give us a son, grant that he
may work for You in China."That prayer
was answered in 1854. Taylor, having spent
several years studying medicine and theology
while learning invaluable lessons of dependence
on God, traveled by ship to China to begin
his work as Christ's ambassador. He labored
for six years in Shanghai and Ningpo. He then
returned to England where he worked on translating
the New Testament into the Ningpo dialect
and prayed for God to send missionaries into
inland China. He formed the China Inland Mission
in 1865 and returned to China where he labored
in Christ's vineyard for forty years. At his
death in 1905, there were 205 missionary stations
with 849 missionaries and 125,000 Chinese
Christians in the China Inland Mission. A
noted present-day theologian said of Taylor:
"James Hudson Taylor was a tough, warmhearted,
businesslike Yorkshireman, in whom by the
grace of God, vision, passion, devotion, love,
initiative, wisdom and sheer guts combined
in heroic proportions. Taylor was a spiritual
giant whose acquaintance we latter-day Christians
do well to make."
Discovering The Exchanged
After Taylor's return to China in 1865, he
feverishly worked and preached, attempting
to meet the many needs of the spiritually
and physically impoverished residents.However,
his struggles were also spiritual. Taylor
desperately desired to grow in holiness. But
he also knew the frustration of aborted attempts
of living the abundant life. He prayed. He
fasted often. By the summer of 1869, his spiritual
condition had reached the critical state.
"Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness
of sin oppressed me. I knew that if only I
could abide in Christ all would be well, but
I could not. I began the day with prayer,
determined not to take my mind off of Him
for a moment; but pressure of duties, sometimes
very trying, constant interruptions apt to
be so wearing, often caused me to forget Him.
Each day brought its register of sin and failure,
of lack of power. To will was indeed present
with me, but how to perform I found not."
But as Taylor sought the Lord, an answer came
in the form of a letter from a friend, John
McCarthy. McCarthy wrote: "I seem to
have got to the edge only, but of a sea which
is boundless; to have sipped only but of that
which fully satisfies. Christ literally all
seems to me now the power, the only power
for service; the only ground for unchanging
"How then to have our faith increased?
Not a striving to have faith, or to increase
our faith, but a looking off to the Faithful
One seems all we need; a resting in the Loved
One entirely, for time and for eternity."
As Taylor laid McCarthy's letter down, his
spiritual eyes were opened and his heart was
warmed by the reality of his oneness and identity
with Christ. In a letter to his sister some
days later, Taylor jubilantly declared his
discovery of the "exchanged life."
"As I read [McCarthy's
letter] I saw it all! 'If we believe not,
he abideth faithful.' I looked to Jesus and
saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!)
that He had said, 'I will never leave you.'
'Ah, there is rest!' I thought. 'I have striven
in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more.
For has He not promised to abide with menever
to leave me, never to fail me? And, dearie,
He never will!
"The sweetest part . . . 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 matter 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. "So, if God
places me in great perplexity, must He not
give me much guidance; in positions of great
difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of
great pressure and trial, much strength? No
fear that His resources will be unequal to
the emergency! And His resources are mine,
for He is mine, and is with me and dwells
in me. All this springs from the believer's
oneness with Christ."
Like Taylor, you need to understand your identity
in Christ. You are "in Christ" and
Christ is "in you." Once you received
Christ as your Savior, you also receive Him
as your very life. (Colossians 3:4) The Christian
life is Jesus living His life through you
by His indwelling Holy Spirit. It is not something
you achieve but receive by the same faith
you had a salvation. You do not have to strive
to be victorious You already are victorious
in Christ. You have everything you need in
Christ. Your sin is exchanged for His righteousness,
your weakness for His strength, you inadequacy
for His adequacy.
This is not a call to passivity or license
but of sweet submission to Christ. Obedience
is necessarybut it is a delight, not
Paul wrote the Galatians:
"I have been crucified with Christ, and
I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body, I live by faith
in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself
for me" (Galatians 2:20).