Jeanne Guyon has given the church a spiritual gem with her book Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ. And this gem has been mostly hidden by years of religious junk that is void of life-changing power!
She writes of what many call “the deeper Christian life” when it is truthfully the normal Christian life. Unfortunately, most believers never mature and grow up into Christ.
Guyon calls out to us believers to learn a new way of prayer and a new way to read Scripture. This new way will ultimately lead us to experience the depths of Jesus Christ.
Guyon recognizes that man is tripartite or trichotomous in nature. Meaning that man is composed of spirit, soul (psyche), and body. It is in the spirit of man that we meet Christ. It is through the denial of our soul-life (i.e. will, emotions, intellect) that we learn to meet with God in the spirit. The spirit then governs the soul and body as Christ intended in divine order.
It is through abandonment and pressing through the “spiritual dryness” that we shall take hold of a deeper experience with Christ. Discerning the activity of your spirit vs. your soul will allow you to come to Christ in the way he has placed before us.
It is by turning inward to Christ that we discover his life in us.
“When your soul is once turned toward God—the God who dwells within your spirit—you will find it easy to keep turning within. The longer you continue to turn within, the closer you will come to God and the more firmly you will cling to him” (p.54).
Many believers are led astray by external activities of the soul for years before they ever take seriously the spiritual things spoken of in this book. This is a common occurrence, but it is not normal and it never should be accepted as an inevitable delay of Christian maturity.
Guyon writes, “If a new convert were introduced to real prayer and to a true inward experience of Christ as soon as he became converted, you would see countless numbers of converts go on to become true disciples.”
She goes on to say, “the present way of dealing only with external matters in the life of the new convert brings little fruit. Burdening the new Christian with countless rules and all sorts of standards does not help him grow in Christ.
Here is what should be done: The new Christian should be led to God. How? By learning to turn within to Jesus Christ and by giving the Lord his whole heart” (p.117).
This book is about how this happens. I have not read a more practical book about Christian prayer. I highly recommend this book to those who have exhausted themselves by attempting to live like Christ in the soul-life.
For more of a thorough teaching on the tripartite nature of man, read: The Release of the Spirit and The Spiritual Man, vol.1 by Watchman Nee.
- The Centrality of Jesus Christ (Works of T. Austin-Sparks) Vol. 1
- The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer
- Seeing is Believing: Experience Jesus Through Imaginative Prayer by Gregory Boyd
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D.D. Flowers, 2008.