The worldling cannot understand how the growing believer lives. Both his life and that which sustains it lie entirely beyond the range of nature’s keenest vision. The Lord Jesus Christ is his life, and in Him he lives. He feels by faith, upon the powerful attractions of One who, though being “God over all, blessed forever,” “took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Rom 9:5; Phl 2:7).
He traces Him from the bosom of the Father to the Cross, and from the Cross to the throne, and finds Him, in every stage of His journey, and in every attitude of His life, to be most precious food for his new man. All round, though, in fact, Egypt (a type of this world and “the old man”—NC) is morally a waste howling wilderness, affording nothing for the renewed mine. And just in proportion as the believer finds any material to feed upon therein must his spiritual man be hindered in his progress. The provision which the Father has made is the heavenly Manna, and on this the growing believer must feed (Jhn 6:51).
It is one thing to know that we have life in the Lord Jesus, together with full forgiveness and acceptance before the Father (permanently is the only way to understand this—NC), and it is quite another to be in continual fellowship with Him—feeding upon Him by faith—making Him the exclusive food for our souls. Very many profess to have found pardon and peace in the Lord Jesus, who, in reality, are feeding upon a variety of things which have no connection with Him whatsoever. The activities of the mew life will ever show themselves in connection with the Cross-subjection of “the old man and his deeds” (Col 3:9); and the more that is accomplished, the more will we desire to feed upon the Bread which strengthens man’s heart. As in nature, the more we exercise, the better the appetite; so in grace, the more our new life is called into activity, the more we feel the need of feeding each day, upon the Lord Jesus in glory (Psa 46:1).
If an Israelite neglected to gather, in the freshness of the morning hour, his daily portion of the divinely appointed food, he would speedily have become lacking in strength for his journey. Thus it is with us. We must make the Lord Jesus the paramount Object of our soul’s attention, else our spiritual life will inevitably decline (remain a “babe in Christ”—NC). We cannot even feed upon feelings and experiences connected with Him, for inasmuch as they are fluctuating and cannot form our spiritual nourishment. It was the Lord Jesus yesterday, and it must be Him today, and Him forever. Moreover, it will not do to feed partly on Him and partly on other things. As in the matter of Life it is the Lord Jesus alone, so in the matter of growth it must be Him alone. As we cannot mingle anything with that which imparts life, so neither can we mingle anything with that which sustains it.
We should ever remember that Christianity is not a set of opinions, a system of dogmas, or a number of views; it is preeminently a living reality—a personal, practical, powerful thing, telling itself out in the scenes and circumstances of daily life, shedding its hallowed influence over the entire character and course, and imparting its heavenly tone to every relationship; which one may be called of God to fill. In a word, it is that which flows from being associated and occupied with the Lord Jesus in heaven. This is Christianity—a Person. There may be clear views, correct notions, sound principles, without any fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (one can have the Spirit but not walk after Him - Gal 5:25); but an orthodox creed without communion with Him will prove a cold and barren thing.
—C H Mackintosh
MJS online devotional excerpt:
The believer in the midst of processing, is progressing.
“If spiritual thirst is the language of your heart, there is great blessing in store for you. When believers are being turned upside-down and inside-out they are apt to be much discouraged, and to have their souls ‘disquieted’ within them. But even amid the exercise the Father would give us the encouragement of knowing that He has taken us up to bring us into inconceivable blessing.
“We must travel through these processings, for the simple reason that if the Lord Jesus is to be everything, the old man must be nothing, and it is often times a long journey to reach this point in the history of the soul. Hence the long, dreary, and painful years of ‘self-occupation’ through which most believers drag their slow steps of spiritual progress.” -C.A.C.http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/