Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray:
Why we fail #1.3
In my blog post describing the background to Abide in Christ (See blog #1.1) I mentioned that Andrew Murray found that members of his congregation were losing the conscious closeness to God they had experienced during the height of the revival.
Unfortunately, this is all too often apt to be the case in our lives as well. Below are some of the reasons Murray gives for this state of affairs.
1. We fail because our own efforts take over
This is a theme that Murray hammers in many of his works because he, himself, fell into a similar trap. He warns us that it is God alone who can establish us in Christ Jesus. And just as it is through grace that we are justified and can do nothing to save ourselves, so too we need to hand our sanctification over to God to allow Him to establish our connection with Christ more firmly.
God will accomplish this by stirring us to watch and wait and work. But He can only do this with power if we stop interrupting Him by our self-working.
2. We fail because we think it too much of a strain
Murray points here to the mistake some Christians make in their understanding of how to maintain their conscious closeness to God. They think it needs to be a strain and that their minds have to be continually occupied with heavenly thoughts.
He tells us this is not the case because God’s providence has often placed Christians in business and other occupations where they need to think of other things. It is therefore possible for our minds to be concentrating on other matters while our hearts can still be enjoying the conscious presence of God reigning there.
3. We fail because of unbelief and self will
To illustrate this point, Murray refers to the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah. He points out that a nation divided against itself has no power to conquer its enemies. In the same way, a divided heart is powerless.
When we first came to Christ, we wanted Him to be Lord over all. But then unbelief and self-will came in so that Jesus was not able to assert His power over the whole life. To overcome this situation, we need to trust Jesus for the victory plus a life of undisturbed fellowship.
4. We fail because of ignorance
Murray claims that many-a-young convert doesn’t fully understand what God’s claim of holiness means for their lives. Their giving up of sin is therefore partial and superficial.
5. We fail because we are not willing to have self put to death
Please note that the heading above is in the passive voice. And why is this so? Because Murray declares that it is not a work we can do. In reality, Christ has already done it for us.
But what we now have to do is to consent to what we have already received. We have to replace the life of self with the life of Christ. We have to give up our will and our work for Christ’s willing and working. And the only way we can do that is by allowing the life of Jesus to take full possession of us. When we do, the power of His holy presence will cast out the old life. And this leads to the crux of continuous abiding: We need to commune daily with God.
This overview is taken from chapters 12, 13,15 & 16 of Abide in Christ
© Olea Nel