Andrew Murray on ‘Waiting for the Spirit’ #2.5
In chapter thirteen of The Indwelling Spirit, Andrew Murray focuses on his favorite topic that he mentions in nearly every chapter of this book: ‘waiting on God.’ It led to his own spiritual breakthrough, and he therefore wants Christians to know that this is a fail-safe route to being full of the Spirit.
He defines waiting as an attitude of soul before God. In the Old Testament we read that the saints waited for God and upon God.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
In the New Testament Jesus commanded His followers to wait for the manifestation of God through the Holy Spirit:
On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
In a similar way, says Murray, we too must wait for an increasing inflow of the Spirit accompanied by His leading and strengthening.
Does the command to wait still hold?
It could be argued, says Murray, that the charge to wait ‘for the gift my Father promised’ is hardly relevant for the believer who knows that the Holy Spirit is within him. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is not given to us as a possession of whom we have control, but is our Master who has control of us. We do not use Him. He uses us.
Murray argues further that when Jesus promised an ever-flowing fountain, He spoke of a life of faith ‘that holds Jesus’ gift in living union with Himself.’ So the word wait is woven into the very fiber of the new dispensation of the Holy Spirit.
Why we know so little of the joy and power of the Holy Spirit
Murray observes that many have longed for and felt burdened for the filling of the Holy Spirit.
They have tried to believe, try to lay hold of, and tried to be filled with the Spirit, but they have never known what it is to wait.
What are we waiting for and how should we wait?
What are we waiting for?
We wait on the Father and the Son for an ever increasing in-flowing and working of the blessed Spirit.
We wait for the Spirit himself: His moving, leading, and strengthening to reveal the Father and Son within us and to work through us the holiness and service to which the Father and Son call us.
How should we wait?
- From God’s Word, cultivate the assurance that the Holy Spirit dwells within you.
- Recognize that if you are not faithful in fellowship with God, you cannot expect more.
- Each time you pray, remember that the Spirit is within you as the Spirit of Prayer.
- Ask the Father that His almighty Spirit may come from Him in greater life and power so that He may work more mightily in you.
- As you ask this on the ground of His promises, believe that He hears and that He will do it. Don’t depend on feelings. Rather, rest in what God is going to do.
Then comes the waiting
Be still before God.
This is your spiritual sacrifice. Your silence is a confession that you have nothing to bring and are completely dependent on the all-sufficiency of God.
If your experience appears to prove that nothing has happened, be assured that this is simply to lead you onward to a simpler faith and a more entire surrender.
The time of silent waiting can be followed by the reading of the Word and prayer.
- Do both in faith that the Holy Spirit guides your prayer and your thoughts.
- Be aware that you have become accustomed to worshipping in the power of human understanding and a carnal mind.
- Understand that spiritual worship does not come at once.
- Keep up the waiting disposition.
- As you are able, extend the exercise of waiting upon God.
- Do not count the time lost that you give to waiting. Simply surrender to the Spirit to work within you.
- While waiting, the life of self is laid down. This surrender is your spiritual sacrifice to God.
Waiting will enable God’s work in you to become deeper, more spiritual and directly wrought by God himself.
In the sacrifice of our won wisdom and our will, in the fear of the workings of our own nature, may we learn to walk humbly before You so that your Spirit might work with power. –Andrew Murray