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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual rest’

Not long ago I stopped at a church yard sale and found a little treasure, “Abide in Christ” by Andrew Murray.  It’s an old copy without a publication date, but my guess it was printed in the early 1900s.  I have to confess that although I’m familiar with this author’s name and some of his titles, I hadn’t known anything about him.  When I decided to share some of what I read today, I thought it might be a good idea to find out who he was exactly.  When I did, it made sense why his words impact me so deeply.

He lived longer ago than I had realized (1828-1917), and he and his brother joined a revival movement while studying theology in the Netherlands.  He was a Revivalist in his ministry as a pastor in South Africa, the country of his birth.  The biography sketch states his written works greatly influenced Watchman Nee, which would explain why I said this morning, “Wow! This sounds so much like Watchman Nee!”  🙂

When it comes to great Christian writers, I am consistently drawn to the same genre of literature.  Revival is the continuing desire of my heart and for my heart.  I am so moved by those believers whose words were generated by this fire.  They inspire and challenge me.

But enough about what I think… here is what excited me this morning, an excerpt from Day Three of a 31 days of meditations on Abiding in Christ.  These words have direct implications for the subject matter of this blog as well.  (added emphases below are mine)

Chapter 3–TRUSTING HIM TO KEEP YOU

“I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I also am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”–PHIL.3:12

MORE than one admits that it is a sacred duty and a blessed privilege to abide in Christ, but shrinks back continually before the question: Is it possible, a life of unbroken fellowship with the Saviour? Eminent Christians, to whom special opportunities of cultivating this grace have been granted, may attain to it; for the large majority of disciples, whose life, by a divine appointment, is so fully occupied with the affairs of this life, it can scarce be expected. The more they hear of this life, the deeper their sense of its glory and blessedness, and there is nothing they would not sacrifice to be made partakers of it. But they are too weak, too unfaithful–they never can attain to it.

Dear souls! how little they know that the abiding in Christ is just meant for the weak, and so beautifully suited to their feebleness. It is not the doing of some great thing, and does not demand that we first lead a very holy and devoted life. No, it is simply weakness entrusting itself to a Mighty One to be kept–the unfaithful one casting self on One who is altogether trustworthy and true. Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but a consenting to let Him do all for us, and in us, and through us. It is a work He does for us–the fruit and the power of His redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has engaged to perform.

It is this quiet expectation and confidence, resting on the word of Christ that in Him there is an abiding place prepared, which is so sadly wanting among Christians. They scarce take the time or the trouble to realize that when He says “Abide IN ME,” He offers Himself, the Keeper of Israel that slumbers not nor sleeps, with all His power and love, as the living home of the soul, where the mighty influences of His grace will be stronger to keep than all their feebleness to lead astray. The idea they have of grace is this–that their conversion and pardon are God’s work, but that now, in gratitude to God, it is their work to live as Christians, and follow Jesus. There is always the thought of a work that has to be done, and even though they pray for help, still the work is theirs. They fail continually, and become hopeless; and the despondency only increases the helplessness. No, wandering one; as it was Jesus who drew you when He spake “Come,” so it is Jesus who keeps you when He says “Abide.” The grace to come and the grace to abide are alike from Him alone. That word Come, heard, meditated on, accepted, was the cord of love that drew you nigh; that word Abide is even so the band with which He holds you fast and binds you to Himself. Let the soul but take time to listen to the voice of Jesus. “In me,” He says, “is thy place–in my almighty arms. It is I who love thee so, who speak Abide in me; surely thou canst trust me.” The voice of Jesus entering and dwelling in the soul cannot but call for the response: “Yes, Saviour, in Thee I can, I will abide.”

Abide in me: These words are no law of Moses, demanding from the sinful what they cannot perform. They are the command of love, which is ever only a promise in a different shape. Think of this until all feeling of burden and fear and despair pass away, and the first thought that comes as you hear of abiding in Jesus be one of bright and joyous hope: it is for me, I know I shall enjoy it. You are not under the law, with its inexorable Do, but under grace, with its blessed Believe what Christ will do for you. And if the question be asked, “But surely there is something for us to do?” the answer is, “Our doing and working are but the fruit of Christ’s work in us.” It is when the soul becomes utterly passive, looking and resting on what Christ is to do, that its energies are stirred to their highest activity, and that we work most effectually because we know that He works in us. It is as we see in that word IN ME the mighty energies of love reaching out after us to have us and to hold us, that all the strength of our will is roused to abide in Him.”

The entire book is available to read online: Abide in Christ

There is such a subtle but life-altering difference between the approach that we must strive to be a good Christian, and the reality that we must simply let Jesus live it out in us.  Those who live in the former state, often have no realization there is another way.  That they are mixing their own efforts with the sufficiency of God’s grace.  They push others to strive as they themselves feel obliged to do.  It’s the logical thing to do.  Be a good Christian soldier.

Lately as my own personal battles have raged at new levels, I have seen the stakes differently.  Success and failure in the living of our Christian life revolve around how we love.  We may fail in many ways, but to fail to love is the only true failure.  Love in the fiercest of spiritual battles cannot be manufactured in our dead human hearts.  Love indicates where my life abides.  In Christ?  Or in my own desires and disappointments.

People are never what we want them to be, or we can blame God for the storms we expected Him to steer us away from.  But people we must love, and our Father we must trust.  And here my language goes back to knee-jerk human compulsion to “work”.  We must, but we can’t.  He does.

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