As we get into the last three chapters of this book, Andrew Murray takes a closer look at the key to humility - dying to self so that God might be all in oneself. The Scriptural basis for this chapter is Paul's description of Jesus in Philip. 2:8: "He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death." Death to self is an extremely difficult accomplishment, but one that Pastor Murray enlightens us about. Here are some of this chapter's helpful points:
1. The author begins by stating that humility is the path to death, and that the perfect outcome of humility is death to self. Jesus chose the path of "humility unto death" as the only way that He proved that He fully surrendered His human nature to God. That example shows us that our humility is the only way of proving our surrender of all to God. It is the only way we are freed from fallen man's nature; humility is the foundation of our new nature in Christ.
2. Murray makes the interesting point that only in His death did Jesus allow His Spirit to come and dwell in men. His death brought into us all the power of His life in that way. Only humility accepts death, and only death perfects humility. Their nature is one in the Spirit.
3. The point is again made that humility means the death of self, to be nothing before God. The example of Jesus' reluctance to take "the cup," but then His humbly surrendering all of His own (as man) will to God's will unto death, is our example of giving up our own will and dying to self. Jesus needed humility to die to the tempting of worldly sin; He never would have died for us without that humility.
4. The key question is then asked by the author: "How can I die to self?" In a critical couple of paragraphs, Murray gives his answer. "The death to self is not your work; it is God's work. In Christ you are dead to sin. The life . . . in you has gone through . . . death and resurrection. You may be sure that you are indeed dead to sin. But the full manifestation of the power of this death in your disposition and conduct depends on the measure in which the Holy Spirit imparts the power of the death of Christ. And it is here that the teaching is needed. If you want to enter into full fellowship with Christ in His death, and know the full deliverance from self, humble yourself. This is your one duty." "Place yourself before God in your utter helplessness. Consent heartily to the fact of your weakness to slay or make yourself alive. Sink down into your own nothingness, in the spirit of meek and patient and trustful surrender to God. Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-men as a help to remain humble before God. It is by the mighty strengthening of His Holy Spirit that God reveals Christ fully in you. In this manner, Christ, in His form as a servant, is truly formed in you and dwells in your heart." Then God accepts our sincere desire for that humility, and works it for us in His grace and power. (This to me seems to be one of the very key passages in the entire book!)
5. As he has done before, the author states that one can have a knowledge of this "death-life" unto humility but retain much of self, speaking of Jesus without seeking His humility, with His meek, lowly and kind nature. So that nature must also be in us, His body of believers.
6. Pastor Murray then gets back to the hopelessness of our doing this work ourselves, in ourselves. He comments that self cannot cast out self. But the work has already been done for us in the humble death of Jesus, who died to His self of man. Christ has given us the Holy Spirit to make the power of the "death-life" our own. Our souls know that we need more than self, and in faith we can claim and receive the fullness of the Spirit of Jesus, and know on a daily basis the power of His death to self, bringing His humility to our lives every day.
7. The chapter then concludes with the reminder, from Romans 6:3,11,13, that we are dead to sin in Christ's death, but alive from death in His resurrection. Therefore the Christian must present his/her self to God as one who died in Christ and is alive in Him, bearing His two markers: humility with its death to sin and self, and resurrection power of Christ in heaven. Murray urges the Christian to "claim in faith the death and the life of Jesus as yours." By His death we are to "rest from self and its work" and humble ourselves through Christ's humility into daily "perfect and helpless dependence upon God." "Every morning, sink in deep, deep nothingness into the grave of Jesus. Every day, the life of Jesus will be made manifest in you. Let a willing, loving, restful, happy humility be the mark that you have indeed claimed your birthright - the baptism into the death of Christ." Only by entering into His humbling humiliation can we obtain the humility of His nature. "The death-life" (of self) "is seen in a meekness and humility like that of Christ."
Brief Comment: This is a powerful chapter that gives Christians more specific directions about dying to self, so that God can fill and be all in that self. This chapter was one of the hardest to summarize, as I believe that nearly every word speaks God's education to the reader. There are three interesting particular points to me: 1) the idea that self cannot cast itself out, and that the death of self is God's/Jesus' work by the Holy Spirit; what we must have is an understanding and willing spirit that accepts our domination by self and our helplessness to change that (as always we must remember Jesus' admonition: "Without Me you can do nothing."); 2) that we must go into the grave with Jesus to experience death of self; how many times have we heard that? We are taught NOT to dwell on Jesus' grave but on His resurrection and life; perhaps our major hindrance to dying to self is our reluctance to examine, dwell on, and go into the grave of Jesus. Imagine focusing, concentrating and praying on Jesus' death and the grave! Wow! and 3) the blessing we have, in God's grace to us, in humiliating and "vexing" experiences with other people. We must happily accept those situations, and praise and thank God for the opportunities He gives us to display our Savior's nature. (That, of course, is not natural to self, but it is to Jesus' Spirit in us.)
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Andrew Murray was a South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor. Murray considered missions to be "the chief end of the church."
The Beauty of Holiness
“Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”