Chapter Five begins with a quotation from Jesus in Luke 22:26: "Let he that is chief among you be as he that does serve." Pastor Murray switches in this chapter from the ministry of Jesus - His example and His teachings - to the response and example of His immediate disciples. Some of his points in this chapter are as follows:
1. Jesus chose His disciples, and we look for examples of humility in them as they walked with Him. If humility is not there, it shows: the major difference between the Savior Jesus and his human companions; and the powerful change in men which came with Pentecost. Humility is part of Christ's victory over Satan and the pride instilled in man. Murray cites several examples from the Gospels showing that, even late in Jesus' ministry, the disciples had little humility. There occasionally were brief flashes of humility, as in Peter, but the disciples were mostly focused on self. The author then goes on to make three major statements about humility in Christ's disciples.
2. First, even in devoted, disciplined, "earnest" Christians, humility may be absent. Murray cites disciples who forsake all for Christ, receive revelations and gifts from Him, believe in and love Him, obey Him, and are ready to die for Him, but still are under the "dark power" of self-focus. As it was with Jesus' immediate disciples, so it is in the Church today. That shows how difficult humility is to obtain; only by the power of the Holy Spirit within us can true humility come.
3. The second statement is that external teaching and personal effort are too weak to conquer pride and bring one humility. Jesus repeatedly manifested and taught humility to His disciples in His three-year walk with them, but even in the end of that walk the disciples had learned little humility.
4. Statement three: only by the dwelling of Christ within us, in His humility, are we able to have His true humility. Our dominant pride came from another - Adam - so if we are to have humility, that, too, must come from another - Christ. Humility must come into us and become part of our very nature. Jesus' lessons and example of humility prepared the disciples for Pentecost, when the Spirit God had given Jesus came and took possession of His disciples, and made them able to have and be of the humility "He had taught them to desire." In His death and Resurrection, Jesus was given by the Father a new life and power which enabled Him to enter, fill and live men's lives. So such men have His humility before God and are made meek like Jesus.
5. Murray lists a number of different kinds of believers as to how they relate to Jesus' humility: those who have never thought of His humility; those who have tried to gain it on their own, and failed, feeling then condemned and discouraged; those who experience the Holy Spirit's power without any awareness that they lack humility; and those who have grace and deliverance in Christ along with awareness of their lack of humility. All still need a deeper seeking of Christ's nature and His humility.
6. I will again finish this summary of Chapter 5 with direct quotes from the last couple of paragraphs at the end of this chapter: "We must understand the utter impossibility of the Church or the believer in being what Christ would have them be, as long as His humility is not recognized as His chief glory, His first command, and our highest blessedness. Let us deeply consider how far the disciples were advanced while this grace was still so terribly lacking. Let us pray to God that other gifts may not so satisfy us that we never grasp the fact that the absence of this grace is the secret reason why the power of God cannot do its mighty work. It is only where we, like the Son, truly know and show that we can do nothing of ourselves, that God will do all. It is when the truth of an indwelling Christ takes the place it claims in the experience of believers that the Church will put on her beautiful garments and humility will be seen in her teachers and members as the beauty of holiness."
Brief Comment: While it may seem superficially encouraging to note that even the disciples who walked with Christ, living with Him 24-7, did not get humility, at the same time it shows how difficult the quest for Christ's humility can be. This is especially true in the era of self-focus we currently seem to be in. Everything in "my" life is about "me." (Some provoking thoughts: If you don't think self-focus is an issue, notice that even hymns and "praise and worship" songs, which are supposed to be about the glory of God and Christ, contain lots of "I" and "me" references. And consider the statements: "Christ died for me" and "Christ saved me" - how much of Jesus' true humility is in those?) The above prayer in #6 is key; how easy it is to get puffed up and distracted over something we consider to be our own spiritual effort, when in real humility we must be nothing so God can be and do all! I must totally die, that Christ can live in me (Gal 2:20 again). How do we do that? Only by surrendering to the Spirit that Christ plants in us. (Other opinions are much appreciated!)
2/28/2014 01:05:48 am
The first step in 12 Step recovery programs (AA, Celebrate Recovery, etc.) is to acknowledge that you are an alcoholic or addict. Seems like one of the hardest parts of the humility process is the same... recognizing and grappling with the fact that our (my) self life is totally in control and that God's life is just a decoration on the wall. I don't think many Christians are even aware of how powerful the self life is, so just acknowledging it may be a step in the right direction. Oh, how this teaching (and the Spirit) offends the soul! But how desperately the church needs to come to the end of it's own efforts and move toward "complete and utter dependence upon God" (the Amplified Bible's definition of "faith.")
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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.”