Thursdays with Murray [Humility, week 2]

Andrew Murray 2Over the next number of weeks, I am interacting with some of the writings of Andrew Murray. Murray was a South African pastor and missionary during the 19th and early 20th centuries. I am spending time first with his short book Humility, which a friend shared with me recently.

In the second chapter of the book, Murray draws attention to the way in which humility is the secret of our redemption in Jesus Christ. On the one hand, an honest assessment of our own need and the power of sin in our lives should lead us into a humility caused by our own inability and powerlessness. On the other hand, the very humility of Jesus should encourage us that the pathway to redemption comes through His humility and our humble response to Him. Here is Murray on Jesus’ humility and its tie to our redemption:

The life of God which in the incarnation entered human nature is the root in which we are to stand and grow; it is the same almighty power that worked there, and then onward to the resurrection, which works daily in us. Our one need is to study and know and trust the life that has been revealed in Christ as the life that is now ours, and waits for our consent to gain possession and mastery of our whole being.

In this view it is of inconceivable important that we should have right thoughts of what Christ is, of what really constitutes Him the Christ, and specially of what may be counted His chief characteristic, the root and essence of all His character as our Redeemer. There can be but one answer: it is His humility. What is the incarnation but His heavenly humility, His emptying Himself and becoming man? What is His life on earth but humility; His taking the form of a servant? And what is His atonement but humility? “He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death.” And what is His ascension and His glory, but humility exalted to the throne and crowned with glory? “He humbled Himself, therefore God highly exalted Him.” In heaven, where He was with the Father, in His birth, in His life, in His death, in His sitting on the throne, it is all, it is nothing but humility. Chris is the humility of God embodied in human nature; the Eternal Love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us.

This deep attention to the humility of Jesus gives me great pause to reflect and worship Jesus as we move out from Lent, Good Friday, and the resurrection celebration of Easter. I appreciate the way in which Murray connects the deep humble action of Jesus with the character of humility in God.

Turning the corner from God in Christ to our response to Him, Murray writes pointed words:

If humility be the first, the all-including grace of the life of Jesus – if humility be the secret of His atonement – then the health and strength of our spiritual life will entirely depend upon our putting this grace first too, and making humility the chief thing we admire in Him, the chief thing we ask of Him, the one thing for which we sacrifice all else.

How does that strike you as you read it?

How would you say that the humility of Jesus has most affected you?

How has the humility of Jesus taken root in your life?

What is the greatest hindrance to that?

Who Am I?: a new series at Eastbrook Church

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church, as we celebrated the resurrection, we launched a new series entitled “Who Am I?: Finding Identity in Christ.” My first message in that series, “He Is – I Am,” explored how the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah leads us into the discovery of what it truly means to be human in relation to God and as our unique selves.

The remainder of the series addresses this pervasive question within our culture: who am I? We receive all sorts of advice in answering that question, from ‘following our noses’ to trying on different identities to reacting against the prevailing culture or our histories. But how do we discover our personal identity? Even more, is the concept of personal identity even something that is helpful to consider?
This series looks at what Jesus’ life, death and resurrection mean for our personal identity with God in Christ.

Here are the titles of the series:

  • April 7/8: I am not stuck
  • April 14/15: I am known by faith
  • April 21/22: I am more than my image
  • April 28/29: I am made uniquely
  • May 5/6: I am unfinished
  • May 12/13: I am loved beyond measure
  • May 19/20: I am filled with God’s power

Join us throughout the next two months in person or online to gain a deeper grasp of our identity in Jesus Christ.

Thursdays with Murray [Humility, week 1]

Andrew Murray 2Over the next number of weeks, I am interacting with some of the writings of Andrew Murray. Murray was a South African pastor and missionary during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Murray is probably best known for his book With Christ in the School of Prayer, but he has many other valuable works.

My writing here was prompted by a conversation I had recently with a friend in town who shared Murray’s book Humility with me. Murray begins that book by distinguishing between three motives that urge us toward humility:

  1. The urge toward humility as a creature  – “The first we see in the heavenly hosts, in unfallen man, in Jesus as Son of Man.”
  2. The urge toward humility as a sinner – “The second appeals to us in our fallen state, and points out the only way through which we can return to our right place as creatures.”
  3. The urge toward humility as a saint – “In the third we have the mystery of grace, which teaches us that, as we lose ourselves in the overwhelming greatness of redeeming love, humility becomes to us the consummation of everlasting blessedness and adoration.”

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The First Day

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. (Luke 24:1)

the first day:
walking with heavy loads and burdened hearts
to the place His breathless body lay.
every hour seemed so still
since that dark day.

but now, the first day:
their hesitating procession to the tomb
finds the place, but not Him;
and aching emptiness
meets anger’s anxiety.

yet, on the first day
two men send shivers of loud light
mingled with a message:
‘He’s alive like a new day’s dawning!’
and they remember His words.

this first day is the third day
that sends the dark day running.

[This is the seventh in a group of original poems composed for Holy Week.]