I am enjoying the challenge of reading Andrew Murray’s book, “Abide in Christ.” Being that Murray lived from 1828-1917, one of the challenge is understanding the style in which the book was written. It has taken me a number of chapters to get the hang of it, sort of. But the biggest challenge has been trying to digest and apply what he presents. It’s a challenge but I must say that it has been one of the biggest blessings. I thank God for His leading to read this book. And I thank His Spirit for leading me to understanding. Thanks, Father!
As I read the chapter, “As Your Strength,” I could sense the Spirit of God trying to get through to my hard head and heart. Murray writes, “There is no truth more generally admitted among earnest Christians than that of their utter weakness.” I wholeheartedly concur. He continues, “There is no truth generally misunderstood and abused. Here, as elsewhere, God’s thoughts are heaven-high above man’s thoughts.” In now what is ancient vernacular, I declare, “True dat!” Then Murray issues the challenge: “The Christian often tries to forget his weakness; God wants us to remember it, to feel it deeply. The Christian wants to conquer his weakness and to be freed from it; God wants us to rest and even rejoice in it. The Christian mourns over his weakness; Christ teach His servant to say, “I take pleasure in infirmities. ‘Most gladly…will I…glory in my infirmities (2 Cor. 12:9).” The Christian thinks his weakness his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God’ God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that gives us our claim and access to the strength of Him who has said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). And there it is, laid bare before me in black and white, my struggle as an imperfect, under construction, follower of Christ.
I confess that weakness has not been a quality that I have strived for. Weakness is, well, weak! Strength! Resolve! Steely determination! Toughing it out! Shaking it off! Now that seems more attractive to me. But what I realize now more than ever is that mentality has caused me more grief and has caused me to drift away from God too often than I care to remember or confess. It has probably been one of my greatest hindrances to truly abiding in Christ.
“… My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness…” 2 Cor. 12:9
As much as I am embarrassed to say, too often my attitude has been, “Hey God, look at what I am doing for you. Look at how hard I am working. Look at what I am trying to accomplish for you. Look how strong I am. Look how much faith I have!” Murray reminds me, and it’s something I know full well, that my attitude should be, “Father, I need You. Apart from you I can do nothing. There’s so much I feel You calling me to step into, and I can’t do it on my own. I really need you. Your power works best in weakness.” True faith is found in my weakness, not in my strength. When I can see things for what they truly are and see me for who I truly am, that I am weak, it leads me to exercise faith to trust God for the help I need. It leads me to humble myself and exercise faith that it is God’s strength and His power that I need. That I cannot do anything on my own. That is true faith. And that is true strength.
I want to see and experience the power of God in greater ways. I want what Murray describes, “It is in the power of the omnipotent Savior that the believer must find his strength for life and for work.” I am understanding more fully that abiding in Christ means admitting my weakness and trusting in God’s omnipotence for everything. And the truth is, as I get older, my weakness is more and more apparent and so is my need for God’s power! Hmm, a benefit of getting old. Imagine that!