"Most gladly will I glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may
rest upon me; wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses." The humble man has
learnt the secret of abiding gladness. The weaker he feels, the lower he
sinks; the greater his humiliations appear, the more power and the presence of
Christ are his portion, until, as he says, "I am nothing," the word of his Lord
brings ever deeper joy: "My grace is sufficient for thee."
I was searching for a book that might address the idea of spiritual gifts. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness are qualities we Christians are supposed to pour forth. But like an empty pitcher, we cannot pour unless we are filled. Going out and doing something "good" is one thing, "filthy rags;" being filled with the Holy Spirit who pours goodness through me is quite another. How to be filled so that we can pour, not merely do something here, here and here, but pour out something much greater than ourselves all the time, everywhere?
Pride has to go. "And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin and evil." I can't have a belief in our Creator and be proud of anything! I can't do anything good, I didn't create my children, I didn't create my talents and gifts. How can I be proud of winning a foot race when it is God who constructed my legs? If I'm filled with myself, I cannot be filled with God; it has to be one or the other. How to step aside, or more to the point - become nothing - and be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Jesus is our ultimate example of humility. He made himself a mere human and allowed his own life to be taken, brutally. He made himself small so that we could be made right with God. How could I aspire to anything that feeds my own pride when God Himself came and sacrificed all that my filthiness could be washed clean...so that I could be reconciled to Him? My aspirations should be only to bow to the one who saved me and allow Him to fill me with His spirit so my life becomes about Him only.
I cannot sum up this book or barely even comment on it. Andrew Murray's writing is so rich and full that I'm left to drop quotes and question myself on how it is that I can still go about trying to raise my chin every day instead of falling to the floor and becoming nothing but a vessel for the Almighty to overcome. So humility is the answer to my search for the gifts of the Spirit, the answer to allowing the Spirit to dwell within and bring along with it love, joy, peace and all the rest. Those things do not dwell in me naturally and so without humility and without the Spirit, I cannot exhibit and share them.
"Brother, have we not been making a mistake in taking so much trouble to
believe, while all the time there was the old self in its pride seeking to
possess itself of God's blessing and riches? No wonder we could not
believe. Let us change our course. Let us seek first of all to
humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God: He will exalt us. The
cross, and the death, and the grave, into which Jesus humbled Himself, were His
path to the glory of God. And they are our path. Let our one desire
and our fervent prayer be, to be humbled with Him and like Him; let us accept
gladly whatever can humble us before God or men; - this alone is the path to the
glory of God."