Sunday, March 31, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 29 - And Not In Self

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray

Day 29

And Not In Self

“In me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing”
(Rom. 7:18)

To have life in Himself is the prerogative of God alone, and of the Son, to whom the Father has also given it. To seek life, not in itself, but in God, is the highest honor of the creature. To live in and to himself is the folly and guilt of sinful man. To live to God in Christ is the blessedness of the believer. To deny his own life, to hate his own life, to forsake his own life, to lose his own life, such is the secret of the life of faith. "I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20)..."not I, but the grace of God which is with me” (1 Cor. 15:10)... this is the testimony of each one who has found out what it is to give up his own life, and to receive instead the blessed life of Christ within us. There is no other path to true life, to abiding in Christ, than that which our Lord travelled before us - the path through death.

At the beginning of the Christian life, few are able to see this. In the joy of pardon, they feel constrained to live for Christ, and trust, with the help of God, to be enabled to do so. They are yet ignorant of the terrible enmity of the flesh against God, and its absolute refusal in the believer to be subject to the law of God. They do not know yet that nothing but death, the absolute surrender to death of all that is of nature, will suffice, if the life of God is to be manifested in them with power. But bitter failure soon teaches them the insufficiency of their knowledge of Christ's power to save, and deep longings of the heart are awakened to know Him better. He lovingly points them to His Cross. He tells them that as, in the faith of His death as their substitute, they found their life there, so there they will enter into its fuller experience too. He asks them if they are indeed willing to drink of the cup of which He drank — to be crucified and to die with Him. He teaches them that in Him they are indeed already crucified and dead. Though they are yet unknowing, at conversion they became partakers of His death. But what they need now is to give a full and intelligent consent to what they received before they understood it, by an act of their own choice to will to die with Christ.

This demand of Christ's is one of unspeakable solemnity. Many believers shrinks back from it. They can hardly understand it. They have become so accustomed to a low life of continual stumbling, that they hardly desire, and still less expect, to be delivered. Holiness, perfect conformity to Jesus, unbroken fellowship with His love, can scarcely be counted as parts of their creed. Where there is not intense longing to be kept to the utmost from sinning, and to be brought into the closest possible union with the Savior, the thought of being crucified with Him can find no entrance. The only impression it makes is that of suffering and shame: such persons are content that Jesus bore the cross, and so won for them the crown they hope to wear. How different the light is that the believer who is really seeking to abide fully in Christ looks upon it! Bitter experience has taught him how, both in the matter of entire surrender and simple trust, his greatest enemy in the abiding life, is Self. Now it refuses to give up its will; then, again, by its working, it hinders God's work. Unless this life of self, with its willing and working, is displaced by the life of Christ, with His willing and working, to abide in Him will be impossible. And then comes the solemn question from Him who died on the cross: "Are you ready to give up self to the death?" You yourself, the living person born of God, are already in me dead to sin and alive to God; but are you ready now, in the power of this death, to mortify your members, to give up self entirely to its death on the cross, to be kept there until it is wholly destroyed? The question is a heart-searching one: Am I prepared to say that the old self will no longer have a word to say; that it will not be allowed to have a single thought, however natural — not a single feeling, however gratifying — not a single wish or work, however right? Is this indeed what He requires? Is not our nature God's handiwork, and may not our natural powers be sanctified to His service? They may and must indeed. But perhaps you have not yet seen how the only way they can be sanctified is that they must be taken from under the power of self, and brought under the power of the life of Christ. Do not think that this is a work that you can do, because you earnestly desire it, and are indeed one of His redeemed ones. No, there is no way to the altar of consecration but through death. As you yielded yourself to be a sacrifice on God's altar as one alive from the dead (Rom. 6:13; 12:1), so each power of your nature — each talent, gift, possession, that is really to be holiness to the Lord — must be separated from the power of sin and self, and laid on the altar to be consumed by the fire that is always burning there. It is in the mortifying, the slaying of self, that the wonderful powers with which God has equipped you to serve Him, can be set free for a complete surrender to God, and offered to Him to be accepted, sanctified, and used. And though, as long as you are in the flesh, there is no thought of being able to say that self is dead, yet when the life of Christ is allowed to take full possession, self can be so kept in its crucifixion place, and under its sentence of death, that it shall have no dominion over, not for a single moment. Jesus Christ becomes your second self.

Believer! If you want to truly and fully abide in Christ, prepare yourself to part forever from self, and not to allow it, even for a single moment, to have anything to say in your inner life. If you are willing to come entirely away out of self, and to allow Jesus Christ to become your life within you, inspiring all your thinking, feeling, acting, in things temporal and spiritual, then He is ready to undertake the charge. In the fullest and widest sense the word ‘life” can ever have, He will be your life, extending His interest and influence to each one, even the minutest, of the thousand things that make up your daily life. To do this He asks only one thing: Come away out of self and its life, abide in Christ and the Christ life, and Christ will be your life. The power of His holy presence will cast out the old life.

To this end, give up self at once and forever. If you have never yet dared to do it, for fear you might fail in your engagement, do it now, in view of the promise Christ gives you that His life will take the place of the old life. Try to realize that though self is not dead, you are indeed dead to self. Self is still strong and living, but it has no power over you. You, your renewed nature — you, your new self, begotten again in Jesus Christ from the dead — are indeed dead to sin and alive to God. Your death in Christ has freed you completely from the control of self. It has no power over you, except as you, in ignorance, or unwatchfulness, or unbelief, consent to yield to its usurped authority. Come accept by faith simply and heartily the glorious position you have in Christ. As one who, in Christ, has a life dead to self, as one who is freed from the dominion of self, and has received His divine life to take the place of self, to be the animating and inspiring principle of your life, venture boldly to plant your foot upon the neck of this enemy of yours and your Lord's. Be of good courage, only believe. Do not fear to take the irrevocable step, and to say that you have once for all given up self to the death for which it has been crucified in Christ (Rom. 6: 6). And trust Jesus the Crucified One to hold self to the cross, and to fill its place in you with His own blessed resurrection life.

In this faith, abide in Christ! Cling to Him; rest on Him; hope on Him. Daily renew your consecration; daily accept afresh your position as ransomed from your tyrant. In turn, you are made a conqueror. Look daily with holy fear on the enemy of self, as it is struggling to get free from its cross, as it is seeking to allure you into giving it some little liberty, or as it is ready to deceive you by its profession of willingness now to do service to Christ. Remember, self seeking to serve God is more dangerous than self refusing obedience. Look upon it with holy fear, and hide yourself in Christ: in Him alone is your safety. Abide thus in Him; He has promised to abide in you. He will teach you to be humble and watchful. He will teach you to be happy and trustful. Bring every interest of your life, every power of your nature, all the unceasing flow of thought, will, and feeling, that make up life, and trust Him to take the place that self once filled so easily and so naturally. Jesus Christ will indeed take possession of you and dwell in you; and in the restfulness, peace and grace of the new life, you will have unceasing joy at the wondrous exchange that has been made — the coming out of self to abide in Christ alone.


In his work on Sanctification, Marshall, in the twelfth chapter, on "Holiness through faith alone," puts with great force the danger in which the Christian is of seeking sanctification in the power of the flesh, with the help of Christ, instead of looking for it to Christ alone, and receiving it from Him by faith. He reminds us how there are two natures in the believer, and so two ways of seeking holiness, according as we allow the principles of the one or other nature to guide us. The one is the carnal way, in which we put forth our utmost efforts and resolutions, trusting Christ to help us in doing so. The other the spiritual way, in which, as those who have died, and can do nothing, our one care is to receive Christ day by day, and at every step to let Him live and work in us.

"Despair of purging the flesh or natural man of its sinful lusts and inclinations, and of practicing holiness by your willing and resolving to do the best that lieth in your own power, and trusting on the grace of God and Christ to help you in such resolutions and endeavors. Rather resolve to trust in Christ to work in you to will and to do by His own power according to His own good pleasure. They that are convinced of their own sin and misery do commonly first think to tame the flesh, and to subdue and root out its lusts, and to make their corrupt nature to be better-natured and inclined to holiness by their struggling and wrestling with it; and if they can but bring their hearts to a full purpose and resolution to do the best that lieth in them, they hope that by such a resolution they shall be able to achieve great enterprises in the conquests of their lusts and performance of the most difficult duties. It is the great work of some zealous divines in their preachings and writings to stir up people to this resolution, wherein they place the chiefest turning-point from sin to godliness. And they think that this is not contrary to the life of faith, because they trust in the grace of God through Christ to help them in all such resolutions and endeavors. Thus they endeavor to reform their old state, and to be made perfect in the flesh, instead of putting it off and walking according to the new state in Christ. They trust in low carnal things for holiness, and upon the acts of their own will, their purposes, resolutions, and endeavors, instead of Christ; and they trust to Christ to help them in this carnal way; whereas true faith would teach them that they are nothing, and that they do but labor in vain." *

* The Highway of Holiness, An Abridgment of the Gospel Mystery of Sanclification, by Rev. W. Marshall, p. 58.

Abide In Christ - Day 28 - As Your Strength

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 28
As Your Strength
All power is given Unto Me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18 KJV)
Be strong In The Lord, and in the power of His might.” (Eph. 6;10)
My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9 RV)
There is no truth more generally admitted among earnest Christians than that of their utter weakness. There is no truth more generally misunderstood and abused. Here, as elsewhere, God's thoughts are heaven-high above man's thoughts.
The Christian often tries to forget his weakness. God wants us to remember 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 teaches His servant to say, "I take pleasure in infirmities...most gladly will I glory in my infirmities” (2 Cor. 12:9 KJV). The Christian thinks his weakness is 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, when 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."
When our Lord was about to take His seat upon the throne, one of His last words was: "All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth." Just as His taking His place at the right hand of the power of God was something new and true — a real advance in the history of the God-man — so was this clothing with all power. Omnipotence was now entrusted to the man Christ Jesus, that from now on through the channels of human nature it might put forth its mighty energies. Hence, He connected with this revelation of what He was to receive with the promise of the share that His disciples would have in it. “When I am ascended, you will receive power” (Acts 1:8) “from on high” (Luke 24:49). It is in the power of the omnipotent Savior that the believer must find his strength for life and for work.
It was also this way with the disciples. During ten days they worshiped and waited at the footstool of His throne. They gave expression to their faith in Him as their Savior, to their adoration of Him as their Lord, to their love to Him as their Friend, to their devotion and readiness to work for Him as their Master. Jesus Christ was the one object of thought, of love, of delight. In such worship of faith and devotion their souls grew up into intense communion with Him upon the throne, and when they were prepared, the baptism of power came. It was power within and power around.
The power came to qualify for the work which they had yielded themselves to...the work of testifying by life and word to their unseen Lord. Some the chief testimony was to be that of a holy life, revealing the heaven and the Christ from whom it came. The power came to set up the kingdom within them, to give them the victory over sin and self, to fit them by living experience to testify to the power of Jesus on the throne, to make men live in the world as saints. Others were to give themselves up entirely to speaking in the name of Jesus. But all needed and all received the gift of power, to prove that now Jesus had received the kingdom of the Father, all power in heaven and earth was indeed given to Him, and by Him imparted to His people just as they needed it, whether for a holy life or effective service. They received the gift of power, to prove to the world that the kingdom of God, to which they professed to belong, was not in word, but in power. By having power within, they had power without and around. The power of God was felt even by those who would not yield themselves to it (see Acts 2:43; 4:13; 5:13).
And what Jesus was to these first disciples, He is to us too. Our whole life and calling as disciples find their origin and their guarantee in the words: "All power is given to me in heaven and on earth." What He does in and through us, He does with almighty power. What He claims or demands, He works Himself by that same power. All He gives, He gives with power. Every blessing He bestows, every promise He fulfills, every grace He works — all, all is to be with power. Everything that comes from this Jesus on the throne of power is to bear the stamp of power. The weakest believer may be confident that in asking to be kept from sin, to grow in holiness, to bring forth much fruit, he may count upon these his petitions being fulfilled with Divine power. The power is in Jesus. Jesus is ours with all His fullness. It is in us His members that the power is to work and be made manifest.
And if we want to know how the power is bestowed, the answer is simple...Christ gives His power in us by giving His life in us. He does not, as so many believers imagine, take the feeble life He finds in them, and imparts a little strength to aid them in their feeble efforts. is in giving His own life in us that He gives us His power. The Holy Spirit came down to the disciples directly from the heart of their exalted Lord, bringing down into them the glorious life of heaven into which He had entered. And so His people are still taught to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. When He strengthens them, it is not by taking away the sense of feebleness, and giving in its place the feeling of strength. By no means. But in a very wonderful way leaving and even increasing the sense of utter impotence, He gives them along with it the consciousness of strength in Him. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:7). The weakness and the strength are side by side. As the one grows, the other too, until they understand the saying, "When I am weak, then am I strong; I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me."
The believing disciple learns to look upon Christ on the throne, Christ the Omnipotent, as his life. He studies that life in its infinite perfection and purity, in its strength and glory. It is the eternal life dwelling in a glorified man. And when he thinks of his own inner life, and longs for holiness, to live well-pleasing unto God, or for power to do the Father's work, he looks up, and, rejoicing that Christ is his life, he confidently reckons that that life will work mightily in him all that he needs. In things little and great things, in being kept from sin from moment to moment for which he has learned to look, or in the struggle with some special difficulty or temptation, the power of Christ is the measure of his expectation. He lives a most joyful and blessed life, not because he is no longer feeble, but because, being utterly helpless, he consents and expects to have the mighty Savior work in him.
The lessons these thoughts teach us for practical life are simple, but very precious. The first is, that all our strength is in Christ, laid up and waiting for use. It is there as an Almighty life, which is in Him for us, ready to flow in according to the measure in which it finds the channels open. But whether its flow is strong or feeble, whatever our experience is of it, there it is in Christ: All power in heaven and earth. Let us take time to study this. Let us get our minds filled with the thought: That Jesus may be to us a perfect Savior...the Father gave Him all power. That is the qualification that fits Him for our needs: All the power of heaven over all the powers of earth, over every power of earth in our heart and life too.
The second lesson is this...This power flows into us as we abide in close union with Him. When the union is weak, little valued or little cultivated, the inflow of strength will be weak. When the union with Christ is rejoiced in as our highest good, and everything sacrificed for the sake of maintaining it, the power will work... "His strength will be made perfect in our weakness." Our one care must therefore be to abide in Christ as our strength. Our one duty is to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Let our faith cultivate large and clear comprehension of the exceeding greatness of God's power in those who believe, even that power of the risen and exalted Christ by which He triumphed over every enemy (Eph. 1:19-21). Let our faith consent to God's wonderful and most blessed arrangement...nothing but feebleness in us as our own, all the power in Christ, and yet within our reach as surely as if it were in us. Let our faith daily go out of self and its life into the life of Christ, placing our whole being at His disposal for Him to work in us. Let our faith, above all, confidently rejoice in the assurance that He will in very deed, with His almighty power, perfect His work in us. As we thus abide in Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of His power, will work mightily in us, and we too shall sing, "The Lord is my strength and song” (Ex. 15:2). “In the Lord I have righteousness and strength” (Isa. 45:24). "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

Friday, March 29, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 27 - That You May Not Sin

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 27
That You May Not Sin
In Him there is no sin...Whoever abides in Him does not sin.” (1 John 3:5,6)
The apostle had said, "You know that He was manifested to take away our sin," and had thus indicated that salvation from sin is the great object for which the Son was made to be a man. The connection shows clearly that the taking away of sin has reference not only to the atonement and freedom from guilt, but to deliverance from the power of sin, so that the believer no longer does it. It is Christ's personal holiness that constitutes His power to effect that purpose. He admits sinners into life union with Himself. The result is, that their life becomes like His. “In Him there is no sin...Whoever abides in Him does not sin." As long as he abides, and as far as he abides, the believer does not sin. Our holiness of life has its root in the personal holiness of Jesus. "If the root is holy, so also are the branches." (Rom. 11:16)
The question arises at once: How is this consistent with what the Bible teaches about the abiding corruption of our human nature, or with what John himself tells us of the utter falsehood of our saying that we have no sin. In 1 John 1:8, he writes, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” and in 1 John 1:10 he writes “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His truth is not in us.” It is just these passages which, if we look carefully at them, will teach us to understand our text rightly . Note the difference in the two statements, "If we say that we have no sin” (verse 8), and "If we say that we have not sinned” (verse 10). The two expressions cannot be equivalent; the second would then be an unmeaning repetition of the first. Having sin in verse 8 is not the same as doing sin in verse 10. Having sin is having a sinful nature. The holiest believer must each moment confess that he has sin within him — the flesh, namely, in which dwells no good thing. Sinning or doing sin is something very different: it is yielding to the indwelling sinful nature, and falling into actual transgression. And so we have two admissions that every true believer must make. The one is that he has still sin within him (verse 8); the second, that that sin has in former times broken out into sinful actions (verse 10). No believer can say either, "I have no sin in me," or, "I have in times past never sinned." If we say we have no sin at present, or that we have not sinned in the past, we deceive ourselves. But though we have sin in the present, this does not mean that we are doing sin in the present, too. The confession of actual sinning refers to the past. It may (as appears from 1 John 2:2) be in the present also, but is expected not to be. And so we see how the deepest confession of sin in the past (for example, of Paul's confession of having been a persecutor of the church), and the deepest consciousness of still having a vile and corrupt nature in the present, may consist with humble but joyful praise to Him who keeps from stumbling.

But how is it possible that a believer, having sin in him — sin of such intense vitality, and such terrible power as we know the flesh to have — that a believer having sin should yet not be doing sin? The answer is: "In Him there is no sin...Whoever abides in Him does not sin." When the abiding in Christ becomes close and unbroken, so that the soul lives from moment to moment in the perfect union with the Lord its keeper, He does indeed keep down the power of the old nature, so that it does not regain dominion over the soul. We have seen that there are degrees to abiding. With most Christians the abiding is so feeble and intermittent, that sin continually obtains the ascendancy, and brings the soul into subjection. The Divine promise given to faith is: "Sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14). But with the promise is the command: "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body” (Romans 6:12). The believer who claims the promise in full faith has the power to obey the command, and sin is kept from asserting its supremacy. Ignorance of the promise, or unbelief, or unwatchfulness, opens the door for sin to reign. And so the life of many believers is a course of continual stumbling and sinning. But when the believer seeks full admission into, and a permanent abode in Jesus, the Sinless One, then the life of Christ keeps from actual transgression. "In Him there is no sin...Whoever abides in Him does not sin." Jesus does indeed save him from his sin — not by the removal of his sinful nature, but by keeping him from yielding to it.
I have read of a young lion whom nothing could awe or keep down but the eye of his keeper. With the keeper you could come near him and he would crouch, his savage nature all unchanged, and thirsting for blood — trembling at the keeper's feet. You might put your foot on his neck, as long as the keeper was with you. To approach him without the keeper would be instant death. And so it is that the believer can have sin and yet not do sin. The evil nature, the flesh, is unchanged in its enmity against God, but the abiding presence of Jesus keeps it down. In faith the believer entrusts himself to the keeping, to the indwelling, of the Son of God. He abides in Him, and counts on Jesus to abide in Him too. The union and fellowship is the secret of a holy life: “In Him there is no sin...Whoever abides in Him does not sin.”
And now another question arises: “If we admit that the complete abiding in the Sinless One will keep from sinning, is such abiding possible?” May we hope to be able to so abide in Christ, say, even for one day, that we may be kept from actual transgressions? The question has only to be stated fairly and then considered — it will suggest its own answer. When Christ commanded us to abide in Him, and promised us such rich fruit-bearing to the glory of the Father, and such mighty power in our intercessions, can He have meant anything but the healthy, vigorous, complete union of the branch with the vine? When He promised that as we abide in Him He would abide in us, could He mean anything but that His dwelling in us would be a reality of Divine power and love? Is not this way of saving from sin just that which will glorify Him? It is keeping us daily humble and helpless in the consciousness of the evil nature, watchful and active in the knowledge of its terrible power, dependent and trustful in the remembrance that only His presence can keep the lion down. O let us believe that when Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I in you," He did indeed mean that, while we were not to be freed from the world and its tribulation, from the sinful nature and its temptations, we were at least to have this blessing fully secured to us — grace to abide wholly, only, ever in our Lord. The abiding in Jesus makes it possible to keep from actual sinning; and Jesus Himself makes it possible to abide in Him.
Beloved Christian! I do not wonder if the promise of the text appears almost too high. Do not, I pray, let your attention be diverted by the question as to whether it would be possible to be kept from sin for your whole life, or for so many years. Faith always has only to deal with the present moment. Ask this: “Can Jesus at the present moment, as I abide in Him, keep me from those actual transgressions which have been the stain and the weariness of my daily life?” You can only say, “Surely He can.” Take Him then at this present moment and say, "Jesus keeps me now, Jesus saves me now." Yield yourself to Him in the earnest and believing prayer to be kept abiding, by His own abiding in you and go into the next moment, and the succeeding hours, with this trust continually renewed.
As often as the opportunity occurs in the moments between your occupations, renew your faith in an act of devotion. “Jesus keeps me now. Jesus saves me now.” Let failure and sin, instead of discouraging you, only urge you still more to seek your safety in abiding in the Sinless One. Abiding is a grace in which you can grow wonderfully, if you will only make at once the complete surrender, and then persevere with ever larger expectations. Regard it as His work to keep you abiding in Him, and His work to keep you from sinning. It is indeed your work to abide in Him, but it is that only because it is His work as Vine to bear and hold the branch. Gaze upon His holy human nature as that which He prepared for you to be partaker of with Himself. and you will see that there is something even higher and better than being kept from sin. That is only the restraining from evil. There is the positive and larger blessing of being made now a vessel purified and cleansed, of being filled with His fullness, and made the channel of showing forth His power, His blessing and His glory.
Is Daily Sinning An Inevitable Necessity?
"Why is it that, when we possess a Saviour whose love and power are infinite, we are so often filled with fear and despondency? We are wearied and faint in our minds, because we do not look steadfastly unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who is set down at the right hand of God,—unto Him whose omnipotence embraces both heaven and earth, who is strong and mighty in His feeble saints.
"While we remember our weakness, we forget His all-sufficient power. While we acknowledge that apart from Christ we can do nothing, we do not rise to the height or depth of Christian humility: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. While we trust in the power of the death of Jesus to cancel the guilt of sin, we do not exercise a reliant and appropriating faith in the omnipotence of the living Saviour to deliver us from the bondage and power of sin in our daily life. We forget that Christ worketh in us mightily, and that, one with Him, we possess strength sufficient to overcome every temptation. We are apt either to forget our nothingness, and imagine that in our daily path we can live without sin, that the duties and trials of our every-day life can be performed and borne in our own strength; or we do not avail ourselves of the omnipotence of Jesus, who is able to subdue all things to Himself, and to keep us from the daily infirmities and falls which we are apt to imagine an inevitable necessity. If we really depended in all things and at all times on Christ, we would in all things and at all times gain the victory, through Him whose power is infinite, and who is appointed by the Father to be the Captain of our salvation. Then all our deeds would be wrought, not merely before, but in God. We would then do all things to the glory of the Father, in the all-powerful name of Jesus, who is our sanctification. Remember that unto Him all power is given in heaven and on earth, and live by the constant exercise of faith in His power. Let us most fully believe that we have and are nothing, that with man it is impossible, that in ourselves we have no life which can bring forth fruit; but that Christ is all,—that abiding in Him, and His word dwelling in us, we can bring forth fruit to the glory of the Father."—From Christ and the Church. Sermons by Adolph Saphir, p. 60.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 26 - And In Love To Fellow Believers

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 26
And In Love To Fellow Believers
This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
As the Father loved me, I also have loved you…” (John 15:9). “As I have loved also love one another" (John 13:34). God became man. Divine love began to run in the channel of a human becomes the love of man to man. The love that fills heaven and eternity is to be daily seen here in the life of earth and of time.
"This is my commandment," the Savior says, "That you love one another, as I have loved you." He sometimes spoke of commandments, but love, which is the fulfilling of the law, is the all-including one, and therefore is called His commandment — the new commandment. It is to be the great evidence of the reality of the New Covenant, of the power of the new life revealed in Jesus Christ. It is to be the one convincing and indisputable token of discipleship: "By this all will know that you are My disciples..." (John 13:35). "That they also may be one in us...that the world may believe..." (John 17:21). "That they may be made perfect in one, that the world may know that You have.. loved them, as You have loved me” (John 17:23). To the believer seeking perfect fellowship with Christ, the keeping of this commandment is both the blessed proof that he is abiding in Him and the path to a fuller and more perfect union.
Let us try to understand how this is so. We know that God is love, and that Christ came to reveal this, not as a doctrine, but as a life. His life, in its wonderful self-abasement and self-sacrifice, was, above everything, the embodiment of Divine love, the showing forth to men, in such human manifestations as they could understand, how God loves. In His love to the unworthy and the ungrateful, in His humbling Himself to walk among men as a servant, in His giving Himself up to death, He simply lived and acted out the life of the Divine love which was in the heart of God. He lived and died to show us the love of the Father.
And now, just as Christ was to show forth God's love, believers are to show forth to the world the love of Christ. They are to prove to men and to women that Christ loves them, and in loving fills them with a love that is not of earth. They, by living and by loving just as He did, are to be perpetual witnesses to the love that gave itself to die. He loved so that even the Jews cried out at Bethany at the grave of Lazarus, "Behold how He loved!" (John 11:36). Christians are to live so that men are compelled to say, "See how these Christians love one another." In their daily intercourse with each other, Christians are made a display to God, to angels, and to men; and in the Christ-likeness of their love to each other, are to prove what manner of spirit they are of. Amid all diversity of character or of creed, of language or of station, they are to prove that love has made them members of one body, and of each other, and has taught them each to forget and sacrifice self for the sake of the other. Their life of love is the chief evidence of Christianity, the proof to the world that God sent Christ, and that He has shed abroad in them the same love with which He loved Him. Of all the evidences of Christianity, this is the mightiest and the most convincing.
This love of Christ's disciples to each other occupies a central position between their love to God and to all men. It is the test of their love to God, whom they cannot see. The love to one unseen could so easily be thought of as a mere sentiment, or even as imagination. Love to God is really displayed in the loving interactions between God's children, and shows itself in deeds that the Father accepts as done to Himself. It can only be proven to be true this way. Love to fellow believers is the flower and fruit of the root, unseen in the heart, of love to God. And this fruit again becomes the seed of love to all men. In their interactions with each other is found the school in which believers are trained and strengthened to love their fellow-men, who are still outside of Christ, not simply with the liking that rests on points of agreement, but with the holy love that takes hold of the unworthiest, and bears with the most disagreeable for Jesus' sake. It is love to each other as disciples that is always put in the foreground as the link between love to God alone and to men in general.
This brotherly love finds the example for its conduct in Christ's relationship with His disciples, . As it studies His forgiveness and forbearance towards His friends, with the seventy times seven as its only measure — as it looks to His unwearied patience and His infinite humility — as it sees the meekness and lowliness with which He seeks to win for Himself a place as their servant, wholly devoted to their interests — it accepts with gladness His command, "You should do as I have done" (John 13:15). Following His example, each one of us is to live not for ourselves, but for each other. The law of kindness is on our tongues, for love has vowed that never shall one unkind word cross its lips. In following that example, we refuse not only to speak, but even to hear or to think evil. We are more jealous of the name and character of our fellow-Christian than of our own. My own good name I may leave to the Father. My Father has entrusted my brother’s good name to me. In gentleness and loving-kindness, in courtesy and generosity, in self-sacrifice and charity, in its life of blessing and of beauty, the Divine love, which has been shed abroad in the believer's heart, shines out as it shone in the life of Jesus.
Christian! What do you say of this glorious calling of yours to love like Christ? Does your heart not leap at the thought of the unspeakable privilege of showing forth the likeness of the Eternal Love in this way? Or are you rather ready to sigh at the thought of the inaccessible height of perfection to which you are thus called to climb? Fellow believer, do not sigh at what is indeed the highest token of the Father's love, that He has called us to be like Christ in our love, just as He was like the Father in His love. Understand that He who gave the command in such close connection with His teaching about the Vine and the abiding in Him, gave us, in that same teaching, the assurance that we only have to abide in Him to be able to love like Him. Accept the command as a new motive to a fuller abiding in Christ.
Regard the abiding in Him more than ever as an abiding in His love. Rooted and grounded daily in a love that passes knowledge, you receive its fullness and learn to love. With Christ abiding in you, the Holy Spirit sheds abroad the love of God in your heart, and you love the brethren, the most trying and unlovable, with a love that is not your own, but with the love of Christ in you. And the command about your love to fellow believers is changed from a burden to a joy, if you only keep it linked, as Jesus linked it, to the command about His love to you : ''Abide in my one another, as I have loved you."
'This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you." Is not this now some of the “much fruit” that Jesus has promised we shall bear? Indeed, it is like a cluster of the grapes of Canaan, with which we can prove to others that the land of promise is indeed a good land. Let us try in all simplicity and honesty to go out of our homes to translate the language of high faith and heavenly enthusiasm into the plain prose of daily conduct, so that all men can understand it.
Let our temper be under the rule of the love of Jesus. Without our consent, He cannot curb it. He alone can make us gentle and patient. Let the vow, that not an unkind word about others will ever be heard from our lips, be laid trustingly at His feet. Let the gentleness that refuses to take offence, that is always ready to excuse, to think and hope the best, mark our dealings with all. Let the love that seeks not itself, but ever is ready to wash others' feet, or even to give its life for them, be our aim as we abide in Jesus. Let our life be one of self-sacrifice, always studying the welfare of others, finding our highest joy in blessing others. And let us, in studying the Divine art of doing good, yield ourselves as obedient learners to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. By His grace, the most commonplace life can be transfigured with the brightness of a heavenly beauty, as the infinite love of the Divine nature shines out through our frail humanity. Fellow Christian, let us praise God! We are called to love as Jesus loves, as God loves.
Abide in my love, and love as I have loved.” Bless God, it is possible. The new holy nature we have and which grows ever stronger as it abides in Christ the vine, can love as He did. Every discovery of the evil of the old nature, every longing desire to obey the command of our Lord, every experience of the power and the blessedness of loving with Jesus' love, will urge us to accept with fresh faith the blessed injunctions: "Abide in me, and I in you ;" "Abide in my love,"

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 25 - That Your Joy May Be Full (Video devotional plus text)

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 25
That Your Joy May Be Full
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain (or abide) in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11)
Abiding fully in Christ is a life of exquisite and overflowing happiness. As Christ gets more complete possession of the soul, it enters into the joy of its Lord. His own joy, the joy of heaven, becomes the soul’s own joy in full measure as an everabiding portion. Just as joy on earth is everywhere connected with the vine and its fruit, so joy is an essential characteristic of the life of the believer who fully abides in Christ, the heavenly Vine.
We all know the value of joy. It alone is the proof that what we have really satisfies the heart. As long as duty, or self-interest, or other motives influence me, men cannot know what the object of my pursuit or possession is really worth to me. But when it gives me joy, and they see my delight in it, they know that to me at least it is a treasure. Therefore, there is nothing so attractive as joy, no preaching so persuasive as the sight of hearts made glad. Only this makes gladness such a mighty element in the Christian character: there is no proof of the reality of God's love and the blessing He bestows, which men so soon feel the power of, as when the joy of God overcomes all the trials of life. And for the Christian's own welfare, joy is no less indispensable. The joy of the Lord is his strength. Confidence, courage, and patience find their inspiration in joy. With a heart full of joy no work can be wearisome, and no burden can depress. God Himself is strength and song.
Let us hear what the Savior says of the joy of abiding in Him. He promises us His own joy: "My joy." As the whole parable refers to the life His disciples should have in Him when ascended to heaven, the joy is that of His resurrection life. This is clear from those other words of His: "I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy will no man take from you” (John 16:22). It was only with the resurrection and its glory that the power of the never-changing life began, and only in it that the never-ceasing joy could rise. With it was fulfilled the word: "Therefore God, Your God, hath anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (Psalm 45:7). The day of His crowning was the day of the gladness of His heart. That joy of His was the joy of a work fully and forever completed, the joy of the Father's bosom regained, and the joy of souls redeemed. These are the elements of His joy. As we abide in Him, we are made partakers with Him.
The believer shares so fully His victory and His perfect redemption, that his faith can sing the conqueror's song without ceasing: "Thanks be to God, who always leads (me) to triumph” (2 Cor. 2:14). As the fruit of this, there is the joy of the undisturbed dwelling in the light of the Father's love — there is not a cloud to intervene if the abiding is unbroken. And then, with this joy in the love of the Father, as a love received, there is the joy of the love of souls, as love going out and rejoicing over the lost. Abiding in Christ, penetrating into the very depths of His life and heart, seeking for the most perfect oneness, these three streams of His joy flow into our hearts. Whether we look backward and see the work He has done, or upward and see the reward He has in the Father's love that passes knowledge, or forward in the continual elevation of joy as sinners are brought home, His joy is ours. With our feet on Calvary, our eyes on the Father's countenance, and our hands helping sinners home, we have His joy as our own.
And then He speaks of this joy as abiding — a joy that is never to cease or to be interrupted for a moment: "That my joy may (abide) in you." "Your joy no man takes from you” (John 16:22). This is what many Christians cannot understand. Their view of the Christian life is that it is a succession of changes between joy and sorrow. And they appeal to the experiences of a man like the Apostle Paul, as a proof of how much there may be of weeping, sorrow, and suffering. They have not noticed just how Paul gives the strongest evidence of this unceasing joy. He understood the paradox of the Christian life as the combination at one and the same moment of all the bitterness of earth and all the joy of heaven. "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). These precious golden words teach us how the joy of Christ can overrule the sorrow of the world, can make us sing while we weep, and can maintain in the heart, even when cast down by disappointment or difficulties, a deep consciousness of a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. There is only one condition: "I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22). The presence of Jesus, distinctly manifested, cannot help but give joy. As we consciously abide in Him, how can our soul help but rejoice and be glad? Even when weeping for the sins and the souls of others, there is the fountain of gladness springing up in the faith of His power and love to save.
And this, His own joy abiding with us, He wants to be full. Of the full joy our Savior spoke three times on the last night. Once here in the Parable of the Vine: "These things I have spoken to you that your joy may be full;" and every deeper insight into the wonderful blessedness of being the branch of such a Vine confirms His Word. Then He connects it with our prayers being answered: "Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). To the spiritual mind, answered prayer is not only a means of obtaining certain blessings, but something infinitely higher. It is a token of our fellowship with the Father and the Son in heaven, of their delight in us, and our having been admitted and having had a voice in that wonderful interchange of love in which the Father and the Son hold counsel, and decide the daily guidance of the children on earth. To a soul abiding in Christ, which longs for manifestations of His love, and which understands to take an answer to prayer for its true spiritual value, as a response from the throne to all its utterances of love and trust, the joy which it brings is truly unutterable. The word is found true: "Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full." And then the Savior says, in His high-priestly prayer to the Father, "These things I speak...that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13). It is the sight of the great High Priest entering the Father's presence for us, ever living to pray and carry on His blessed work in the power of an endless life, that removes every possible cause of fear or doubt, and gives us the assurance and experience of a perfect salvation. Let the believer who seeks, according to the teaching of John 15, to possess the full joy of abiding in Christ, and according to John 16, the full joy of prevailing prayer, press forward to the high-priestly prayer of John 17. Let him listen there to those wonderful words of intercession spoken, that his joy may be full. Let him, as he listens to those words, learn the love that even now pleads for him in heaven without ceasing, the glorious objects for which it is pleading, and which through its all-prevailing pleading are hourly being realized, and Christ's joy will be fulfilled in him.
Christ's own joy, abiding joy, fullness of joy — such is the portion of the believer who abides in Christ. Why, oh, why is it that this joy has so little power to attract? The reason is simply this: Men, yes, even God's children, do not believe in it. Instead of the abiding in Christ being looked upon as the happiest life that ever can be led, it is regarded as a life of self-denial and of sadness. They forget that the self-denial and the sadness are owing to the not abiding, and that to those who once yield themselves unreservedly to abide in Christ as a bright and blessed life, their faith comes true — the joy of the Lord is theirs. The difficulties all arise from the want of the full surrender to a full abiding.
Child of God, who seeks to abide in Christ, remember what the Lord says. At the close of the Parable of the Vine, He adds these precious words: "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may (abide) in you, and that your joy may be full." Claim the joy as part of the branch life — not the first or chief part, but as the blessed proof of the sufficiency of Christ to satisfy every need of the soul. Be happy. Cultivate gladness. If there are times when it comes by itself, and your heart feels the unutterable joy of the Savior's presence, praise God for it, and seek to maintain it. If at other times your feelings are dull, and the experience of the joy not such as you would wish it, still praise God for the life of unutterable blessedness to which you have been redeemed. In this, too, the word holds good: "According to your faith let it be to you” (Matt. 9:29). As you claim all the other gifts in Jesus, always claim this one too — not for your own sake, but for His and the Father's glory. "My joy in you;" "that my joy may abide in you;" "my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13) — these are Jesus' own words. It is impossible to take Him wholly and heartily, and not to get His joy too. Therefore, "Rejoice in the Lord, always: and again I say, Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)

Abide In Christ - Day 24 - Obeying His Commandments (Video Devotional plus text)

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 24
Obeying His Commandments
If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love” (John 15:10).
How clearly we are taught here the place which good works are to occupy in the life of the believer! Christ as the beloved Son was in the Father's love. He kept His commandments, and so He abode in the love. So the believer, without works, receives Christ and is in Him; he keeps the commandments, and so abides in the love. When the sinner, in coming to Christ, seeks to prepare himself by works, the voice of the Gospel sounds, "Not of works." When once in Christ, lest the flesh should abuse the word, "Not of works," the Gospel lifts its voice as loud: "Created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Eph. 2:9). To the sinner out of Christ works may be his greatest hindrance, keeping him from the union with the Savior. To the believer in Christ, works are strength and blessing, for by them faith is made perfect (James 2:22), the union with Christ is cemented, and the soul established and more deeply rooted in the love of God. "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and My Father will love Him” (John 14:23). "If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in My love."
The connection between this keeping the commandments and the abiding in Christ's love is easily understood. Our union with Jesus Christ is not a thing of the intellect or sentiment, but a real vital union in heart and life. The holy life of Jesus, with His feelings and disposition, is breathed into us by the Holy Spirit. The believer's calling is to think and feel and will just what Jesus thought and felt and willed. He desires to be partaker not only of the grace, but also of the holiness of His Lord. He sees that holiness is the chief beauty of grace. To live the life of Christ means to the believer to be delivered from the life of self; the will of Christ is to him the only path of liberty from the slavery of his own evil self-will.
To the ignorant or slothful believer there is a great difference between the promises and commands of Scripture. He counts the promises of Scripture as his comfort and his food; but to him who is really seeking to abide in Christ's love, the commands become no less precious. The commands are the revelation of the Divine love as much as the promises. They guide into the deeper experience of the Divine life and are blessed helpers in the path to a closer union with the Lord. The seeking believer sees how the harmony of our will with His will is one of the chief elements of our fellowship with Him. The will is the central faculty in the Divine as in the human being. The will of God is the power that rules the whole moral as well as the natural world. How could there be fellowship with Him without delight in His will? It is only as long as salvation is to the sinner nothing but a personal safety, that he can be careless or afraid of doing God's will. No sooner is it to him what Scripture and the Holy Spirit reveal it to be — the restoration to communion with God and conformity to Him — than he feels that there is no law more natural or more beautiful than this: Keeping Christ's commandments is the way to abide in Christ's love. His inmost soul approves when he hears the beloved Lord make the greater measure of the Spirit, with the manifestation of the Father and the Son in the believer, entirely dependent upon keeping His commandments (See John 14:15-16, 21,23).
There is another thing that opens to him a deeper insight and secures a still more cordial acceptance of this truth. It is this, that in no other way did Christ Himself abide in the Father's love. In the life which Christ led upon earth, obedience was a solemn reality. The dark and awful power that led man to revolt from his God, came upon Him, too, to tempt Him. To Him as man its offers of self-gratification were not matters of indifference; to refuse them, He had to fast and pray. He suffered, being tempted. He spoke very distinctly of not seeking to do His own will, as a surrender He had continually to make. He made the keeping of the Father's commandments the distinct object of His life, and so abode in His love. Does He not tell us, "I do nothing of myself, but as the Father has taught me, I speak these things. And He who sent me is with me. The Father has not left me alone; for I always do those things that pleases Him” (John 8:28-29) He thus opened to us the only path to the blessedness of a life on earth in the love of heaven; and when, as from our vine, His Spirit flows in the branches, this keeping the commands is one of the surest and highest elements of the life He inspires.
Believer! If you would abide in Jesus, be very careful to keep His commandments. Keep them in the love of your heart. Do not be content to have them in the Bible for reference, but have them transferred by careful study, by meditation and by prayer, by a loving acceptance, by the Spirit's teaching, to the fleshy tables of the heart. Do not be content with the knowledge of some of the commandments, those most commonly received among Christians, while others lie unknown and neglected. Surely, with your New Covenant privileges, you would not be behind the Old Testament saints who spoke so fervently: "All your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right” (Psalm 119:128). Be assured that there is still much of your Lord's will that you do not yet understand. Make Paul's prayer for the Colossians yours for yourself and all believers, "that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (Col. 1:9), and that of wrestling Epaphras, "that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God" (Col. 4:12). Remember that this is one of the great elements of spiritual growth — a deeper insight into the will of God concerning you.
Do not imagine that entire consecration is the end of the truly holy life. It is only the beginning. See how Paul, after having taught believers to lay themselves upon the altar, as whole and holy burnt-offerings to their God (Rom. 12:1), at once proceeds to tell them what the true altar-life is: being ever more and more "renewed in their mind to prove what is the good and perfect and acceptable will of God” (Rom. 12:2). The progressive renewal of the Holy Spirit leads to growing like-mindedness to Christ; then comes a delicate power of spiritual perception — a holy instinct — by which the soul "quick of understanding in the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:3), knows to recognize the meaning and the application of the Lord's commands to daily life in a way that remains hidden to the ordinary Christian. Keep them dwelling richly within you, hide them within your heart, and you shall taste the blessedness of the man whose "delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Love will assimilate into your inmost being the commands as food from heaven. They will no longer come to you as a law standing outside and against you, but as the living power which has transformed your will into perfect harmony with all your Lord requires.
And keep them in the obedience of your life. Has it not been your solemn vow to no longer tolerate even a single sin? "I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep Thy righteous judgments” (Psalm 119:106 KJV). Labor earnestly in prayer to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Ask earnestly for the discovery of every secret sin — of anything that is not in perfect harmony with the will of God. Walk in the light you HAVE faithfully and tenderly, yielding yourself in an unreserved surrender to obey all that the Lord has spoken. When Israel took the vow at Sinai (Ex. 19:8; 24:7), it was only to break it all too soon. The New Covenant gives the grace to make the vow and to keep it too (Jer. 31:31-34). Be careful of disobedience even in little things. Disobedience dulls the conscience, darkens the soul, deadens our spiritual energies. Therefore keep the commandments of Christ with implicit obedience. Be a soldier that asks for nothing but the orders of the commander.
And if even for a moment the commandments appear difficult, just remember whose they are. They are the commandments of Him who loves you. They are all love, they come from His love, they lead to His love. Each new surrender to keep the commandments, each new sacrifice in keeping them, leads to deeper union with the will, the spirit, and the love of the Savior. The double recompense of reward will be yours — a fuller entrance into the mystery of His love and a fuller conformity to His own blessed life. And you will learn to prize these words among your choicest treasures: "If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love."

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 23 - As Christ In The Father (Video devotion and text)

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
As Christ In the Father
As the Father has loved me, I also have loved you... Abide in my love, even as I... abide in my Father's love” (John 15:9,10).
Christ had taught His disciples that to abide in Him was to abide in His love. The hour of His suffering was near, and He could not speak much more to them. They would doubtless have had many questions to ask as to what that abiding in Him and His love is. He anticipated and met their wishes, and gave them His own life as the best illustration of His command. As the example and rule for their abiding in His love, they had to look to His abiding in the Father's love. In the light of His union with the Father, their union with Him would become clear. His life in the Father was the law of their life in Him.
The thought is so high that we can hardly take it in, yet it is so clearly revealed, that we dare not neglect it. Do we not read in John 6:57, "As I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me, will live because of me?" And the Savior prays so distinctly, "that they may be one even as we are one: I in them, and You in me” (John 17:22). The blessed union of Christ with the Father and His life in Him is the only rule of our thoughts and expectations in regard to our living and abiding in Him.
Think first of the origin of that life of Christ in the Father. They were One — one in life and one in love. In this His abiding in the Father had its root. Though dwelling here on earth, He knew that He was One with the Father; that the Father's life was in Him, and His love on Him. Without this knowledge, abiding in the Father and His love would have been utterly impossible. And it is only in this way that you can abide in Christ and His love. Know that you are one with Him — one in the unity of nature. By His birth He became man, and took your nature that He might be one with you. By your new birth you became one with Him, and have been made partaker of His Divine nature. The link that binds you to Him is as real and close as that which bound Him to the Father — the link of a Divine life. Your claim on Him is as sure and as always beneficial as was His claim on the Father. Your union with Him is as close.
And as it is the union of a Divine life, it is also one of an infinite love. In His life of humiliation on earth He tasted the blessedness and strength of knowing Himself to be the object of an infinite love, and of dwelling in it all the day; from His own example He invites you to learn that in this lies the secret of rest and joy. You are one with Him...yield yourself now to be loved by Him. Let your eyes and heart open to the love that shines and presses in on you on every side. Abide in His love.
Think then too of the mode of that abiding in the Father and His love which is to be the law of your life. "I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love" (John 15:10). His was a life of subjection and dependence, and yet most blessed. To our proud self-seeking nature the thought of dependence and subjection suggests the idea of humiliation and servitude; in the life of love which the Son of God lived, and to which He invites us, they are the secret of blessedness. The Son is not afraid of losing anything by giving up all to the Father, for He knows that the Father loves Him, and can have no interest apart from that of the beloved Son. The Son knows that as completely as He is dependent on the Father, so completely does the Father communicate all He possesses to the Son.. Therefore when He had said, "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do" (John 5:19), He adds at once, "Whatever (the Father) does, the Son also does in like manner, for the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does" (John 5:19,20).
The believer who studies this life of Christ as the pattern and the promise of what his life may be, learns to understand how the "Without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), is only the forerunner of "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). We learn to glory in infirmities, to take pleasure in necessities and distresses for Christ's sake; for "when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). We rise above the ordinary tone in which so many Christians speak of their weakness, while they are content to abide there, because we have learned from Christ that in the life of Divine love the emptying of self and the sacrifice of our will is the surest way to have all we can wish or desire. Dependence, subjection, and self-sacrifice are for the Christian as for Christ the blessed path of life. As Christ lived through and in the Father, even so the believer lives through and in Christ.
Think of the glory of this life of Christ in the Father's love. Because He gave Himself wholly to the Father's will and glory, the Father crowned Him with glory and honor. He acknowledged Him as His only representative. He made Him partaker of His power and authority. He exalted Him to share His throne as God. And even so will it be with him who abides in Christ's love. If Christ finds us willing to trust ourselves and our interests to His love, if in that trust we give up all care for our own will and honor, if we make it our glory to exercise and confess absolute dependence on Him in all things, if we are content to have no life but in Him, He will do for us what the Father did for Him. He will lay His glory on us. As the name of our Lord Jesus is glorified in us, we are glorified in Him (2 Thess. 1:12). He acknowledges us as His true and worthy representatives. He entrusts us with His power. He admits us to His counsels, as He allows our intercession to influence His rule of His Church and the world. He makes us the vehicles of His authority and His influence over men. His Spirit knows no other dwelling than us and seeks no other instruments for His Divine work. Blessed life of love for the soul who abides in Christ's love, even as He abides in the Father's love!
Believer! abide in the love of Christ. Take and study His relation to the Father as a pledge of what your own can become. As blessed, as mighty, as glorious as His life was in the Father, yours can be in Him. Let this truth, accepted under the teaching of the Spirit in faith, remove every vestige of fear, as if abiding in Christ were a burden and a work. In the light of His life in the Father, let it from now on be to you a blessed rest in the union with Him, an overflowing fountain of joy and strength. To abide in His love, His mighty, saving, keeping, satisfying love, even as He abode in the Father's love - surely the very greatness of our calling teaches us that it never can be a work we have to perform. It must be with us like it is with Him, the result of the spontaneous outflowing of an inward life, and the mighty inworking of the love from above. What we only need is this: to take time to study the Divine image of this life of love set before us in Christ. We need to have our souls still unto God, gazing upon that life of Christ in the Father until the light from heaven falls on it, and we hear the living voice of our Beloved whispering gently to us personally the teaching He gave to the disciples. Soul, be still and listen. Let every thought be hushed until the word has entered your heart too: "Child! I love you, even as the Father loved me. Abide in my love, even as I abide in the Father's love. Your life on earth in me is to be the perfect counterpart of mine in the Father."
And if the thought will sometimes come: “Surely this is too high for us. Can it be really true?”, only remember that the greatness of the privilege is justified by the greatness of the object He has in view. Christ was the revelation of the Father on earth. He could not be this if there were not the most perfect unity, the most complete communication of all the Father had to the Son. He could be it because the Father loved Him, and He abode in that love. Believers are the revelation of Christ on earth. They cannot be this unless there is perfect unity, so that the world can know that He loves them and has sent them. But they can be it if Christ loves them with the infinite love that gives itself and all it has, and if they abide in that love.
Lord, show us Your love. Make us with all the saints to know the love that passes knowledge. Lord, show us in your own blessed life what it is to abide in your love. And the sight will so win us, that it will be impossible for us, even for one single hour, to seek any other life than the life of abiding in Your love.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 22 - And In His Love (Video Devotional plus text)

Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 22
And In His Love
As the Father loved me, I also have loved you: abide in my love.—John 15:9
Blessed Lord, enlighten our eyes to see aright the glory of this wonderful word. Open to our meditation the secret chamber of Your Love, that our souls may enter in, and find their everlasting dwelling place. How else will we know anything of a love that passes knowledge?
Before the Savior speaks the word that invites us to abide in His love, He first tells us what that love is. What He says of it must give force to His invitation, and make the thought of not accepting it an impossibility: "As the Father loved me, I also have loved you!"
"As the Father has loved me..." How will we be able to form right conceptions of this love? Lord, teach us. God is love. Love is His very being. Love is not an attribute, but the very essence of His nature, the center around which all His glorious attributes gather. It was because He was love that He was the Father, and that there was a Son. Love needs an object to whom it can give itself away, in whom it can lose itself, with whom it can make itself one. Because God is love, there must be a Father and a Son. The love of the Father to the Son is that Divine passion with which He delights in the Son, and speaks, "My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The Divine love is as a burning fire; in all its intensity and infinity it has only one object and only one joy, and that is the only begotten Son. When we gather together all the attributes of God — His infinity, His perfection, His immensity, His majesty, His omnipotence — and consider them just as the rays of the glory of His love, we still fail in forming any conception of what that love must be. It is a love that passes knowledge.
And yet this love of God to His Son must serve, O my soul, as the mirror in which you are to learn how Jesus loves you. As one of His redeemed ones, you are His delight, and all His desire is to you, with the longing of a love which is stronger than death, and which many waters cannot quench. His heart yearns after you, seeking your fellowship and your love. He would die again to possess you if it were needed. As the Father loved the Son, and could not live without Him, could not be God the blessed without Him —so Jesus loves you. His life is bound up in yours. You are to Him inexpressibly more indispensable and precious than you can ever know. You are one with Himself. "As the Father loved me, so I have loved you." What a love!
It is an eternal love. From before the foundation of the world — God's Word teaches us this — the purpose had been formed that Christ should be the Head of His Church, that He should have a body in which His glory could be set forth. In that eternity He loved and longed for those who had been given Him by the Father; and when He came and told His disciples that He loved them, it was indeed not with a love of earth and of time, but with the love of eternity. And it is with that same infinite love that His eye still rests upon each of us here seeking to abide in Him, and in each breathing of that love there is indeed the power of eternity. "I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jer. 31:3).
It is a perfect love. It gives all, and holds nothing back. "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand” (John 3:35). And in the same way, Jesus loves His own. All He has is theirs. When it was needed, He sacrificed His throne and crown for you. He did not count His own life and blood too dear to give for you. His righteousness, His Spirit, and His glory all are yours. This love holds nothing...nothing back, but, in a manner which no human mind can fathom, makes you one with itself. O wondrous love! To love us even as the Father loved Him, and to offer us this love as our everyday dwelling.
It is a gentle and most tender love. As we think of the love of the Father to the Son, we see in the Son everything so infinitely worthy of that love. When we think of Christ's love to us, there is nothing but sin and unworthiness to meet the eye. And the question comes, How can that love within the bosom of the Divine life and its perfections be compared to the love that rests upon sinners? Can it indeed be the same love? Blessed be God, we know that it is. The nature of love is always one, however different the objects. Christ knows of no other law of love but that with which His Father loved Him. Our wretchedness only serves to call out more distinctly the beauty of love, such as could not be seen even in Heaven. With the tenderest compassion He bows to our weakness, with patience inconceivable He bears with our slowness, with the gentlest lovingkindness He meets our fears and our follies. It is the love of the Father to the Son, beautiful, glorified, in its condescension, in its exquisite adaptation to our needs.
And it is an unchangeable love. "Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you” (Isa. 54:10). The promise with which it begins its work in the soul is this: "I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you” (Gen. 28:15). And just as our wretchedness was what first drew that love to us, so the sin, with which it is so often grieved, and which may well cause us to fear and doubt, is only a new motive for it to hold to us all the more. And why? We can give no reason but this: "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you."
And now, does not this love suggest the motive, the measure, and the means of that surrender by which we yield ourselves wholly to abide in Him.
This love surely supplies a motive. Only look and see how this love stands and pleads and prays. Gaze, O gaze on the Divine form, the eternal glory, the heavenly beauty, the tender pleading gentleness of the crucified love, as it stretches out its pierced hands and says, "Oh, will you not abide with me? Will you not come and abide in me?" It points you up to the eternity of love from where it came to seek you. It points you to the Cross, and all it has borne to prove the reality of its affection, and to win you for itself. It reminds you of all it has promised to do for you, if you will only throw yourself unreservedly into its arms. This love of God asks you whether, so far as you have come to dwell with it and taste its blessedness, it has not done well by you. And with a Divine authority, mingled with such an inexpressible tenderness that one might almost think he heard the tone of reproach in it, it says, "Soul, as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you: abide in my love." Surely there can be only one answer to such pleading: Lord Jesus Christ! here I am. From now on, your love will be the only home of my soul: in Your love alone will I abide.
That love is not only the motive, but also the measure, of our surrender to abide in it. Love gives all, but asks all. It does so, not because it grudges us anything, but because without this it cannot get possession of us to fill us with itself. In the love of the Father and the Son, it was so. In the love of Jesus to us, it was so. In our entering into His love to abide there, it must be so too. Our surrender to it must have no other measure than its surrender to us. Oh, that we understood how the love that calls us has infinite riches and fullness of joy for us, and that what we give up for its sake will be rewarded a hundredfold in this life! Or rather, if we understood that it is a Love with a height and a depth and a length and a breadth that passes knowledge! How all thought of sacrifice or surrender would pass away, and our souls would be filled with wonder at the unspeakable privilege of being loved with such a love, of being allowed to come and abide in it forever!
And if doubt again suggest the question: “But is it possible, can I always abide in His love?”, then listen how that love itself supplies the only means for the abiding in Him. It is faith in that love which will enable us to abide in it. If this love is indeed so Divine, such an intense and burning passion, then surely I can depend on it to keep me and to hold me fast. Then surely all my unworthiness and feebleness can be no hindrance. If this love is indeed so Divine, with infinite power at its command, I surely have a right to trust that it is stronger than my weakness...and that with its almighty arm it will clasp me to its bosom, and suffer me to go out no more. I see how this is the one thing my God requires of me. Treating me as a reasonable being, endowed with the wondrous power of willing and choosing, He cannot force all this blessedness on me, but waits till I give the willing consent of the heart. In His great kindness, He has ordered the token of His consent to be faith — that faith by which utter sinfulness casts itself into the arms of love to be saved and utter weakness to be kept and made strong. O Infinite Love! Love with which the Father loved the Son! Love with which the Son loves us! I can trust You. I do trust You. O keep me abiding in You.

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