In this seventh chapter Andrew Murray brings us to the heart of his message, the original title of Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness. (PDF) He reminds us that humility is the fruit of holiness; the inward impression and the outward expression of holiness. He has written in previous chapters that humility is the root of the Christian life. It is both root and fruit of the working within the Christian heart; and the express truth of our relationship in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit working within us. From beginning to the end of this life it will always be Christ in us; His love, His mercy, His grace, His humility. It is in this working that we find no place for pride; either at home, in the workplace, or in our public worship.
Murray speaks to the Pharisee and the publican here, warning of the work of pride even in our worship. Without saying it we are in danger of thinking that we may be holier than others. Pride creeps in where we least expect it.
“Self find its cause of complacency in that which is just cause for thanksgiving, in the very thanksgiving which we render to God, and in the very confession that God has done it all. Pride can clothe itself in the garments of praise or of penitence.”
Praise or Love
Often wondering which is easier ~ to praise God or to love Him ~ I think the question may apply here.
It is easy to stand with others each week in public worship, joining others in singing and praise. But when the worship time is over, and praise is done, we return to our usual dispositions and conversation. Love and humility toward others outside of worship is the true testing of holiness.
“You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy
and have separated you from the peoples,
that you should be mine.”
What is Holiness?
It would be beneficial to us to take a few minutes (at least) to look at the meaning of holiness. The suffix “ness” means “a state of” or “condition.” Put this together with the meaning of “holy” (set apart; sacred, righteous) and we see that holiness is the state of being holy, set apart unto God for His righteousness to be displayed in us. When we live in the reality that this is the work of God’s Spirit for us and in us ~ not our own doing ~ we are in awesome wonder of His state of holiness into which He has brought us.
“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.”
In His own mercy He has saved us and brought us from the state of sinfulness into the state of holiness. (Colossians 1:12-13) His mercy then is coupled with humility in our hearts to live humbly and in service to God and others.
True worship then has no thought of others in it; but only our recognition and praise of His holiness and mercy to us. Together with others in worship and service we live in fellowship remembering where we were before He brought us to Himself in Christ.
Where others may be weak in their faith we seek to encourage and serve them in their relationship with Christ.
“The power of a perfect love forgets itself and finds its blessedness in blessing others — in bearing with and honoring them, however feeble they may be. The power of this love is given where the spirit of love is shed abroad in the heart, where the divine nature comes to a full birth, and where Christ, the meek and lowly Lamb of God is truly formed within.”
“Come and let us flee to Jesus and hide ourselves in Him until we are clothed with His humility. That alone is our holiness.”
Dear Father, we are so prone to the work of the flesh; to pride, even of holiness. Do your work in us to keep us close to you, that we may be ever watchful against self and our own thoughts. Keep us focused on you; our hearts centered in Christ and Christ in us; and our lives ordered according to your everlasting covenant in all things. Keep our thoughts by the power of your Spirit on that which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue and worthy of praise. Let us serve today wherever you have placed us. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
(In Note D there is a blessed suggestion for our practice in the state of humility. )
A Year for Humility ~ The Preface