The last two chapters of Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) are extremes. From this chapter that deals with the valley, the last chapter takes us to the pinnacle. When we reach the depths of humility then we are lifted to the heights of Christ’s glory. And here is true happiness on this earth. This is not the experience for most believers. Most of us know nothing of the consecration and persecution that comes from following Christ. And we must remember that none of this is our own work. It is always the supernatural power of God working in the believer.
In this chapter, we see how Paul got where he was; from the height of his own glory, to the depths of his own weakness, and then to the glory of Christ’s sufficiency. He, like some of the Old Testament prophets and like John in his recording of Revelation, had been blessed with revelations of a higher kind than is usual for man. Paul did not record these, but they were of such that, he could have been exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations.
From His Own Glory
He was brought down so as not to glory in such visions. How? The thorn in the flesh was not described as a physical infirmity, but as the buffeting of Satan.
“Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;” 1 Corinthians 4:11
What he learned in his state of humility was how to live in response to infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distress; he knew they were all for Christ’s sake. He could glory and find pleasure in these things because he knew they were his sufferings for Christ.
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Philippians 3:10
It is in our own experiences that we will know Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings, so as to be humbled and made conformable unto His death ~ the death of self.
There are people in the New Testament that our heavenly Father has recorded for our imitation ~ especially Jesus Christ His Son, and then the apostle Paul. If we spend our time in this life researching the life of Christ, and how Paul was called and given up to follow Christ we shall see the purpose of Christ’s coming and dying for His people. We shall see the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing a person to Christ, and the devotion and obedience of faith that only He can bring about in this world.
So that this review will not be so long I ask you, the Reader, to read this chapter from the book. In this article I want to allude to other examples that reflect the truth that Murray is sharing, and to record my own impressions.
Beginning with our Lord’s own words from Matthew 5:10-12 we remember:
“Blessed (happy) are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:
for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
The name, the glory and power of God and Jesus Christ are revealed in the New Testament as relating to times of persecution because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the book of Acts when the apostles, having been beaten and commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus, they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. Acts 5:40-42
From Simon Peter’s Letter
“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;” 1 Peter 3:14
Peter reminds those believers who were being persecuted, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:12-14
As they were a part of Christ’s sufferings He was being glorified. They could be happy knowing and experiencing the spirit of glory and of God resting upon them.
They could endure the evil done to them knowing the promise that just as Christ suffered for them they could suffer for Him and also share His glory.
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” Colossians 1:24
We owe our thanks and praise to the work of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s life. His sufferings and afflictions were counted to him as for the sake of the church. As we see in Paul’s life what it meant to deny self and follow Christ, we have enough visions to lead us to humility and to follow Christ. In this is our only means of survival and true life here and for eternity.
Others are following in our footsteps. What do they see; do they see the true Christ in us? Do they see the happiness in our humility in serving Christ? Will they be led to self-denial, willing to suffer for Christ’s sake and His church, to rejoice in the Lord through any circumstance?
Gracious Father, we, in this country know nothing of the persecution that Paul and the early Christians endured. We pray for those who are suffering for Christ’s sake, that they not only endure but be filled with the power of your Spirit to rejoice in the Lord in the middle of persecution. Let their oppressors see the joy and power of Christ in them and wonder at such great salvation that you bring to your people.
Prepare us for such persecution that is sure to come in this nation. Have mercy upon us as your people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
And the Lord Said Unto Me: Scripture Tunes