A few months ago the Lord gave us this new rule in our house. Since then Jerry and I have looked at every situation from a different perspective. The Glad Rule keeps us looking up, toward the Lord our God in all circumstances.
Instead of dwelling on the difficulties we now look at everything in light of what we have. We can see above the things that we are facing with grateful hearts. In the middle of what seems impossible to deal with we look to the one who has been with us through fifty-four years. In times of disappointment we were sometimes overwhelmed with the difficulties. Now, we are overwhelmed with God’s grace to either bring us through, or to overcome, victoriously.
His love, joy and peace are the ultimate fruits of His working through our difficult times.
Even those who are not Christians could make their own Glad Rules, but they do not have the promises and assurance that God’s children have.
“For the LORD comforts Zion;
he comforts all her waste places
and makes her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the voice of song.” Isaiah 51:3
“To grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.”
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Thank you Father for your omnipotence, your omniscience and your omnipresence; for proving your care for us as your children. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
In Christ, we, as God’s children, have an inheritance, imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us. (1 Peter 1:4) We learn of this inheritance in His last will and testament. In Christ, His death and resurrection, He has secured His own inheritance for us. (Hebrews 9:15) A child does not work for a parent’s blessing. It is the legacy given from one generation to the next.
Through us God gives physical life, but we cannot give the blessing of eternal life to our children; so how can we leave this legacy to them? It must be by example and sample. We can only leave the imprint of what we have learned and point them to the will that is recorded in God’s Word for all His children.
Footprints and Handprints We leave footprints wherever we go. Children and other people see these. We can lead them to where Christ is in His Word, in His worship, in His service. We leave handprints on what we touch, in how we touch others, holding forth the word of life; touching them with our hands and arms gently and lovingly in their times of need.
Heartprints The greatest and most lasting impression is the heartprint. We may, in passing speak a word or leave a loving touch; this is but a sample. But the time spent with our children gives them assurance of who we are as God’s children, and the inheritance that we have in Christ. The example we set before them in a lifetime is proof of the work of God in our hearts. The light that is shined into our hearts shines through us revealing who God is and who we are. This is the work of God’s heart in and through ours that proves that we are His. This heartprint is left in different ways; four of which we will mention here ~ in humility, contentment, joy, endurance.
Humility There is no pride in the legacy that is ours. We have not worked for it; nor do we deserve it. The only means of knowing and receiving this promise of inheritance in and with Christ is by His own desire; through grace, revealing and giving us a new heart through which He pours into us His own love for us. Recently in reading Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, The Meek and Lowly One,I realized that the love of God would never have been known, or available to us, except through Christ’s meekness and lowliness of heart. Others will not see the love of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, except through our humble estate in Christ. We may speak and read God’s Word to our children, but they must see it in us, alive and active through humble hearts and lives.
Contentment We, who have this legacy, are content in all of this life, living in faith and trust, for the inheritance that is promised for the future. Children learn that true life is not in this world, nor the things of this world. With our seeking those things above where Christ is seated at the right heand of God; our affections set on things above, not on the things of the earththey see what the world cannot promise, nor be to them. They learn to look for life and contentment beyond the world and themselves.
Joy “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;” Philippians 4:4-5
There is no true joy apart from Christ; not in ourselves, others, or anything in this world. When Christ fills our every longing; when He is all and everything to us; when He is our life there is joy beyond what the world knows. He is the joy of our legacy. We joy in what we have; and Christ is the greatest joy in heaven and earth, for us who know of our inheritance in him.
Endurance The legacy of ours in Christ includes perseverance. Who would not endure to the end of this life, through thick and thin, that has the promise of such an inheritance waiting for us. Those who are wealthy according to the world’s standards are known by their wealth and how they spend it. Children of wealthy parents live in hope of their legacy. You know them by who they are and how they live.
Paul prayed for the early Christians that God would reveal His legacy to them, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18
God’s children know the promise that Christ spoke to His disciples.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.(Luke 12:32) There is enough of His kingdom and His glory to share with all His children. In response to His will we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.
If we are to live it we must continue in faith to know Him and the legacy that is promised. We don’t dawdle away our time and assets that He gives us here. We live it, we even fight for it; and teach our children, so that they can, in God’s timing and His way, know, and with a new heart respond in faith and repentance; and receive the promise.
“As long as there is breath in our bodies, let us serve Christ; as long as we can think, as long as we can speak, as long as we can work, let us serve him, let us even serve him with our last gasp; and, if it be possible, let us try to set some work going that will glorify him when we are dead and gone. Let us scatter some seed that may spring up when we are sleeping beneath the hillock in the cemetery.” Charles Spurgeon
Dear Father, enable us to continue in faith and obedience to your will, to live and teach what you have promised us as your children. Let us live as children whose Father supplies all our needs according to your riches in glory, which is only a sample of what you have promised. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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.
Other Examples 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.