How do I abide in Christ? How do I live the Christian life if it's by faith and not about "doing?" What is faith? These were questions that circled around, on and on in the midst of my confusion...that is until I "met" Andrew Murray. Actually, I had read him early in my Christian walk, but that was during the time that "faith formulas" and "to do lists" and "theological systems" were more the answers to my quests than was Christ Himself (although I didn't realize it at the time).
In fact, it wasn't till the Christian life didn't work for me any more -- health breaking, those closest to me not believing me, assuming God was judging me for not "having my act together," that I discovered again, as if for the first time, my dear Andrew Murray.
Who is this saint of the past?
Andrew Murray (9 May 1828 – 18 January 1917) was a South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor. A prolific preacher as well as writer, he authored more than 240 books, pamphlets and articles. Often his books were made up of 31 short chapters, one for every day of the month. His major theme was absolute dependence on the God who does all.
I love Murray for this. In my zeal to do the Christian life "right," I had lost sight of the God of grace Who does the doing in and through me as I let Him (the surrender of faith).
So if I have to pick one "father" from among the many God has led me to, I would pick him...and here's why...God used his sweet little volumes to answer some of those gut-level, Christian life not working for me, questions.
He gave me a "definition" of faith that I could live by:
Faith is "...confessed helplessness casting itself on God and His promises..."
Murray also was responsible for what became my "motto" and my life verse (and inevitably the name of my blog):
I'm just a branch...but a beloved one!
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 ESV
Enjoy some of these quotes from Andrew Murray, my father in the faith:
Abiding in Christ
“As surely as the Husbandman made the Vine what it was to be, will He make each branch what it is to be. Our Father is our Husbandman, the Surety for our growth and fruit...
He insists upon the truth: Not of itself can the branch bear fruit; except it abide, it cannot bear fruit. “No more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
Let me learn the lesson. Abiding is to be an act of the will and the whole heart...
You are the branch.—You need be nothing more. You need not for one single moment of the day take upon you the responsibility of the Vine. You need not leave the place of entire dependence and unbounded confidence.
Abiding in Me is indispensable, for, you know it, of yourselves you can do nothing to maintain or act out the heavenly life...
It is the wholehearted surrender in everything to do His will, that gives access to a life in the abiding enjoyment of His love. Obey and abide...
The purpose is His, He will carry it out; the fruit is His, He will bring it forth; the abiding is His, He will maintain it.” ― The True Vine
Living by Faith
You know how Scripture teaches us that in all God's leadings of His people, faith has everywhere been the one condition of the manifestation of His power.
Faith is the ceasing from all nature's efforts, and all other dependence; faith is confessed helplessness casting itself upon God's promise, and claiming its fulfillment; faith is putting ourselves quietly into God's hands for Him to do the work. -- Abide in Christ
...the life of faith [is] a life in which, every moment, everything is expected from God. -- The Two Covenants
...the true nature of the branch-life; its absolute dependence, and at the same time its glorious sufficiency -- independent of all else, because dependent on Jesus. -- Abide in Christ
Relationship between Grace and "Doing" (Law)
It is impossible to speak too strongly of the need there is to know that, as wonderful and free and alone sufficient as is the grace that pardons, is the grace that sanctifies; we are just as absolutely dependent upon the latter as the former. We can do as little to the one as the other. The grace that works in us must as exclusively do all in us and through us as the grace that pardons does all for us. In the one case as the other, everything is by faith alone.
...the one difference between the Old [Covenant, Law] and the New [Covenant, Grace] is that in the latter all is to be done by God. -- The Two Covenants