Andrew Murray.

The Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church online

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in the Father.

As long as the Christian only asks what is easy
and pleasant, he will never understand that it is
expedient, really better for us, that Christ should
not be on earth. But as soon as the thoughts of
difficulty and sacrifice are set aside, in the honest
desire to become a truly God-like man, bearing the
full image of the first-born Son, and in all things
living well-pleasing to the Father, the thought of
Jesus' departure that His Spirit may now become
our very own, and we be exercised and disciplined
in the life of faith, will be welcomed with gladness
and gratitude. If to follow the leading of the
Spirit, and specially the personal friendship and
guidance of Jesus in it, be a much more difficult
and dangerous path than it would have been to
follow Him on earth, we must remember the privilege
we enjoy, the nobility we attain, the intimacy of
fellowship with God we enter into, — all these are
infinitely greater. To have the Holy Spirit of God
coming through the human nature of our Lord,
entering into our spirits, identifying Himself with
us, and becoming our very own just as He was the
Spirit of Christ Jesus on earth,— surely this is a
blessedness worth any sacrifice, for it is the beginning
of the indwelling of God Himself.


But to see that it is such a privilege and to
desire it very earnestly does not remove the diffi-
culty. And so the question comes again : tlie
intercourse of Jesus with His disciples on earth, so
condescending in its tenderness, so particular and
minute in its interest, so consciously personal in its
love, how can this be ours in the same degree now
that He is absent, and the Spirit is to be our guide ?
The first answer here is, as through the whole
Christian life, by faith. With Jesus on earth, the
disciples, when once they had believed, walked by
sight. We walk by faith. In faith we must
accept and rejoice in the word of Jesus : * It is
expedient for you that I go away.' We must take
time distinctly to believe it, to approve of it, to
rejoice that He is gone to the Father. We must
learn to thank and praise Him that He has called
us to this life in the Spirit. We must believe that
in this gift of the Spirit the presence and inter-
course of our Lord are fully secured to us most
certainly and effectually. It may indeed be in a way
we do not yet understand, because we have so little
believed and rejoiced in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
But faith must believe and praise for what it does
not yet understand ; let us believe assuredly and
joyfully that the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Himself
through Him, will teach us how the intercourse and
guidance are to be enjoyed.

Will teach us. Beware of misunderstanding
tliese words. We always connect teaching with
thouglits. We want the Spirit to suggest to us


certain conceptions of how Jesus will be with U3
and in us. And this is not what He does. The
Spirit does not dwell in the mind, but in the life.
Not in what we know, but in what we are does the
Spirit begin His work. Do not let us seek or
expect at once a clear apprehension, a new insight,
into this or any Divine truth. Knowledge, thought,
feeling, action, all this is a part of that external
religion which ihe external presence of Jesus had
also wrought in the disciples. The Spirit was now
to come, and, deeper down than all these. He was
to be the Hidden Presence of Jesus within the
depths of their personality. The Divine Life was
in a newness of power to become their life. And
the teaching of the Spirit would begin, not in word
or thought, but in Power. In the Power of a Life
working in them secretly, but with Divine energy :
in the Power of a Faith that rejoiced that Jesus
was really near, was really taking charge of the
whole life and every circumstance of it, the Spirit
would inspire them with the faith of the Indwelling
Jesus. This would be the beginning and the blessed-
ness of His teaching. They would have the Life of
Jesus within them, and they would by faith know
that it was Jesus : their faith would be at once cause
and effect of the Presence of the Lord in the Spirit.
It is by such a faith — a faith which the Spirit
breathes, which comes from His being and living
in us — that the Presence of Jesus is to be as real
and all-sufficient as when He was on earth. But
wliy then is it that believers who have the Spirit


do not experience it more consciously and fully ?
The answer is very simple : they know and honour
the Spirit who is in them so little. They have
much faith in Jesus who died, or who reigns in
heaven, but little faith in Jesus who dwells in
them by His Spirit. It is this we need : faith in
Jesus as the ful filler of the promise, 'He that
believeth in me, rivers of living water shall flow
out of him.' We must believe that the Holy Spirit
is within us as the Presence of our Lord Jesus.
And we must not only believe this with the faith
of the understanding as it seeks to persuade itself
of the truth of what Christ says. We must believe
with the heart, a heart in which the Holy Spirit
dwells. The whole gift of the Spirit, the whole
teaching of Jesus concerning the Spirit, is to
enforce the word : * The Kingdom of God is within
you.' If we would have the true faith of the heart,
let us turn inward, and very gently and humbly
yield to the Holy Spirit to do His work in us.

To receive this teaching and this faith, which
standeth in the Life and Power of the Spirit, let
us above all fear that which hinders Him most, —
the will and the wisdom of man. We are still
surrounded by a life of self, of the flesh ; in the
service of God, even in the effort to exercise faith,
it is ever putting itself forward, and putting forth
its strength. Every thought, not only every evil
thought, but every thought, however good, in which
our mind runs before the Spirit, must be brought
into captivity. Let us lay our own will and our


own wisdom captive at the feet of Jesus, and wait
in faith and holy stilhiess of soul there. The deep
consciousness will grow strong that the Spirit is
within us, and that His Divine Life is living and
growing within us. As we thus honour Him, and
give up to Him, as we bring our fleshly activity
into subjection and wait on Him, He will not put
us to shame, but do His work within us. He will
strengthen our inner life ; He will quicken our
faith ; He will reveal Jesus ; and w^e shall, step
by step, learn that the Presence and Personal
Intercourse and Guidance of Jesus are ours as
clearly and sweetly, yea, more truly and mightily,
than if He were with us on earth.^

Blessed Lord Jesus ! I do rejoice that Thou art
no longer here on earth. I do bless Thee that in
a fellowship more real, more near, more tender,
more effectual than if Thou wert still here on earth.
Thou dost manifest Thyself to Thy disciples. I do
bless Thee that Thy Holy Spirit dwells within me,
and gives me to know what that fellowship is, and
what the realness of Thy holy indwelling.

Most Holy Lord ! forgive that I have not known
Thy Spirit sooner and better, that I have not
praised and loved Thee aright for this most
wonderful uift of Thine and the Father's love.
And do teach me in the fulness of faith to believe
in Thee, from whom, day by day, the fresh anoint-
ing flows and fills the life.

1 See Note G, on tlie Name Comforter.


And hear me, Lord, when I cry to Thee on
behalf of so many of Thy redeemed ones, who do
not yet even see what it is to give up and lose the
mixed life after the flesh, to receive in its stead the
life that is in the power of the Spirit. With many
of Thy saints, I do beseech Thee, oh, grant that
the Church may be wakened to know how the one
mark of her election, the one secret of her enjoy-
ment of Thy Presence, the one power for fulfilling
her calling, is that each believer be led to know
that the Spirit dwelleth within him, and that the
abiding Presence of his Lord with him as Keeper,
and Guide, and Friend is indeed his sure portion.
Grant it, Lord, for Thy name's sake. Amen.

1. 'This, "the Comforter wilt not come if I go not," is a convincing proof
that the gift of the Spirit at and since the day of Pentecost is some-
taing TOTALLY DISTINCT from anything before that time : a new and

oftier dispensation.'— Alford.

2. The iinowledge which the disciples had of Jesus on earth was some-
thing so blessed and Diuine that they could not conceive of there being any-
thing better. They could only think with sorrow of the prospect of losing
what they /{new to be of God. There are many evangelical Christians who
must also give up the t

Online LibraryAndrew MurrayThe Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church → online text (page 7 of 27)