Like Christ by Andrew Murray–Book Review

In one of those frequent “godcidences” I picked up this book to use as a daily devotional. After perusing it a bit, I realized that the theme is union with Christ — exactly what our Bible study class has been learning about recently.

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa.  He spent 60 years in ministry, writing more than 200 books and tracts on Christian spirituality and ministry, doing extensive social work, and founding of educational institutions. In this book, he says he has two purposes:

  1. To draw a portrait of Jesus, showing how He was the exact pattern that God desires us as Christians, to imitate
  2. To help Christians to meditate on the image of Christ and allow that image to live in us, so that it is reflected in our own lives

Through thirty-one short readings, he discusses the different ways we can and should follow the example of Jesus. At the end there is an essay for pastors, “On Preaching Christ Our Example.” His contention is that we focus on the truth of Christ’s atoning death but neglect the power that this gives us to live a redeemed life. For Murray, the two things are inseparable.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. Union with Christ is a topic that’s difficult (at least or me) to grasp. Murray’s work will help you understand how to practice this challenging theological doctrine in daily life.

Note: You can purchase it as a Kindle book for Amazon for only $2.99

For more book reviews on devotionals see:

90 Days with The God Who speaks –Book Review

Women of Courage: a Forty-Day Devotional — Book Review

Big and Little Coloring Devotional – Book Review

Andrew Murray on Unity in Christ

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one. …. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me, I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.” John 17:11;21b-23 This is from what is called the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus for his followers

“How many believers do not even desire to be one even as the Father and Son are one! They are so accustomed to a life of selfishness and imperfect love that they do not even long for such perfect love. They put off that union until they meet in heaven. And yet, the Lord was thinking of life on earth when He twice said, ‘That the world may know.'”

Andrew Murray, Like Christ

For more about unity in the church see:

John Stott on the Christian Community

Unity in the Spirit

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Creating Community

Waiting For God

I found this quote by Andrew Murray to be appropriate right now as we are waiting for so many things — the end of the virus, the resolution of political conflicts, and more importantly, waiting for God to speak to us as we ready ourselves to celebrate the birth of His Son.

“In praying, we are often occupied with our own needs, and our own efforts in the presentation of them.  In waiting upon God , the first thought is of the God upon whom we wait.  God longs to reveal Himself, to fill us with Himself.  Waiting on God gives Him time in His own way and divine power to come to us.  Before you pray, bow quietly before God, to remember and realize who He is, how near He is, how certainly He can and will help.  Be still before Him, and allow His Holy Spirit to waken and stir up in your soul the child-like disposition of absolute dependence and confident expectation.  Wait on God till you know you have met Him;  prayer will then become so different.  And when you are praying, let there be intervals of silence, reverent stillness of soul, in which you yield yourself to God, in case He may have aught He wishes to teach you or work in you.”

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (9 May 1828 – 18 January 1917) was a South African writer, teacher and Christian pastor.

For more on the topic of waiting see these posts:

Worth Waiting For

Weak and Waiting

Patiently Waiting?

 

Make My Joy Complete

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, he is addressing people he knows and loves.  He urges them to “make my joy complete” by being of one accord, living in self- sacrificing love and unity with one another.  It reminds me of this verse from Psalm 133:

Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!

If you are part of a church community, you know how true this is, and how disturbing disagreements can be.  My devotional reading this morning featured a quote by Andrew Murray (1828-1917), a South African writer and pastor.  It speaks to this topic.

“Let our temper be under the rule of the love of Jesus:  He can not alone curb it–He can make us gentle and patient.  Let the vow, that not an unkind word of others shall ever be heard from our lips, be laid trustingly at His feet.  Let the gentleness that refuses to take offense, that is always ready to excuse, to think and hope the best, mark our intercourse with all.  Let our life be one of self-sacrifice, always studying the welfare of others, finding our highest joy in blessing others.  And let us, in studying the Divine art of doing good, yield ourselves as obedient learners to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  By His grace, the most common-place life can be transfigured with the brightness of a heavenly beauty, as the infinite love of the Divine nature shines out of our humanity.”

Let’s all make it our prayer today, that the fruit of the Spirit will be displayed in our lives, and in the life of our Christian communities.

For more on the fruit of the Spirit see these posts:

Mmm . . . Fruit.

Let the Fruit of the Spirit Flow

A Fruit We All Need — Self Control

Christ’s Ambassadors

(“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”  John 17:26

This is part of what is called the high priestly prayer of Jesus, and he is speaking to His father.  Jesus says that the disciples (and eventually the church and therefore each of us) have been entrusted with His mission, the same mission given to Him by God the Father.  That mission is to make God’s love known to men and reconcile them to Him.

The apostle Paul tells the Corinthian Christians:

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5: 20

What a responsibility!  When Jesus ascended into Heaven, He entrusted His mission to us.  An ambassador represents the person or country from whom he is sent.  So I have to ask myself every day, “How well does my life represent Jesus?”

Here’s how Andrew Murray(a South African writer, teacher and pastor) describes the situation in his book, “Like Christ”:

“Believer!  whoever you are, and where ever you dwell, the Lord, who knows you and your surroundings has need of you, and has chosen you to be his representative in the circle in which you move.  Fix your heart on this.  He has fixed His heart on you and saved you, in order that you should bear and exhibit to those who surround you the very image of His unseen glory.  Oh, think of the origin of your Heavenly mission in His everlasting love, as His had its origin in the love of the Father.  Your mission is, in very truth, just like His.”

Is your heart fixed on the mission Jesus gave you? What will you do today to make Jesus better known and better loved? Are you ready to be His ambassador?