GROWING IN GRACE STUDIES
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BOOK: The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray
3. THE CAUSE OF THIS DISCREPANCY BETWEEN GOD’S GIFTS,
AND OUR LOW EXPERIENCE.
The believer is complaining that God has never given him a kid. Or, God has given him some blessing, but has never given the full blessing. He has never filled him with His Spirit. “I never,” he says, “had my heart, as a fountain, giving forth the rivers of living water promised in John vii. 38.” What is the cause? The elder son thought he was serving his father faithfully “these many years” in his father’s house, but it was in the spirit of bondage and not in the spirit of a child, so that his unbelief blinded him to the conception of a father’s love and kindness, and he was unable all the time to see that his father was ready, not only to give him a kid, but a hundred, or a thousand kids, if he would have them. He was simply living in unbelief, in ignorance, in blindness, robbing himself of the privileges that the father had for him. So, if there be a discrepancy between our life and the fulfilment and enjoyment of all God’s promises, the fault is ours. If our experience be not what God wants it to be, it is because of our unbelief in the love of God, in the power of God, and in the reality of God’s promises.
God’s word teaches us, in the story of the Israelites, that it was unbelief on their part that was the cause of their troubles, and not any limitation or restriction on God’s part. As Psalm 78th says:–“He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.” Yet they sinned by doubting His power to provide meat for them–“They spake against God; they said, can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” (vs. 15-19). Later on, we read in v. 41, “They turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” They kept distrusting Him from time to time. When they got to Kadesh-Barnea, and God told them to enter the land flowing with milk and honey where there would be rest, abundance, and victory, only two men said, “Yes;” we can take possession, for God can make us conquer.” But the ten spies, and the six hundred thousand men answered, “No; we can never take the land; the enemies are too strong for us.” It was simply unbelief that kept them out of the land of promise.
If there is to be any deepening of the spiritual life in us, we must come to the discovery, and the acknowledgment of the unbelief there is in our hearts. God grant that we may get this spiritual quickening, and that we may come to see that it is by our unbelief that we have prevented God from doing His work in us. Unbelief is the mother of disobedience, and of all my sins and short comings–my temper, my pride, my unlovingness, my worldliness, my sins of every kind. Though these differ in nature and form, yet they all come from the one root, viz, that we do not believe in the freedom and fullness of the Divine gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and strengthen us, and fill us with the life and grace of God all the day long. Look, I pray you, at that elder son, and ask what was the cause of that terrible difference between the heart of the father and the experience of the son. There can be no answer but that it was this sinful unbelief that utterly blinded the son to a sense of his father’s love.
Dear fellow believer, I want to say to you, that, if you are not living in the joy of God’s salvation, the entire cause is your unbelief. You do not believe in the mighty power of God, and that He is willing by His Holy Spirit to work a thorough change in your life, and enable you to live in fullness of consecration to Him. God is willing that you should so live; but you do not believe it. If men really believed in the infinite love of God, what a change it would bring about! What is love? It is a desire to communicate oneself for the good of the object loved–the opposite to selfishness; as we read in 1 Cor. xiii. “Love seeketh not her own.” Thus the mother is willing to sacrifice herself for the good of her child. So God in His love is ever willing to impart blessing; and He is omnipotent in His love. This is true, my friends; God is omnipotent in love, and He is doing His utmost to fill every heart in this house. “But if God is really anxious to do that, and if He is Almighty, why does He not do it now?” You must remember, that God has given you a will, and by the exercise of that will, you can hinder God, and remain content, like the elder son, with the low life of unbelief. Come, now, and let us see the cause of the difference between God’s high, blessed provision for His children, and the low, sad experience of many of us in the unbelief that distrusts and grieves Him.
Next week: 4. THE WAY OF RESTORATION–HOW IS THAT TO BE BROUGHT ABOUT?