Friday, September 12, 2014

A Life of Obedience by Andrew Murray

In our anti-authoritarian culture, books about radical obedience rank up there in popularity with books on male headship. I have to admit I picked up A Life of Obedience only because it was offered for free and because I love Andrew Murray.

Murray traces the theme of obedience from Genesis to Revelation. We all know that sin was introduced into the world through Adam and Eve´s disobedience. And we know that the Israelites were given constant commands to walk in God´s ways or else suffer the consequences. 

But isn't that just for the Old Testament? Don´t we now live in a state of grace, light years away from all that legalism? Murray would say no. At every single point in Jesus´ ministry He was 100 percent obedient to his Father. We are to do nothing less than follow his example. "If you love me, keep my commandments."

Lest we fall into the trap of seeing this as salvation by rule-keeping, Murray elaborates on the blessings of living in such intimate relationship with Christ that it is our joy to live unreservedly for his honor and glory. Whereas the Jews of the Old Testament did their best to follow God´s commands and kept failing, New Testament Christians were given not only Christ´s example, but Christ´s enabling presence. The Holy Spirit changes our rebellious, stony hearts into "hearts of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26) as we yield ourselves completely to God. Some traditions call this "sanctification" or "complete surrender;" Murray contends that without it, we are doomed to a life of mediocre Christianity.

I highlighted countless passages but will share just a few:

We have imagined that more study of the Word, more faith, more prayer, or more communion with God would surely be the keys [to abiding in Christ], but we have overlooked a simple truth: "He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me." So, again, obedience is the key... obedience on earth is the key to pleasing God's heart. (p. 17)

If you accustom yourself to studying the Bible without an earnest and definite purpose to obey, you will become hardened in disobedience. (p. 49)

From the very outset of the Christian life, let us avoid the fatal mistake of calling Christ "Master" but not doing what He says. (p. 58)

Beware of seeking just enough obedience to ease your conscience, and as a result to lose the desire to do and be and give God all He is worthy of. (p. 92)

A very worthwhile book!

3 comments:

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Sounds like a convicting and encouraging book!

sinistrainksteyne said...

"just enough obedience to ease your conscience" - ouch, that stings! A challenging read indeed.

Anonymous said...

I read this book a few weeks ago, and it revolutionized my spiritual life.