A Lesson on Humility

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Andrew Murray (1828–1917)

Though Andrew Murray has now been with the Lord 100 years, his life still shows us the closeness one can have with God. The life that he lived is contagious to the believer. Just like an infectious laugh, someone who shows the reality of God’s presence is someone the Christian wants to model after. He penned over two hundred and fifty titles, which include some of his more well-known books, Humility and Abide in Christ. Andrew Murray is a world changer.

Andrew Murray was born in South Africa in 1828, as his parents served as Dutch Reformed Church missionaries. His father was a pastor of a small church where he prayed fervently for revival in his church.

He was sent to school in Scotland and was able to see firsthand the revival and ministry of Charles Finney. His uncle, who was a pastor in Scotland, would host many of the leading evangelicals of the day. This interaction proved invaluable to Andrew as this changed his direction to enter into the ministry.

Andrew and his brother John both went to Holland, where Andrew graduated, and then returned to South Africa to oversee a small church in a frontier town. He quickly connected with his congregation, as he desired to help the families of that town both spiritually and educationally.

In 1854, he traveled to England on business and through this ordained trip met his wife, Emma, whom he proposed to after only knowing for two weeks. She declined at first but through several letters and returned trips, she said yes. They were married in 1856. They had eight children: four boys and four girls.

As his father showed the example of praying for revival, so did Andrew and it came to South Africa. At first, Andrew did not embrace it but fought against it. It was during one of his morning services that in the youth building he found 60 youths on their knees praying so loudly they could hear it in other buildings. The following week, as he led in prayer, the members started kneeling and praying their own prayers. He tried quieting down the members until an American who was visiting told him the same thing was happening in America. He was told by the American that the Spirit of God was at work and that he should do nothing to stop it.[1]

Something changed in Andrew. At first, he thought that revival would take place by and through him as a preacher of the Word of God. But after this moment he realized that in spite of him, revival was taking place. Here is where the heart of humility stems from: that God will accomplish His purpose in spite of us.

C. J. Mahaney, in his book Humility: True Greatness, defines it this way: “Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.”[2] Isn’t this true! When we realize who we are in view of who God is, it changes how we think and act. God is perfect and holy. We are not. God is all-knowing and we are far from that, very limited in knowledge. Yet despite all of that, God still loves us and that was displayed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Andrew would serve as a pastor in South Africa and a professor for D. L. Moody’s school in Massachusetts for a time. Eventually the Lord brought him back to South Africa, where he would retire from being a pastor over a church but would still write, travel, and preach. The Lord took him on January 18, 1917.

A Godly Example:

Andrew Murray had many godly examples around him but probably most important were his parents. His father as a pastor would retire every Friday evening after family time to go and have private study and prayer with the Lord. Andrew would recall that his father would retire to study and pour out his heart in tears to the Lord pleading for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in South Africa. This example and faithfulness to pray for the lost impacted Andrew’s life.

Maybe you have a godly example in your life, like how Andrew’s dad was to him. Do not take it for granted! It also serves as a reminder to me that my children see more and can be impacted more through example and faithfulness. Do I show them that my time with the Lord is important and why?

The Fire That Kept Going:

Another example that we can see in Andrew’s life was his prayer life. What was Andrew’s fuel to his ministry? It was his time in prayer with the Lord. His prayer time stoked his fire of ministry. He said, “It is a great thing to enter the inner chamber and shut the door again and meet the Father in secret. It is a greater thing to open the door again and go out in enjoyment of His presence which nothing can disturb.”[3]

We can see this through many of his titles, which centered around prayer, and the quest to have a deeper life in Christ, such as The Inner Chamber, which I highly recommend. Also, The Prayer Life, Abide in Christ, Waiting on God, With Christ in the School of Prayer, The Ministry of Intercession, and The Secret of Intercession are worthy titles of your time to read.

He truly kept God’s Word and prayer as his foundation. He said,

“Prayer and the Word have one common center—God. Prayer seeks God; the Word reveals God. In prayer, man asks God; in the Word, God answers man. In prayer, man rises into the heavenlies to dwell with God; in the Word, God comes to dwell with man. In prayer, man gives himself to God; in the Word, God gives Himself to man. Make God the one object of your desire. Then prayer and the Word will interchange and a blessed fellowship with God will take place. God will dwell in you and you in God. Seek God and live!”[4]

Andrew Murray is a world changer through his example, the words that he wrote, and what we have to this day through his Christian legacy.

[1]Murray, Andrew. Humility. PG. 7

[2] Mahaney, C. J. Humility: True Greatness. PG. 22

[3] Murray, Andrew. The Inner Chamber. PG. 19

[4] IBID. PG. 23

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