This blog post is excerpted from Absolute Surrender, by the 19th century missionary and pastor Andrew Murray. You can find more of Andrew Murray’s writings and those of many other Christian thinkers, pastors, and leaders in the Legacy of the Faith series.
Christians throughout the centuries have been wrestling with many of the experiences and issues that we face today. But they approached those questions with the biases and background of other centuries, which can help us see God and his gospel in fresh ways—what C.S. Lewis famously described as keeping “the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds.”
“What is impossible with man is possible with God.”—Luke 18:27
[This] text contains two thoughts—that in religion, in the question of salvation and of following Christ by a holy life, it is impossible for man to do it. And then alongside that is the thought—What is impossible with man is possible with God.
The two thoughts mark the two great lessons that man has to learn in the religious life. It often takes a long time to learn the first lesson, that in religion man can do nothing, that salvation is
impossible to man. And often a man learns that, and yet he does not learn the second lesson—what has been impossible to him is possible with God. Blessed is the man who learns both lessons! The learning of them marks stages in the Christian’s life.
You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work…
The cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want to work it out partly, and to let God help you. And that cannot be. You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work, and God will work gloriously.
It is this that we need if we are indeed to be workers for God. I could go through Scripture and prove to you how Moses, when he led Israel out of Egypt; how Joshua, when he brought them into the land of Canaan; how all God’s servants in the Old Testament counted upon the omnipotence of God doing impossibilities.
I can do nothing. God must and will do all.
And this God lives today, and this God is the God of every child of His. And yet some of us are wanting God to give us a little help while we do our best, instead of coming to understand what God wants, and to say, “I can do nothing. God must and will do all.”
Have you said, “In worship, in work, in sanctification, in obedience to God, I can do nothing of myself, and so my place is to worship the omnipotent God, and to believe that He will work in me every moment”?
Oh, may God teach us this! Oh, that God would by His grace show you what a God you have, and to what a God you have entrusted yourself—and omnipotent God, willing with His whole omnipotence to place Himself at the disposal of every child of His! Shall we not take the lesson of the Lord Jesus and say, “Amen; the things which are impossible with men, are possible with God”?