Anyone who knows me well knows that I get “gripped” by quotes at times. That’s the best way I know to express it: gripped. Sometimes I’m reading a book when suddenly a sentence or paragraph leaps out at me and my heart beats quicker in response to the words I’ve just read and I’m shouting inside, “YES! That’s it!” I know it may sound silly to some of you, but quotes have literally shaped my life at times as I connect so intensely with what the author is writing that I resonate with his/her words and I begin asking the Lord to change me to more closely reflect those words I’ve just read.
I found one such quote this week in one of my favorite books: “Humility” by Andrew Murray. I’ve reread it almost every year for the past 15 – 20 years. Every time I read it again I find that though I’ve made progress in this vital, Christlike characteristic of humility (which Murray defines as the opposite of pride and “the place of entire dependence on God”), I still have so far to go! That happened to me again this week: I saw some progress and growth where the Holy Spirit has worked in this area, but I also saw areas where pride and ego still keep me from looking like my Savior. How I praise Him for progress; how I seek Him for more humility.
Want to know the specific quote that leaped out at me this week? Here it is:
“Man’s chief care, his highest virtue, and his only happiness, now and through all eternity, is to present himself an empty vessel in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness.”
I read and reread those words. I stopped, grabbed my pen and journal, and began pouring out my heart to the Lord! Two thoughts especially leaped out at me:
“An empty vessel”: I cried out to Him that I would be emptied more than ever of pride and ego, selfishness and stubborness, so I could be fit for Him to fill with His love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and gentleness.
“In which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness”: I cried out to Him, “Oh, the overwhelming blessing of having God the Holy Spirit indwell the believer! Oh, the privilege of having Him live in the believer to reveal His power and goodness! Oh, the humility it brings to know that without Him I can do nothing that matters for eternity (John 15:5), but ‘with Him all things are possible'” (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27)!
I’ve been gripped anew this week by the desire to look more like my Master in this grace of humility, knowing that I’m “nothing but a vessel, a channel, through which the living God can manifest the riches of His wisdom, power and goodness.” (Murray)
May it be, Lord Jesus; may it be.