“God has called the church of Christ to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the church is living for the most part in the power of human flesh, and of will and energy and effort apart from the Spirit of God.” Murray wrote this in 1895. It is comforting, in a way, to know that this is not a new phenomenon in the church. But it is mostly disappointing to realize the malaise the church has been in for at least 128 years. As he says later: “all the feebleness in the church is owing to the refusal of the church to obey its God.”
Those of us evangelicals who have been raised with that “relationship, not religion” mindset (and a false one at that) are no less prone to what Murray calls “religious flesh.” We are just less prone to realize we’re even doing it! Especially in a time where getting more done is the spirit of the age, we can fall into the trap of thinking that simply doing for God is good and acceptable to Him. But are we doing what God commands in the power of the Spirit? It is a good question to stop and ask ourselves before we do anything, even if it’s something we’ve always done.
I must say that it’s easy to think that we are acting in God’s strength when we are actually working in our own strength. This chapter was very convicting. I want to accept God’s strength and power more and my efforts less. This chapter helped me become more aware of this problem that I have. I now have to be more aware and ask myself whether I’m moving according to the power of my flesh or in the power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, I think this is going to be a lifelong battle.