Andrew Murray (1828 – 1917) was a pastor, teacher, and prolific author. Born and educated in Scotland, Andrew Murray spent the majority of his life ministering in South Africa. With a passionate heart for missions (which he considered to be the “chief end of the church”), Murray spoke and ministered around the world all the while writing more than 240 books.
The Thanksgiving of Faith
by Andrew Murray
“So walk in Him, established in your faith, abounding in thanksgiving.”
The idea which is here expressed by the apostle is, that where faith is active and growing it will always go coupled with thanksgiving; as it stands written: “Then believed they His words; they sang His praise.” As faith stirs up to thanksgiving, so it exercises a reactive influence; it in turn strengthens faith. Faith and thanksgiving belong to one another and keep one another. The more I believe, the more I shall thank; the more I thank, the more I shall believe. The lack of faith is the reason that men give thanks so little; the neglect of thanksgiving hinders and weakens faith. This is a fault to which too little attention has been paid and from which many a one suffers great loss. Let us consider it for a moment.
The reason why thanksgiving has the effect of increasing faith is manifest. Faith has its greatest power in the fact that in believing the soul wholly forgets itself, and with undivided energy looks to God and hears Him — goes out wholly to Him. This is in like manner precisely the nature of thanksgiving, that in it the soul must be entirely occupied with God, with the contemplation of His goodness, the adoration of His Godhead, the consideration of His ways, the expression of His wonders. Accordingly, the more the mind is exercised in this work, and is taken up with the thought of all this, the more shall there be fixed and rooted in it the conviction that the Lord is truly a God on whom it is its duty to rely. If thanksgiving, the express mention of His omnipotence, His love, His faithfulness, His perfection shall fill the soul, the result cannot but be that the soul shall suffer it to be concentrated on God. He that has but a single word of such a God to build upon has enough. In such thanksgiving the soul will have its desires roused, its courage strengthened, its inward devotion to Him deepened. The shamefulness of its unbelief will be very manifest as an offence against such a God. The remembrance of unbelief, of my unworthiness, my lack of love, my insincerity, my weakness and my uncertainty as to whether I shall remain faithful, — all this shall be utterly blotted out by what the thankful soul has expressed, namely, that God in His compassionate and omnipotent love is greater than all the force of sin and Satan. It cannot be otherwise, if thanksgiving increases faith. Hence that word: “Abounding in faith with thanksgiving.”
And now I wish to ask you who here say that you are seeking the increase of faith this question, Are you really doing this by thanking God? If you are still unconverted, go and thank Him that you are still not in hell. O, what a wonder it is that in His longsuffering He has still borne with you and spared you. Thank Him for this. Thank Him that He gave His Son Jesus for sinners. Yes: although you are not yet able to say that He is yours, fall upon your knees and thank God for His unspeakable gift to this sinful world and also to you. Thank Him for His gracious promise which has also come to you. O sinner, though you have as yet received little or nothing for yourself, pray be not silent, but adore and speak of His wonderful compassion. Let this be a daily work with you. Keep yourself intensely occupied with it: let your soul abide in contemplating what God is, what He has done, what He has promised He will do; how gracious, how faithful He is and how mighty to deliver and endeavor, however imperfectly, to express this on your knees before Him. In every acknowledgment of your bitter misery, thank Him that He is God; confess before Him that He is great and good. This thanksgiving will teach your soul that you may calmly confide in God. And, throughout the whole conflict of faith, you will often have to say that, when everything looked utterly dark and your wretchedness was very deep, if you but rendered thanks for what God was, hope then once more revived in your soul. Whatever else fails you, this always remains — a God to praise. Never was your case so wretched, that you had nothing more left to be thankful for. Only put this remedy to the proof: in the midst of all that is dark, grievous, and incomprehensible for the soul, only begin to praise, and your praising shall speedily merge in believing. Praising and believing are one.
This selection was taken from Andrew Murray’s book Why Do You Not Believe? (Chapter 21)