Recently I picked up an old copy of The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray and was immediately impacted by his opening sentence. “The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God.” I think of all the things that have changed since those words were first written in 1895. We live in a society that bears little resemblance to Andrew Murray’s life at the turn of the century. The culture of today is vastly different due to amazing advances in technology that Andrew Murray couldn’t have imagined. The values and philosophies that influence our lives today are also vastly different. And yet these words remain as important and significant as when they were first written over 100 years ago. They are, quite simply, true.
We probably all agree with this, but do we live our lives as if this is true? Do our days include time for uninterrupted fellowship with the Almighty? I don’t mean a quick devotional reading, and time to pray through our list of needs, but time to just be together. When you read the biographies of great Christians who have gone before us, many of them had incredibly busy schedules, and yet they seem to have found the secret of unhurried time with God.
I think it’s interesting that Christ makes it clear that this is what He wants. Christ shares in Revelation 3:21 that He is knocking at our heart’s door waiting to be invited in to eat together – to have fellowship*. In New Testament times, eating together often meant reclining over a relaxed and unhurried meal. When was the last time you enjoyed unhurried time with the Lord?
I have to be honest and say that I haven’t gotten very far in reading The Deeper Christian Life. In fact, I haven’t gotten past that first sentence. Andrew Murray is absolutely right! My first and chief need is fellowship with God, and I’m learning that many of my other needs are met when I make this my priority.
I’m sure the rest of Andrew Murray’s book is excellent…and one of these days I’ll get to it. But, in the meantime, I am so thankful for the wonderful and convicting reminder of his opening sentence.
*I realize that “fellowship” is rather an old-fashioned word, but it is one rich with spiritual significance. For more thought on this you can go to The Sweet Side of Suffering, p.77 – “Fellowship is More Than a Party.”