I’m ashamed to admit this, but I’ve only read 2 books this year.
Aside from meditating on God’s word, my literary ambitions have been lacking to say the least. However, I will say the two books I have read have been extremely timely and of great value to me. The first was Paul Tripp’s Parenting and the second was Andrew Murray’s Humility.
What parent doesn’t need godly advice and wisdom to raise their children? I know I do. Parenting is no joke and because I’m a sinner, I fail a lot. But praise God for His grace. And if you’ve ever read one of Tripp’s books, you know he is BIG on the grace of God. Tripp has a way of plainly speaking biblical truth so that it brings out those ‘ah-ha’ moments I often fail to grasp. I highly recommend this book for every parent.
But Andrew Murray’s Humility has been the most precious gift to my heart and mind. And though I do not necessarily agree with the breadth of his theology (see Keswick theology and other “two blessing” theologies), this book contained profound biblical insights into the evil of pride and the necessity of humility in the life of the Christian. I’ve always believed that pride is the root of all sins, that every evil or ungodly thought or action stems from a desire to elevate self and take God’s place. Yet, it had not dawned on me that if pride is the antithesis of a life as God as ALL, then humility is the root of a life where God is ALL. Humility is the root by which all godly virtues blossom and bear fruit. For from a disposition of humility we will see and truly exhibit those godly virtues of love, grace, kindness, holiness, mercy, forgiveness, patience, joy, peace, and so on.
Humility Is The Heart of Jesus
Throughout the book, Murray illuminated the myriad of moments humility’s weightiness is expressed throughout scripture. Though the word humble or humility may not always be written in a text, its presence is ever abiding and profound. Just the other day I was reading in 1 Kings 3, where Solomon beseeched the Lord to impart him with wisdom and discernment to rightly rule as king. It was the humility of Solomon, his admittance of his inadequacy and his need of God, that pleased the Lord. So much so that the Lord not only granted the requests of his prayer but also blessed him beyond his initial desire.
Though to truly see the gravity for humility’s presence in our lives we need look no further than the life and death of Jesus, who was the Humblest One, and by whom we find our example of a life wholly surrendered to God. As Murray writes, “His humility is our salvation. His salvation is our humility.” It was the humble nature of His heart and seeking the Father’s will in all things that led Him to the cross. Not thinking for a moment of doing what He willed, but joyfully submitting to the Father. Murray also states, “His humility was simply the surrender of Himself to God, to allow God to do in Him what He pleased, whatever men around might say of Him, or do to Him.” And His humility was made perfect in His death, as that was the ultimate display of surrender to God. Jesus not only embodied humility in the way He lived and died, but also taught of its need in every human heart. Repeatedly He taught of those in the Kingdom of God as humble servants:
“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
“Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.” Matthew 11:29
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14
“Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” Luke 22:26
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11
Could Humility Create An Awakening?
I wish I could write a paragraph for every chapter and dive into the sweetness of Murray’s words. But I think it would be best if you just read the book. I will say this though, I believe that humility (a complete surrender to God as all and a willingness to be used as His vessel, recognizing that without Him we are nothing), would completely transform our personal lives and the life of the church. Having a heart that is bowed in lowly submission to the King, seeking Him for everything, depending on Him for everything, doing whatever He asked of us because in Him we will never be at a loss, would be so countercultural, so unlike our very nature that it would rouse the world to see the very heart of Jesus.
What if instead of becoming easily annoyed or angered by another (even if they were in the wrong) we humbly showed them grace and held our tongue?
What if, in the same humility as Christ, we forgave without expecting anything in return, because that is what Christ did for us?
What if we listened and truly opened our hearts to the experiences, beliefs, and thoughts of others instead of immediately jumping to judgment or turning a deaf ear?
What if we saw ill-treatment and harshness done to us as a means of God’s grace because through it we were humbled to turn the other cheek as Jesus did?
What if we decided not to seek our own interests, even if it cost us greatly, because we, like Paul, count everything as loss for the sake of Jesus and in humility then sought the interest of others instead?
And there are so many other ways humility can take root in our hearts… I wish I could say that I am always humble, but I still see the ugly, weedy roots of pride tangled around my heart. The desire is there though and I pray that as God continues to change me, humility will be the fruit my heart bears. I pray I will gladly, JOYFULLY, accept humiliation so that I may be made more into the image of Christ and exalt His name.