“Humility is the soil from which all Christian graces grow and the indispensable condition for true fellowship with Jesus.” Years ago I read Andrew Murray’s powerful book on humility and shared its rich teaching with some men in my ministry at a prayer retreat. Over the next few months I’d like to share it with you through my newsletters as well as encourage you to read the book itself. The quoted material is either direct quotes by Murray or paraphrases for succinctness.
CHAPTER 1 – HUMILITY – THE GLORY OF THE CREATURE – “The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:10-11) “He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent].” (Colossians 1:18) “Humility is unceasing dependence on God and absolute submission to God. It is our response to God as we see Him as He truly is, perfect in power and glory, and ourselves as we truly are, contingent creatures who choose to rebel against our Maker and King. It is the characteristic and attitude of Jesus who said: “Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19 – Unceasing dependence) “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39 – Absolute submission) Humility is our true nobility and the highest fulfillment of our destiny as redeemed sons of God and our only true happiness.”
“Prayerlessness is a symptom of our lack of humility because it reveals how little we are aware of both our great need for God (unceasing dependence) and our great responsibility to God (absolute submission to know and do His will) for creating us and dying for us. When the poison of pride was breathed into our soul by Satan at the Fall man sank to the pit of hell. The lack of humility is the sufficient explanation for every defect and failure. God, in Jesus, created a new humanity in the incarnation of Christ to bring back to man through the new birth the disposition of Jesus –humility.” “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:3-8)
“Humility is the distinguishing mark of a disciple of Jesus and yet it is so unnatural to our flesh that it must be made the object of earnest desire, daily prayer and daily practice. Yet, we cannot even cast out pride ourselves but can only receive humility from Jesus as we look at Him and look to Him in brokenness and contrition.” “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, (Jesus) are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) “For this is what the high and lofty One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)
CHAPTER 2 – HUMILITY: THE SECRET OF REDEMPTION – “All wars and bloodshed among nations, all selfishness and suffering, all ambitions and jealousies, all broken hearts and broken homes, all unhappiness, is the result of the wicked pride of Satan and fallen man, the first Adam, and can only be changed through salvation and surrender to the life of Christ – the Second Adam. We must deplore pride and fear it as our # 1 enemy which only Christ can conquer in us as we yield our lives to His Lordship.” (“And nine rings went to the race of men who above all others desire power.” -The Lord of the Rings) “He therefore only fights the good fight who fights the self-idolatrous nature which all men have received from Adam and can only be brought to death by surrender to the supernatural humility of Jesus.” (William Law)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:24-27) “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”(Colossians 2:6-7) “It is only as we abide in Christ and His humility (remain rooted in Him) that we can manifest His humility.”
CHAPTER 3 – HUMILITY IN THE LIFE OF JESUS – “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19)
“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30) “I do not accept praise from men.” (John 5:41) “Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.” (John 7:16) “So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.” (John 8:28) “But I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself.” (John 8:49-50) “Jesus always lived the “not I” kind of life and calls us to the same.” “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) “He was nothing so that God could be all and because He always lived in humility toward God He found it possible to humble Himself before man.” “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:21)
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: 1) How dependent and submissive do you feel you are in your relationship with the Lord in your day-to- day activities, relationships, trials and blessings? How does this relate to your prayer life? 2) Do you fear your pride as the # 1 enemy of your soul, of your happiness? 3) Do you agree that just going to church, doing devotions, etc., without pursuing the humility of Jesus, is “fooling yourself”?
Until He Comes Again, Len and Kristen