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. Last month we looked at the first three chapters and this month we will look at chapters 4-6. The quoted material is either direct quotes by Murray or paraphrases for succinctness.
CHAPTER 4 – HUMILITY IN THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS – “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)“Whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:27-28) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:3-5) “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:13-17 )
REFLECTION QUESTIONS – Jesus as our Teacher taught us by word and example to wash the feet of others and as our Lord, He commanded us to do so. He even teaches that we will be blessed if we humbly serve others.
Who are you presently serving or called by God to serve and “wash their feet?” Someone said, “You will know if you have a servant’s spirit by how you feel when people treat you like one.” Do you feel offended when serving others and no one thanks you?
CHAPTER 5 – HUMILITY IN THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS – “The disciples had left all to follow Jesus, were casting out demons, healing the sick and preaching the kingdom of God but still lacked humility. After Jesus’ teaching and modeling humility to them for three years they were still arguing over who was the greatest during the Last Supper.” “Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” (Luke 22:24 ) “After the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the proud disciples began to look more like their humble Master. This shows us that only by the Spirit’s power can the flesh be cast out.” “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,” (Romans 8:13) Earlier in Romans 7 Paul confessed his helplessness to cast out the flesh and the pride in him. “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” (See Romans 7:14-8:4) “We can only make Him known to the degree we know Him and have been conformed to His image. This means recognizing that Jesus’ humility is His chief glory, His command and our highest blessedness. If we believe this we will seek it with all of our hearts and not be satisfied with God’s power and spiritual gifts apart from Christ’s humility.”
REFLECTION QUESTIONS – The disciples were casting out demons and healing the sick but still lacked humility. Do you desire the humility of Jesus more than spiritual gifts, business or ministry success or the good life in general?
CHAPTER 6 – HUMILITY IN DAILY LIFE – “Our love for God and our humility before Him is revealed in our everyday relationships with others.” “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) “It is in our ordinary daily life and conduct that we really show and see what we are, what spirit/attitude really possesses us.” Dr. James Houston says, “I always see my sins most clearly in my relationships.” “Honor one another above yourselves. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” (Romans 12:10,14,16) “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) “Let us look on every person in our daily experiences who tries or vexes us as God’s means to bring about Jesus’ humility in us as we pray like Paul, “O wretched man that I am (without Christ’s humility) who will deliver me from my pride? Thanks be to God for Jesus! He will.”
REFLECTION QUESTIONS – Who in your life reveals the lack of Christ’s humility in you….your spouse, children, friends, parents, in-laws, boss, employee, or others? Other people are not responsible for making us proud or angry, etc., but only reveal our true inner nature. (See Mark 7:20-23)
How can we let Jesus use these difficult relationships to conform us more and more into His attitude of humility?
Until He Comes Again,
Len and Kristen