I am reading a book right now called Humility by Andrew Murray. I am being profoundly affected by it. As I read it, I am simultaneously encouraged and convicted. Inspired and indicted.
Let me quote a few lines from Mr. Murray:
“Let us…admit that there is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous as pride. Let us feel that nothing but a very determined and preserving waiting on God and Christ will discover how lacking we are in the grace of humility, and how impotent to obtain what we seek. Let us study the character of Christ until our souls are filled with the love and admiration of His lowliness. And let us believe that, when we are broken down under a sense of our pride, and our impotence to cast it out, Jesus Christ Himself will come to impart this grace too, as a part of His wondrous life within us.”
Pride is “insidious.” It is absolutely the default nature of man to be self-exalting and self-focused. We are helpless to be rid of this impulse on our own. Then he says,
“We need to know well the Second Adam and His power to give within us a life of humility as REAL and abiding and OVERMASTERING as has been that of pride.”
This book is saturated with statements like this. One of the chief concepts that Murray seeks to promote in his book is that humility is one of the most distinguishing and important characteristics of our Savior, God the Son, Jesus. He maintains that humility is of an importance to us that cannot be overstated but yet it is very rarely actively sought out to be cultivated. I, as do many, energetically and enthusiastically agree with Murray.
I have said that I feel indicted by Murray’s words in Humility. I am indicted on the grounds that I am personally guilty of what he describes as the chief problem of man: pride. My initial, unfiltered, hidden, and secret mental reaction to being overlooked or forgotten is one of annoyance and disappointment. I find fault when someone else’s idea gets carried out and not mine. Instead of being overjoyed at the success and fruitfulness in my friend’s life I want to know, “Why not me?”. My battle and struggle with pride is a daily one, no an hourly one. As I’m sure yours is as well. I read Murray’s words about pride and its offensive heinousness to our God and I know I am reading a description of my own deeds. He says things like this:
“Let (the reader) consider how all want of love, all indifference to the needs, the feelings, the weaknesses of others, all sharp and hasty utterances and judgments, so often excused under the plea of being outright and honest; all manifestations of temper and touchiness and irritation; all feelings of bitterness and estrangement, have their root in nothing but pride that ever seeks itself….”
But by the grace of God, as often as I am indicted in my reading of this valuable book, I am inspired! Thank you Jesus! There is hope for me! There is hope for you! Murray talks about how humility is to be the chief thing that we seek as believers, for from it springs all other good behaviors, attitudes, ideas, thoughts, feelings, impulses, habits and words! Our main problem as people before our God is our pride. Our obstinate, tenacious and determined desire to acknowledge and exalt ourselves instead of God. I read Murray’s words like this:
“Our one need is to study and know and trust the life that has been revealed in Christ as the life that is now OURS and waits for our consent to gain POSSESSION and MASTERY of our whole being.”
Since I have been crucified with Jesus and HE now lives in me (Galatians 2:20) the life of Jesus is now MY life. That is true about me! That is true about me in SPITE of my failings! I want Jesus’ life to come out and be seen in MY actions and MY behaviors more and more! I want to be MASTERED by Jesus more and MORE! I want to be more like Him and less like ME!
When I feel the reflex to want to grab for attention, I fight that with faith in the Son of God and try to give it up and give attention to someone else. When I am tempted to drop the comment that I know is bound to impress others, in my head I ask the Holy Spirit to help me keep my mouth shut. When I want to speak up for my rights and not let someone get away with being so insensitive, rude, uncaring, irresponsible for whatever they might have done to me I, in faith, try to remember Him that “…when He was insulted did not retaliate, and when He suffered, he made no threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to the one who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). These are the type of sentiments and attitudes that are being stirred within me as I read words like:
“Humiliation is the only ladder to honor in God’s kingdom.”
“ Brethren, here is the path to the higher life. Down, lower down! This was what Jesus ever said to the disciples who were thinking of being great in the kingdom, and of sitting on His right and His left. Seek not, ask not for exaltation; that is God’s work.”
I am given great hope as I read this book. I highly recommend it to all. It gives me great peace and comfort to know that I am not the one who can work humility in myself. It is in my realization of the impossibility to do this that the lowliness is brought about. Jesus brings it about. My life in Him began because of His work. It will continue because of His work. And He will finish it.
Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose”
Philippians 2: 5-8 “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!”
Jason Faircloth currently teaches 3rd grade at the Manantial School in Puerto Escondido. He is also the director of our Primary School. Jason and his wife, Kate, and son, Abraham, have lived in Puerto Escondido for almost 4 years now serving with Global Education Ministries.