As promised, here is a little bit about the book Humility by Andrew Murray.
First I want to share a little about him. He was born to a missionary family in what is known as the most remote corner of the world – Graaf-Reinet which is near the cape in South Africa. He finished his education in Scotland and after attending three years of theological study in college, he returned to as a missionary and minister. He lived from 1828 – 1917. He wrote over 240 books and tracts and was greatly impacted spiritually when he became ill in 1879 and lost is voice for over two years.
This season taught him much about surrender and humility; both are strong themes in all of his writing. Of course, humility is the constant focus in this particular book and I want to share two quotes from the opening pages that I underlined:
“When we see that humility is something infinitely deeper than contrition, and accept it as our participation in the life of Jesus, we shall begin to learn that it is our true nobility, and that to prove it in being servants of all is the highest fulfillment of our destiny, as men created in the image of God.” (Pg.9)
“….alas, how much proof there is that humility is not esteemed the cardinal virtue, the only root from which the graces can grow, the one indispensable condition of true fellowship with Jesus.” (Pg. 10)Humility: The Beauty of Holiness, Andrew Murray, CLC Publications, 1997
He points out over and over throughout the book that this is a process of growing in the grace of humility. It is lived moment by moment and achieved through prayer and allowing God to work this grace into us.
Pride, he says, is the loss of humility as it is the desire to be equal to God. It reminds me of the passage in Isaiah 14: 13-14 and the five phrases of Lucifer.
- I will ascend into heaven
- I will exalt my throne above the stars of God
- I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
- I will ascend the heights of the clouds
- I will be like the Most High
This self-sufficiency and self-exaltation is not just a problem in our modern culture. It has existed since the Creation as man plays God.
Instead, Murray offers this in speaking of Christ.
“His humility is our salvation. His salvation is our humility.” Pg. 13
Humility is a virtue that we can not muster up on our own. It is given as a gift through prayer, faith and practice.
So we can pray for God to give us humility as we pray for other gifts of grace. We believe that He will answer our prayer to be humble following the example of Christ and we practice it by responding to the trials and testings that would make us naturally rise up, by bowing down.
When we are misunderstood, overlooked, despised, bypassed, encumbered by physical limitations; we can practice this grace gift by praising God in the midst. By humbling stepping back when others are promoted and in prayer thank God that we are participating in the life of Christ.
It is a process, he says, over and over and over again. When we are struggling with pride or entitlement, we can know that we must call on God to help us be humble as Christ would be in the same situation.
I love one of the chapters when he discusses the disciples. They had the same battle with pride that we do, and he says – if it could be caught or taught; surely they would have had the best possible opportunity to be humble right off the bat as they walked with Jesus.
But they were not.
It was through trial and prayer and sacrifice and surrender and the coming of the Holy Spirit that moved them slowly into humility.
Thought provoking, it is, to think of daily praying for God to humble us and to teach us to be more like Christ. Our constant prayer to be, May Christ be formed in me in this situation.
I will leave my thoughts from the book here, but highly recommend this little book. It is small but power packed and should be read more than once <3