Humility (I)

This semester I’m taking the class Pastoral Ministries, taught by Rick Holland (college pastor at Grace Community Church). One of the books for the class is Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney. I’ve read this book before, and God has used it to radically transform my thinking over the last year.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t post just a long string of quotes, but this book is worth taking the time both for me to post and for you to read. The theme of this book is simple: No matter our station in life, pride is our greatest enemy and humility is our greatest friend. Nothing will divide churches, friendships, marriages, and ministries faster than pride. Pride is the ultimate offense to God, and is nothing more than me telling God, “I deserve the glory for everything You have done.” I’m about halfway through the 175 page book, and here are the highlights thus far.

“Amazingly, Humility sometimes attracts the world’s notice. But here’s something even more astonishing: Humility gets God’s attention.”

“This is the promise of humility. God is personally and providentially supportive of the humble. And the grace He extends to the humble is indescribably rich.”

“Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.”

“So many human ventures, so many grand designs of mankind, have been undermined because humility is lacing on the part of those involved…Our motivation for rooting out pride must go beyond a knowledge of its pitfalls and perils. Our pursuit should be driven by the amazing promise that humility holds out to us: God gives grace to the humble!”

“Pride seems to have a strange and sure way of ignoring logic altogether. Can you relate? The sad fact is that none of us are immune to the logic-defying, blinding effects of pride. Though it shows up in different forms and to differing degrees, it infects us all. The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it’s where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life.”

“Why does God hate pride so passionately? Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him.”

“Pride takes innumerable forms but only has one end: self-glorification. That’s the motive and ultimate purpose of pride—to rob God of legitimate glory and to pursue self-glorification, contending for supremacy with Him. The proud person seeks to glorify himself and not God, thereby attempting in effect to deprive God of something only He is worthy to receive.”

“You and I hate nothing to the degree that God hates pride. His hatred for pride is pure, and His hatred is holy…God’s opposition to pride is an immediate and constant activity. The proud will not indefinitely escape discipline.”

(Speaking of Mark 10, where James and John approach Jesus and ask to be placed at positions of honor) “The prideful desires of their hearts are on full display. There’s nothing subtle about their request. They’re not asking for faith to endure His suffering. They’re not asking for the privilege of supporting Him in and through His suffering. They want to be famous, pure and simple…In their pride-dominated hearts, Jesus is just a means to their end of personal exaltation.”

“Jesus does not categorically criticize or forbid the desire and ambition to be great. Instead, He clearly redirects that ambition, redefines it, and purifies it: ‘But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.’ Mk. 10:43-44”

“In true humility, our own service to others is always both an effect of His unique sacrifice and the evidence of it. His sacrifice alone makes it possible for us to achieve and experience true greatness in God’s eyes…Ultimately our Christian service exists only to draw attention to this source—to our crucified and risen Lord who gave himself as a ransom for us all.”

Reflect on the wonder of the cross of Christ. I believe this will be the most important habit and practice for you as well. To be truly serious and deliberate in mortifying pride and cultivating greatness, you must each day survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died.”

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