Posted by Jerry White on Aug 23, 2015
“Octavius Winslow (1808-1878) wrote, ’There are three steps in the Christian’s life. The first is humility; the second is humility; the third is humility.’ (Morning Thoughts, 381)
Jesus looks for humble vessels He can use to display His glory, and we are commanded to humble ourselves, clothe ourselves with humility, walk in humility (1 Peter 5:6; Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 4:1-2). Only as you have a clear view of Christ in His perfect beauty, do you gain true knowledge of yourself. True heart-knowledge of the Lord and of yourself leads to humility.
Could pride be preventing us from seeing more of His glory than we do? Pastor Murray points out, ‘Let us consider how far the disciples were advanced while this grace (humility) was still lacking, and let us pray that other gifts may not so satisfy us that we never grasp the fact that the absence of humility is no doubt the reason why the power of God cannot do its mighty work.’ (Andrew Murray, Humility, 49) We must come to the place where we despise the pride of our own flesh and are repulsed by it. Then holy desperation will propel us to bow humbly before the Lord in our dire neediness. Does any spiritual blessing ever come to us that we do not receive as a gift from our heavenly Father? The Father gives His wondrous gifts to humble ones for His own pleasure and praise.
Whenever the Lord is pleased to use you, and people come to you with various encouragements and compliments, accept their kind words graciously and gratefully as if they had given you flowers. Then take all of the flowers together as a bouquet and lay them at the feet of Jesus for His pleasure and honor. After all, it is for Him.”
The Spirit and Presence of Christ, 146
One ‘s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
Proverbs 29:23 (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on May 17, 2015
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 (ESV)
“It is a solemn thought that our love for God is measured by our everyday relationships with others. Except as its validity is proven in standing the test of daily life with our fellowmen, our love for God may be found to be a delusion. It is easy to think that we humble ourselves before God, but our humility toward others is the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real. To be genuine, humility must abide in us and become our very nature. True humility is to be made of no reputation—-as did Christ. In God’s presence, humility is not a posture we assume for a time—-when we think of Him or pray to Him—-but the very spirit of our life. It will manifest itself in all our bearing toward others. A lesson of deepest importance is that the only humility that is really ours is not the kind we try to show before God in prayer, but the kind we carry with us, and carry out, in our ordinary conduct. The seemingly insignificant acts of daily life are the tests of eternity, because they prove what spirit possesses us. It is in our most unguarded moment that we truly show who we are and what we are made of. To know a truly humble person, you must follow that one in the common course of daily life.
This is what Jesus taught. He gave them an example when He washed their feet. He taught His lessons of humility in demonstration. Humility before God is nothing if it is not proven in humility before others.
Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
Humility, Chapter Six
“Oh, for true, unfeigned humility! I know I have cause to be humble; and yet I do not know one half of that cause. I know I am proud; and yet I do not know the half of that pride.”
Robert Murray M’Cheyne
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 26, 2013
Jesus of Nazareth—
Obeyed His Father perfectly, and yet remained humble.
Did all things well, and yet remained humble.
Conquered all that came against Him, and yet remained humble.
Was praised by some, cursed by others, and yet remained humble.
Was used by God for miraculous works, and yet remained humble.
Was crucified unjustly, and yet remained humble.
Was resurrected triumphantly, and yet remained humble.
Now reigns as Lord on the throne of heaven with all power and authority,
And yet remains humble.
To become like Him is to be humble like Him.
“When I look back upon my own religious experience, or round upon the church of Christ in the world, I stand amazed at the thought of how little humility is sought after as the distinguishing feature of the discipleship of Jesus.”
Humility: The Beauty of Holiness
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility…
Ephesians 4:1-2a (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 5, 2013
Do the ones you live with see you as gentle and lowly in heart? Do your co-workers see you as gentle and lowly in heart? If someone spoke at your funeral and described you, would gentle and lowly in heart be prominent in their description of your character?
Most every Christian knows that becoming like Jesus Christ is God’s goal for His children, and if one is truly born again by God’s Spirit, then the desire to become like Jesus is present deep within because it is inscribed there by the Holy Spirit.
The only place Jesus ever spoke about His own heart He said, I am gentle and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29). If He is the full expression of God Himself, then that means that Sovereign God is gentle and lowly in heart (Hebrews 1:3). Almighty, knowing all things, and always fully present even beyond 20 billion light years away, yet God is gentle and lowly in heart.
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote in the Preface of his classic book, Humility, “When I look back upon my own Christian experience, or at the church of Christ as a whole, I am amazed at how little humility is seen as the distinguishing feature of discipleship.” Another has said, “Man aspires, but God condescends.” Human beings with indwelling sin want to be somebody in the eyes of others by name, fame, wealth, knowledge, and ability. The Son of God did not hold on to equality with God, but made Himself nothing, took the form of a servant, and became obedient even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8).
When the Son of God entered this world to live like we have to live, He did not come in the pomp and circumstance the proud world admires, but rather He came in the lowliest conditions. God speaks by what He says and also by what He does. All that He does and says reveals what He is like and what He values.
Jesus was born to peasant parents, not parents of wealth and means. His mother’s reputation was destroyed because she was pregnant without being married. Joseph, His earthly father, was a blue collar worker, not a professional man or a religious leader. Jesus was born in an animal shelter, the lowliest conditions instead of a palace or a fine, lovely home. Heaven’s announcement was not made to kings, religious leaders, or the well known, but to lowly shepherds out in a field at night. All this was by God’s sovereign choice.
Sovereign God chose the lowliest beginning for His Son instead of a grandiose entrance into our world, because lowliness is His heart. He means for us to be lowly in heart like Him.
Posted by Jerry White on May 16, 2013
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.
1 Peter 5:6
“The blessed Lord Jesus took the very lowest place; but God has given Him the very highest. He made Himself nothing, but God has made Him everything. He said, ‘I am a worm and no man’; but God has set Him as Head over all. He went into the very dust of death; but God has placed Him on the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.
What does all this teach us? It teaches us that the way to go up is to go down. This is a grand lesson, and one which we very much need to learn. It would effectually deliver us from envy and jealousy, from strife and vain glory, from self-importance and self-occupation. God will assuredly exalt those who, in the spirit and mind of Christ, take the low place; and, on the other hand, He will, as assuredly, abase those who seek to be somebody.
Oh! To be nothing! This is true liberty—true happiness—true moral elevation. And then what intense power of attraction in one who makes nothing of himself! And, on the other hand, how repulsive is a pushing, forward, elbowing, self-exalting spirit! How utterly unworthy of one bearing the name of Him who made Himself of no reputation! May we set it down as a fixed truth that ambition cannot possibly live in the presence of One who emptied himself? No doubt. An ambitious Christian is a flagrant contradiction.”
C. H. MacKintosh
His Victorious Indwelling, 132-133
Nick Harrison, Editor
The Bible (God) commands us to humble ourselves. This does not mean that we fake humility by demeaning ourselves to others or pretending we are nothing. Humility comes from a sober estimate of sinful self before holy, Almighty God. A proper view of self and a true view of Him in His majesty cause a humble state of mind. We must remain near Him in order for humility to reign in our attitude. Humility is freedom—and like Christ.
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 20, 2012
“The word became flesh! God became human! The invisible became visible! The untouchable became touchable! Eternal life experienced temporal death! The transcendent one descended and drew near! The unlimited became limited! The infinite became finite! The immutable became mutable! The unbreakable became fragile! Spirit became matter! Eternity entered time! The independent became dependent! The almighty became weak! The loved became the hated! The exalted was humbled! Glory was subjected to shame! Fame turned into obscurity! From inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief! From a throne to a cross! From ruler to being ruled! From power to weakness!”
Pleasures Evermore, p. 154
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
Someone has said that man aspires but God condescends. The eternal Son of God could have come in any way He chose, but He chose the lowest way, which expresses His pure humble character. Who were the first to be told about the Savior’s birth? Angels announced the Christ child’s birth to lowly shepherds, not proud aristocracy, world leaders, or even religious leaders. Shepherds were the first ones directed to go see the baby who was the Savior. God reveals Himself and His truth to those who are like “little children,” not to the wise and understanding. This is His gracious will (Matthew 11:25-26). If we want to experience the Lord Jesus and His truth revealed to our heart, He has made known the way. The way is to come before the Humble One with all humility. To the humble He dispenses grace.
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 28, 2012
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the heart of the contrite.
Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)
Humility toward God is akin to the fear of God: it begins with a high view of God’s person. As we see God in his majesty, awesomeness, and holiness, we are humbled before him. In every occasion in the Scriptures in which man was privileged to view God in his glory, he was brought low or humbled in the presence of God. Moses bowed to the ground and worshiped; Isaiah cried, ‘Woe is me!’ Ezekiel fell face down; John fell at his feet as though dead. Even the four living creatures and the twenty–four elders in heaven of Revelation fell down before the throne of the glorified Lamb.
Humility is every area of life, in every relationship with other people, begins with a right concept of God as the One who is infinite and eternal in his majesty and holiness. We are to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, approaching every relationship and every circumstance in reference to him. When relationships with people are good and circumstances are favorable, we are to humbly receive these blessings from his gracious hand. When people are mistreating us and circumstances are difficult, we are to humbly accept them as from an infinitely wise and loving heavenly Father.
This humility before God is basic to all our relationships in life. We cannot begin to experience humility in any other relationship until we experience a deep and profound humility in our attitude toward God. When we are conscious of our (sinful) creature relationship to an infinitely majestic and holy God, we will not wish to selfishly compare ourselves with others. And to the extent that our awareness of our lowly place before God is an abiding one, we will avoid the temptations of pride and competition.”
The Practice of Godliness, 91-92 (1983)
Humility before God will be expressed by humility towards those with whom we live.
Posted by Jerry White on Mar 22, 2012
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him.
Matthew 3:16 ESV
What a suggestive picture we have here—the dove descending upon the Lamb and resting herself upon Him! The Lamb and the Dove are surely the gentlest of all God’s creatures. The Lamb speaks of meekness and submissiveness and the Dove speaks of peace (what more peaceful sound than the cooing of a dove on a summer day). Surely this shows us that the heart of Deity is humility. When the eternal God chose to reveal Himself in His Son, He gave Him the name of the Lamb; and when it was necessary for the Holy Spirit to come into the world, He was revealed under the emblem of the Dove. Is it not obvious, then, that the reason why we have to be humble in order to walk with God is not merely because God is so big and we so little, that humility befits such little creatures—but because God is so humble?
The main lesson of this incident is that the Holy Spirit, as the Dove, could only come upon and remain upon the Lord Jesus because He was the Lamb. Had the Lord Jesus had any other disposition than that of the Lamb—humility, submissiveness and self-surrender—the Dove could never have rested on Him. Being herself so gentle, she would have been frightened away had not Jesus been meek and lowly in heart.
Here, then we have pictured for us the condition upon which the same Holy Spirit can come upon us and abide upon us. The Dove can only abide upon us as we are willing to be as the Lamb. How impossible that He should rest upon us while self is unbroken! The manifestations of the unbroken self are the direct opposite of the gentleness of the Dove. Read again in Galatians 5 the ninefold fruit of the Spirit (‘love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control’) with which the Dove longs to fill us! Then contrast it with the ugly works of the flesh (the N.T. name for the unbroken self) in the same chapter. It is the contrast of the snarling wolf with the gentle dove!”
The Calvary Road, 37-38
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 5, 2011
“We talk glibly of the ‘Christmas spirit’, rarely meaning more by this than sentimental jollity on a family basis. But what we have said makes it clear that the phrase should in fact carry a tremendous weight of meaning. It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temper of Him who for our sakes became poor at the first Christmas. And the Christmas spirit itself ought to be the mark of every Christian all the year round.
It is our shame and disgrace today that so many Christians—I will be more specific: so many of the soundest and most orthodox Christians—go through this world in the spirit of the priest and the Levite in our Lord’s parable, seeing human needs all around them, but (after a pious wish, and perhaps a prayer, that God might meet them) averting their eyes, and passing by on the other side. That is not the Christmas spirit. Nor is it the spirit of those Christians—alas, they are many—whose ambition in life seems limited to building a nice middle-class Christian home, and making nice middle-class Christian friends, and bringing up their children in nice middle-class Christian ways, and who leave the sub-middle class sections of the community, Christian and non-Christian, to get on by themselves.
The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor—spending and being spent—to enrich their fellowmen, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others—and not just their own friends—in whatever way there seems need. There are not as many who show this spirit as there should be. If God in mercy revives us, one of the things He will do will be to work more of this spirit in our hearts and lives. If we desire spiritual quickening for ourselves individually, one step we should take is to seek to cultivate this spirit. ‘Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.’ ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.’ ‘I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart’ (Ps. 119:32).
J. I. Packer
Knowing God, 55-56
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 3, 2011
“Spiritual health, like bodily health, is God’s gift. But, like bodily health, it is a gift that must be carefully cherished, for careless habits can squander it. By the time we wake up to the fact that we have lost it, it may be too late to do much about it. The focus of health in the soul is humility, while the root of inward corruption is pride. In the spiritual life, nothing stands still. If we are not constantly growing downward into humility we shall be steadily swelling up and running to seed under the influence of pride. Humility rests on self-knowledge; pride reflects self-ignorance. Humility expresses itself in self-disgust and conscious dependence on God; pride is self-confident and, though it may go through the motions of humility with some skill (for pride is a great actor), it is self-important, opinionated, tyrannical, pushy, and self-willed. ‘Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall’ (Prv 16:18).
As quinine is the antidote to malaria, so humility is the antidote to pride. In the sense in which Shakespeare’s Orsino in Twelfth Night sees music as the food of love, repentance should be seen as the food of humility. Or changing the picture, repentance should be thought as the exercise routine that maintains humility, and through humility, health in the soul. ‘No cross, no crown,’ said William Penn. ‘No humility, no health, and no repentance, no humility,’ is what I am saying now.”
J. I. Packer
Rediscovering Holiness, 149-150
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Matthew 23:12 (ESV)
Pride and deception walk blindly together toward destruction. Pride is self-centered and self-promoting while deception blinds from the truth about what you really are. Pride was the reason for Lucifer’s fall, and also the reason for Adam’s fall. Pride should be feared for the hideous monster it is. The tragic results of pride’s work are written all through the Word of God and across the pages of human history. Pursue humility with all diligence. Humility results from a true view of God and a true view of self. Gaze on the Lord in His beauty and see yourself in your sinfulness. Keep worshiping, submitting and repenting.