Originally published Thursday, 07 August 2014.
Moment by moment, I'm kept in His love;
Moment by moment, I've life from above;
Looking to Jesus, the glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, Oh Lord, I am Thine.
- Andrew Murray
I started reading a book––well, I guess it's actually more like a long essay––written by Andrew Murray called Humility. Murray was a pastor, evangelist, educator, and writer during the nineteenth century who was educated in Europe but primarily lived in South Africa. Honestly, if you have a chance to get your hands on any of his writings, I highly recommend them, but I do have to admit, they can be a bit dense.
As I read Humility, I was having a hard time retaining what Murray was saying simply because of the way he writes, and so I began to rewrite his writings in note-taking form to be sure I'd be able to internalize this important message. Humility is something to be sought after. Something we ought to strive toward, and when I'm completely honest with myself, I must admit that it's something I have yet to grasp. I'm not quite sure humility is completely attainable this side of heaven, but it is something we can certainly grow in, and to that end, I've decided to share my rewrite of the beginning of Murray's book.
Just to be clear––what I have written below is not original content. While these points are written in my own words, they're derived and paraphrased directly from Humility.
- We get to be participants in God's perfection and blessedness to show the glory of His love and wisdom and power. God chose to reveal Himself in and through us by showing as much of His goodness and glory as man could understand. But this does not give us something we can possess in and of ourselves. When we abide in Christ, we display God's glory, not our own.
- Our relationship with God can only be one of absolute dependence. We are nothing apart from Him. It is God who sustains us.
- We owe everything to God––our care, our virtue, our happiness––and so we must present ourselves as an empty vessel in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness. We remain dependent on Him every moment for this. It is not a one time thing. We are not filled to completion one time but must continually come to God to fill us moment by moment.
- Humility (total dependence on God) is the first duty and highest virtue and is at the root of every other virtue. Pride then is the loss of humility and is at the root of every sin and evil. Pride and self exaltation is the gate and the birth and curse of hell. True redemption, then, is the restoration of humility.
- We deserve nothing. All we have is grace.
- Humility recognize that we are absolutely nothing and that God is everything. It sees our position before God rightly.
- Without humility there can be no real abiding in God's presence. We cannot experience His favor or the power of His spirit, and without this, we will not experience an abiding faith or love or joy or strength.
- "Humility is the only soil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure" (p.7).
- Humility is not one virtue among many others. "It is the root if all, because it alone takes the right attitude before God, and allows Him as God to do all" (p.7).
- "It is not something which we bring to God, or He bestows; it is simply the sense of entire nothingness, which comes when we see how truly God is all, and in which we make way for God to be all" (p. 7).
- Humility quite simply is acknowledging the truth of our position as creature and yielding to God His rightful place.
- The Church has often neglected teaching humility, but it ought to be at the forefront of the earnest Christian, those who pursue and profess holiness.
- We must "admit that there is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous, as pride" (p.8).
- Humility will not come on its own, “it must be made the object of special desire and prayer and faith and practice” (p. 8).
Murray closes his first chapter by saying, “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 in to impart this grace too, as a part of His wondrous life within us.” And to that, I say AMEN!
That's some pretty good stuff, isn't it!? Now if we could just do it.
Humility seems to be at the very heartbeat of Jesus. To be like Jesus is to be humble. Now, we may not be able to work humility in ourselves, but by God's grace, we can humble ourselves. We can start to position ourselves under God, in our proper place, and we can allow God to take His rightful place in our lives.
So, let's do that! Let's intentionally resolve to make humility the "special desire and prayer and faith and practice" in our lives today! And I'm pretty sure that if we do, we will see God do many many wonders before our very eyes.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:6-7
Andrew Murray, Humility & Absolute Surrender (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2005).
Laurie Coombs will be featured in Billy Graham's new film, "Heaven," (November 2014) part of the "My Hope with Billy Graham" series broadcast nationally in an effort to reach people with the message of the gospel. She is a featured writer and blogger for iBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com and is currently working on first book, Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A journey of forgiveness (Kregel Publications, Spring 2015).
With a background in teaching, Laurie is a passionate speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the blessings associated with following Jesus. She and her husband, Travis, make their home in Reno, Nevada along with their two daughters, Ella and Avery.
For more information about Laurie Coombs or to book her for a speaking engagement, please visit her blog, LaurieCoombs.org. And be sure to connect with Laurie on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.