Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Truth About Humility

I'm down to about 7 days until my journey begins. I've been preparing in prayer, study, and discussion with others. Recently I started reading Humility by Andrew Murray, and I discovered something significant; something unsurprising about pride that I should've known before or at least been cautious about. Afterall, Satan is very deceptive.

On the very first page of the book, Murray starts off by explaining (I've condensed these explanations here) that there are three motives for humility: (1) Jesus' life; (2) my own sin and shame; and (3) grace. I was already struck by this. I read a little further and was convicted in my pride. While I was honestly intending to make my journey about God, my pride was guiding me toward humility for the second motive - because of my own sin. That's all fine and good, but there is a greater motivation for humility that leads me to God and the mystery of grace. This is what I should pursue.

The truth about humility then is not about focusing on my sinful nature, my shame, or my inability to help myself. Although these are important aspects, they should not be the primary focus because they are all about me. Instead, the real truth about humility is that God's holiness, righteousness, and perfect character reveal who He is. Furthermore, His beautiful display of mercy and grace on the cross reveal His incredible love and power. This, in fact, is what brings me to my knees and into praise and worship for Him.

Can you imagine coming to the cross with your head held high? Or conjure something to say that could equal Jesus' loving sacrifice? The only response I have is humility - to recognize what He has done for me, and go make my life about Him.

/EDIT 10-18-09
One more thought that just came up from church today worth adding to this post: humility is the means by which I empty myself of me to be filled with and let God be all. To do this, I must be able to take God at His word and trust that I will be okay - that He will take care of me in my surrendering. This is not just an issue of humility, but also one of faith.


Matt Guerino said...

I think the insight re: humility not being about anything to do with me is critical to this whole thing. I think it's impossible for us to just empty ourselves; to perpetuate a negative; to maintain a vacuum. By nature we must be filled with something: pursuing a positive; filling heart space. If I'm right about that, then humility is not about my stuff at all, it's about God. The way to get rid of pride isn't to pump it out like deflating a balloon. Rather, it has to be pushed out by its replacement, the way water pushes the air out of a garden hose. The path to humility then is the path of being consumed with God.

Aaron said...

The thing that's never sat right with me about other religious principles like Buddhism, which talk about emptiness. As you explained, getting rid of self is simply perpetuating a negative if it's not replaced by something else - something capable of overcoming the negative.

Thanks for clarifying my long post with a nice, succinct one, Matt! It's always good to see you over here. :-)

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