Humility by Andrew Murray

Humility by Andrew Murray is a classic book on the virtue of humility. I was able to find an electronic copy of this book online here:

Click to access Humility_by_Andrew_Murray.pdf

The following are some points I took from reading the book:

1. Why be humble?

Humility is the original and only true basis of relationship a human being can have with God – we owe everything to God.

Christ’s own humility is the foundation of His relationship with the Father and His work to redeem us.

Humility is not one of many good character traits; it is the root of all of them, because it places us in the right relationship with God and frees Him up to do all that He desires.

Although sin is a powerful motive for humility, there is a stronger one. This motive makes the angels in heaven and the Son of God Himself so humble. Here it is: the core of man’s relationship to God, the secret to blessing, is the humility and nothingness that leaves God free to be All.

2. Jesus Christ – The Model for our Humility

“Normally the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here! For I am your servant.” (Luke 22:27)

These words expose the deepest roots of Christ’s life and work.

Jesus became nothing, so that the Father could be everything. He submitted His strength and will completely so that the Father could work in Him. What did Jesus have to say about His own power, His own will, and His own glory, about His whole mission with all His works and teaching? “It is not I; I am nothing; I have given Myself to the Father to work. I am nothing. The Father is everything.”

When Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him, this is what He means: that we admit that self has no value except as an empty vessel for God to fill. The claim of self to be or do anything must not be allowed for one moment. More than anything else, humility is what becoming like Jesus is all about. We are to be and do nothing by ourselves so that God may be All.

3. Humility: The Secret of Redemption

“Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name.” (Phil. 2:5-9)

A tree grows from its own root. Through its whole existence, the tree lives with the same life that was in the seed that produced it. Humility is the root of the tree. You can tell it by looking at every branch and leaf and fruit. If the secret of Jesus’ life and death is humility, then the health and strength of our own spiritual lives will completely depend on our making humility our top priority, too. We must make humility the thing we admire about Him most, the main thing we ask of Him, and the one thing we see that we can’t live without.

Is it any wonder that the so-called “Christian life” is so often weak and fruitless, if the root of the Christ-life is neglected?

Should we be surprised that the joy of salvation is so little felt, when the place where Jesus found it— the place of lowliness—is so little searched for?

We must seek a humility that will settle for nothing less than dying to self. We must decide to give up trying to get men to honor us and seek the honor that comes only from God. We must learn to count ourselves as nothing so that God may be everything, that Jesus alone will be lifted up. Until we make humility our main joy and welcome it at any price, there is very little hope of a faith that will overcome the world.

4. Humility in Daily Life – The Real Test

It is easy to think we humble ourselves before God. But humility before people is the only real proof that our humility before God is more than just a figment of our imagination. It is the only true evidence that humility has made a home in our hearts and become our nature. How can we know that we, like Christ, have made ourselves of no reputation? By the reality check of daily life. When in God’s presence humility has become more than just a feeling we have when we think about Him or pray, but instead the very Spirit of our lives, it will show itself in the way we treat our brothers and sisters.

This lesson is crucial. The only humility that really belongs to us is not what we try to show before God in prayer, but what we carry with us and live out when we get up off our knees. The insignificance of daily life is the test of eternity. It proves what Spirit really possesses us. It is in our unguarded moments when we show who we really are. To know the humble man, you have to follow him around and watch his daily life.

Isn’t that lesson exactly what Jesus taught? His great teachings about humility came when He saw the disciples arguing about who was greatest or the Pharisees competing for the place of honor at banquets and in synagogues. He taught again after He had given them an example by washing their feet. Humility before God is nothing if it isn’t proved by humility before men.

Signs of humility in daily life –  The humble man or woman feels no jealousy or envy. Humble people can praise God when others are blessed instead of them. They are unshaken when others are praised and they themselves are forgotten. In God’s presence they have learned, like Paul, to say, “I am nothing at all” (2 Corinthians 12:11). They have received the Spirit of Jesus, who refused to chase after recognition or honor.

Disciples want to grow, and they should. But their aim shouldn’t be just for more boldness, joy, contempt for the world, zeal, or self-sacrifice. Even pagan philosophers who write self-help books and preach self-improvement would embrace those goals!

What set Jesus apart from all the good intentions on earth was the way He took up His cross daily. Death to self – becoming poor in Spirit, meek, humble and lowly – was Jesus’ aim.

Let us look at every difficult, testing situation as an opportunity to grow. Let us look at difficult people as God’s instrument for our purification.

The holiest will also be the humblest. Humility is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to live inside you and shine through you.

May God teach us that our thoughts and words and feelings about other people are the true test of our humility toward Him! May He teach us that our humility before Him is the only power that can enable us to be always humble before others!

5. Pride – The Root of Every Sin and Evil

The devil was thrown down from heaven because of his pride. His whole character is pride. Pride only seeks itself.

Pride can creep in where it is least expected. Two men went into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The “Pharisee” can worm his way into any place, no matter how sacred, if we let him. Pride can rear its head in the very temple of God, and can degrade the worship of God into a showcase for self-life.

Sometimes the Pharisee can even disguise himself in the clothes of a tax collector! People who confess their deep sinfulness need to be just as careful as those who claim a deep holiness. Right when you want your heart to become the temple of God, you will probably find those two men coming in to pray. And the “tax collector” will find that the greatest danger is not from the Pharisee next to him, who despises him, but from the Pharisee inside him, who congratulates himself on how well he repents! In God’s temple, when we think we are in the Most Holy Place, let’s be on guard against pride. Remember, even the devil can enter God’s presence.

We may laugh at someone who would be so blatant as to say, “I thank you that I am not like everybody else.” But that same attitude can often be found in our own feelings or words towards others.

When we respond with a serious attempt to listen and obey, God will reward—yes, reward—us with a painful discovery. We will find we have a shocking amount of pride—an unwillingness to consider ourselves nothing and to let others to consider us nothing, too. We will also discover an utter weakness to all our efforts, even in our prayers to God for help, to destroy the hideous monster of pride. Blessed is the person who now learns to put his or her hope in God and perseveres, despite all of the failures, in acts of humility before God and men.

It is one thing to experience a season of great humbling and brokenness. It is another thing entirely to have a humble spirit, to be clothed in humility, to have the mind of Christ that considers self to be the servant of all.

There is no pride so dangerous or subtle as religious pride. But there can grow in your heart subconsciously a secret habit of patting yourself on your back for your accomplishments. You can find yourself addicted to the drug of comparing yourself to others. You’ll recognize this spiritual disease, not always by the presence of blatant words or actions, but by the presence of self dominating your thoughts.

6. Humility and Sin

This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – and I was the worst of them all. (1 Timothy 1:15).

In our minds, we often link the word “humility” with certain bad feelings about ourselves that we are such terrible sinners. So we have a hard time imagining any other way to keep humble but to focus our thoughts on our sins.

By now, I hope, we all realize that humility means much, much more. We have seen that Jesus’ teachings and the apostolic writings strongly emphasize humility, often without mentioning sin at all. Long before sin entered into the picture, God created the universe to run on submission and surrender.

Jesus Himself lived a life of perfect humility, and He never sinned.

And the humility He imparts to us is not to make us think about sin more, but to practice sin much less. Humility has less to do with sin than with holiness and blessing. It is about self moving out of the way so that God can take the throne. When God is everything, self is nothing.

Grace demolishes sin. The greater our experience of grace, the more intense will be our awareness that we are sinners. It isn’t sin that keeps us truly humble, but God’s grace. Sin doesn’t make us realize we are sinners; grace does. Grace makes the our position of deep humility a place we will never leave.

7. Humility and Faith

 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from God alone. (John 5:44)

Faith and pride are enemies. Faith and humility are allies. We can never have more of genuine faith than we have of genuine humility. True, we can still have strong convictions in our minds while there is pride in our hearts, but a living faith, bursting with the power of God, is impossible.

Salvation comes through a cross and a crucified Christ. Salvation is union with, delight in, and participation in the humility of Jesus. No wonder our faith is so feeble if pride still controls us so much!

Are we willing to long and pray for humility as the most critical and blessed part of salvation?

Humility and faith are joined in the Scriptures more than many people realize. Twice Jesus praised someone for having great faith. The centurion said, “I am not worthy for You to come into my home.” He then acknowledged Jesus’ authority. Jesus was amazed and replied, “I haven’t seen faith like this in all the land of Israel!” (Matthew 8:8,20). The gentile woman threw herself at Jesus’ feet and said, “Yes, Lord, but even dogs are permitted to eat the crumbs that fall beneath their master’s table.” Jesus answered, “Woman, your faith is great” (Matthew 15:27-28).

The humility that brings a man or a woman to the point of being nothing before God at the same time removes every obstacle to faith.

Only one thing can cure you from the desire to receive honor from others. Only one thing can free you from the hypersensitivity and pain and anger that enslave you when you don’t get that honor. Give yourself to seek only the honor that comes from God. Let the glory of the all-glorious God be everything to you.

8. Humility and Death to Self

In human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on the cross. (Philippians 2:8)

Humility will take you down a path leading to death. Death to self is humility’s destination. When Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death, He blazed a new trail for us to walk in. There was only one way for Jesus to prove His utter surrender to His Father—the cross. The cross is our only way, too.

The most important mark of Jesus’ death is humility. Only humility leads to the cross, and only the cross can perfect humility. Humility and death to self are two ways of describing the same thing. Humility is the bud; in death to self, the fruit is ripened to perfection.

How can you and I die to ourselves? What does that phrase even mean, practically?

Look to Jesus for the answer. Death to self is not your work; it is God’s work. In Christ you are dead to sin. If you really want to enter into full fellowship with Jesus in His death and experience total deliverance from self, then humble yourself.

Voluntary humility is your one responsibility.

God will honor each deliberate choice you make to humble yourself, accepting it as a sacrifice, and using it to clear the way for His Son to reveal Himself in you. The path of humility leads to the death of self-life and the full and perfect experience of the wonderful truth that you are dead in Christ.

Believer, claim in faith the death and the life of Jesus as yours. Enter into His rest. Jesus committed His Spirit into the Father’s hands. So must you, as you humble yourself and descend each day into total, helpless dependence on God. He will raise you up and honor you. Each morning, sink into the tomb of Jesus by making a concrete choice before Him that your life will not be your own this day. As you live the rest of the day, keep reaffirming that choice, and the Life of Jesus will be seen in you. Let a willing, loving, peaceful, and happy humility be the evidence that you have indeed claimed your birthright—baptism into the death of Christ.

9. Humility through Humbling Situations

God had given Paul an awesome revelation. To keep him from becoming proud, God also gave him “a thorn in the flesh.” Paul’s first reaction was to ask God to remove the thorn—in fact, that was his second and third reaction, too! But Jesus answered that the trial was really a blessing, that in the weakness it brought, His grace and strength could become more real. So Paul immediately took a new attitude towards his thorn. Instead of simply enduring it, he became “glad to boast about it.” Instead of asking for deliverance, he rejoiced in it. Paul had learned that the place of humility is the place of blessing, power, and joy.

The highest lesson a believer has to learn is humility. Do you want to grow in holiness? Then remember: the road to holiness passes through humbling experiences. You could have intense consecration, fervent zeal, and deep experiences, but unless you receive God’s special dealings to humble you, you could grow prideful and self- important. Let’s never forget that the highest holiness is the deepest humility. And humility only comes if we give God permission to lead us through whatever discipline He requires to train us. He is our Faithful Lord.

Have we learned to regard a criticism, whether fair or not, as an opportunity to draw near to Jesus in quietness and peace? What about when someone brings us into a situation of trouble or difficulty that we didn’t ask for? Will we accept that our own pleasure and honor are worthless? Will we be grateful for the humbling? It is a great blessing—the deep happiness of heaven—to be so free from self that whatever is said about us or done to us is lost and swallowed up in the thought that Jesus is our inheritance.

Let us be glad to boast about our own weaknesses, about everything that can humble us and keep us low. The power of Christ will rest upon us. Christ humbled Himself, and so God honored Him. Christ will humble us, and keep us humble. Let’s join our hearts fully to His work! Let’s trustingly and joyfully accept everything that humbles us. We will discover that the deepest humility is the secret of the truest happiness, of a joy that no one can take away.

10. Humility and Exaltation

For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored. (Luke 14:11; 18:14)

The highest honor for any man or woman is to be a vessel, to receive and enjoy and demonstrate God’s glory. We can be that vessel only if we are willing to be nothing in ourselves so that God can be Everything for us. Water always fills the lowest places first. The lower and emptier a man bows before God, the quicker and fuller the inflow of God’s glory will be.

As the Life of God saturates and possesses you, there will be nothing so natural and sweet as to be nothing. You won’t need to think about self at all, because all of your attention will be focused on the One who is filling you. “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

It is only in finding God that I lose myself. Have you ever looked in a sunbeam, with all its beauty and brightness, and seen a tiny speck of dust floating and dancing in it? That’s what humility is like. Self becomes a little speck, bathed in the sunlight of His love.

—-

Ways to be Humble

1. Embrace what humbles you. Look on every frustration as a tool to humble you. Take full advantage of every opportunity to humble yourself before others so you can stay humble before God.

2. Pray for humility. Daily Litany of Humility.

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Prayers & Thoughts Going Forward…

“I have lost myself in finding You, Lord.”

“Jesus meek & humble of heart, make my heart like your heart.”

Recite Litany of Humility daily.

The holiest will also be the humblest.

My life will not be my own this day.

The road to holiness is paved through humbling situations.

 Humility before God is nothing if it isn’t proved by humility before men.

 And the humility He imparts to us is not to make us think about sin more, but to practice sin much less.

Comments

  1. Thank you. Its difficult to find other “catholics” who dare to read “protestant” writers. I myself love the modern day evangelist Joyce Meyer. That is how I found your writing on Murray. I also agree the Litanty of Humility is a daily necessity. Some days i wished i never signed up to follow God. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Pax vobiscum+

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