Friday, February 27, 2009

A Study on Humility

I've been reading Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney. What a life changing book! Just this one sentence from Scripture has had a great impact on me:

God is opposed to the proud, yet gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

I have felt truly challenged to mortify pride and put on humility, as well as encouraged to put into practice some of the practical application C.J. offers. Humility requires both purposeful application and a practical strategy, and here are some of C.J.'s recommendations for our mornings:

Reflect on the wonder of the cross.
C.J. believes this is the most important habit. We must survey the wonderful cross of Jesus Christ on which the Prince of Glory died. What else could crush our pride more than the continual realization of why Jesus went to the cross. It was for my sin. A few lines from the hymn When I survey the wondrous cross sum it up: When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. I love this quote by John Stott: "Every time we look at the cross, Christ seems to be saying to us, "I am here because of you. It is your sin I'm bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying."
Begin your day acknowledging your need for God.
This is purposing by grace that our first thought of the day will be an expression of our dependence on God, our need for God, and our confidence in God.
Begin your day expressing gratitude to God.
Michael Ramsey said "Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not grow." How true! When we greet our Savior with gratitude (rather than grumbling) we can grow in humility. Is this statement true about you?
I am an alert observer of answered prayer and am constantly sweetening my spirit, inviting others to join me in giving thanks.
That's a very good one to ponder and strive for. An ungrateful person is a proud person. There are countless signs of God's provision, presence, kindness and grace in our lives, if we are careful observers. C.J. exhorts us, "Let us recognize every moment that whatever grace we receive from God is so much more than we're worthy of, and indescribably better than the hell we all deserve."
Practice spiritual disciplines.
Prayer, study of God's Word, and worship. I love how these are called disciplines. Discipline is never easy. We must work to accomplish this. So many things pull us in a million different directions all day, but we must discipline ourselves and our time to make these priorities. These things are a daily demonstration and declaration of our dependence and need for God.
Cast your cares on Him.
What a privilege that He loves us so much and doesn't just encourage us that He is there for us, but He commands us to cast our cares on Him. C.J. explains how pride is really at the center of anxiousness and worry. When we are experiencing those, the root issue is that we are trying to be self-sufficient. God wants us to acknowledge our need for Him, be free from care and worry, and be characterized by joy and peace.
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