by Andrew Murray

Preface: Why Focus on Humility?

There are three things that should motivate me to be humble. Humility is the only normal way for me to live as a man. This healthy desire to take a rightful place under God moves the angels in heaven, just as it did Adam and Eve when they were freshly created and Jesus when he lived as the carpenter from Galilee. Humility also gives me hope as a sinner. It appeals to us humans in our fallen condition and points out the only way to return to our right place in Godís creation. Finally, humility strengthens me as a saint. Grace teaches us that as we lose ourselves in the overwhelming greatness of Godís love, humility before Him is caught up in everlasting blessedness and worship.

Sadly, Christians have focused almost all of their attention on that second motive, on why sinners need to humble themselves. Some people have even gone so far as to say that itís a good thing for Christians to keep on sinning, to keep them humble. How foolish, and how sad! Others have thought that the secret of humility is to walk around with dark clouds of condemnation hanging over their heads. These misunderstandings have robbed Godís children of their inheritance. Too many of us donít realize how wonderful and natural it is to become nothing, so that Jesus can be our All in All! We havenít been taught that it isnít sin that humbles us the most, but grace. Who are those who will bow down the lowest at Jesusí feet? It will be the men and women whom He has led out of their sinfulness and filled with awe at their glorious God as their Creator and Redeemer.

In the thoughts that follow I have chosen to focus attention almost exclusively on the humility that is fitting for redeemed people. I assume that most of you already understand that a sinner should be humble. But even more importantly, I believe that if you are to experience Jesus in His Fullness, you need to understand thoroughly your own need for humility. If Jesus is your example, your pattern, then you need to know what motivated Him to be humble. If we are going to take our stand with Jesus, we need to be on the same ground Heís standing on. Thatís where weíll grow to become more like Him. If we are going to become humble before God and our fellow manóif humility is to become our joyówe canít think that humility is just a sense of shame for our sin. We also have to understand it separate and apart from all sin as a covering with the beauty and blessedness of heaven and of Jesus Himself.

Just as Jesus found His glory in taking the form of a servant, He has also told us, ďThe greatest among you must be a servantĒ (Matt. 23:11). He simply was teaching us the truth. Nothing is so wonderful and godly as being the servant and helper of all! The faithful servant who recognizes his or her position finds a real pleasure in meeting the needs and desires of the Master or His guests. When we see that humility is something far deeper than just feeling sorry for sin and accept it as taking part in the life and heart of Jesus, we will begin to see it as our true nobility. We will begin to see that being servants of all is the highest fulfillment of our destiny, as human beings created in the image of God.

When I look at my own experience, along with that of other Christians I have known throughout the world, I am amazed how little humility is sought after as the distinguishing feature of being Jesusí disciple. In the activities of daily life in the home and with others, and in the more special fellowship with Christians as we work for Jesus, there is far too much evidence that humility is not held up as the highest character trait to seek after. People donít seem to realize that humility is the only root out of which other good character traits can grow. It is the one indispensable condition of true fellowship with Jesus. Unfortunately, people looking for a deeper holiness have not always pursued it with increased humility. Test your heart to see whether meekness and lowliness are the main ways you are seeking to follow the meek, humble Lamb of God!

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