by Andrew Murray

Humility: The Glory of God’s Creation

The twenty-four elders fall down and worship the One who lives forever and ever. And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created everything, and it is for Your pleasure that they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:10-11).

God wanted one thing when He created the universe: to show in it the glory of His love, wisdom, and power. He meant for human beings to share in His perfection and blessedness as part of that creation. God wanted to reveal Himself in and through created beings by filling them to the brim with His own goodness and glory. But God did not give Adam and Eve some independent goodness for them to claim as their own apart from Him. No way!

God is ever living, ever present, and ever active. He upholds all things with His powerful Word. All things exist in Him. So the relationship of man to God could only be through continual, absolute, total dependence. God created by His power, and He must hold His creation together by that same power. We only have to look back to our origin to realize we owe everything to God. Our main goal, our highest good, and our only happiness—now and forever—is to offer ourselves to God as empty vessels that He can fill, to show His power and goodness.

God doesn’t give us life once and for all, and then leave. He gives us life moment by moment, with a constant working of His mighty power. Humility—the place of total dependence on God—is our primary duty and highest good. That’s just how the universe is put together!

So pride—the loss of this humility—is the root of every sin and evil. When did the devil and his angels start down that road of disobedience that led to them being cast down from the light of heaven into outer darkness? It was when they began to be focused on themselves. When the serpent injected the venom of his pride—the desire to be like God—into Adam and Eve, they, too, fell from the special place God had made for them. They dove headlong into all of the wretchedness you see their descendants in now.   In all of heaven and earth, pride and exalting yourself is the gate to hell—and its greatest curse.

It is obvious, then, that nothing can be right again until our lost humility is restored. Humility is the original and only true basis of relationship a human being can have with God. Jesus came to bring humility back to earth, to make us sharers in it, and by it to save us. In heaven, He humbled Himself to become a man. The humility we see in Him, he possessed in Heaven. Humility brought Jesus, and Jesus brought humility, down to earth. Once He was here, “He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying” (Phil. 2:8). His humility gave His death its value, and so became our redemption. Now the salvation He offers us is nothing less than being joined to His life and death, His character and spirit. His own humility is the foundation of His relationship with the Father and His work to redeem us. He took our place and fulfilled our destiny by His life of perfect humility. His humility is our salvation. His salvation is our humility.

If our salvation is real, our lives should be stamped with the mark of being delivered from sin and restored to our place as God’s vessels. Our whole relationship to God and to other people must be marked by humility, through and through. Otherwise, how could we live in God’s presence, experiencing His love and the power of His Spirit? Without taking our place of dependence, we can’t have a lasting faith or love or joy or strength. Life will be full of ups and downs. Humility is the only soil where Christ-like character can take root. A lack of humility is the only explanation you need for every flaw and failure you have. 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. God gave us the ability to think logically for a reason. If we can only see our absolute need for His command that we be humble, we will want to obey, with all our minds. But God’s people have not really understood His call to humility. Our minds have been dull to its importance.

Humility is not a thing we bring to God. It is also not a thing God gives to us. It is simply the realization of what nothings we really are, when we truly see how God is Everything, and when we clear out room in our hearts so that He can be everything for us. We have to understand that this realization is the only noble thing we can ever really think or do. We must make a choice, with our wills, minds, and emotions, to become empty vessels that God can fill with His life and glory. Then we will see that humility is simply acknowledging the truth about who we are and yielding to God His rightful place.

For true disciples who are pursuing holiness, humility should be the number one evidence of their righteousness. But how rare this humility is on our planet today! It may be that the teaching and example of those who are supposed to be leaders in God’s House has never reflected the emphasis He gives humility. This truth has been almost forgotten: 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.

Many Christians are probably just like me. We knew the Lord a long time without realizing that meekness and lowliness of heart should be the distinguishing feature of the disciple, as they were of the Master. Humility doesn’t just “happen.” We have to want it. It requires faith, prayer, and practice. As we lean into God’s Word, we will see that Jesus gave His disciples clear and frequent teaching on this point. We will also see how slow they were to understand it.

From the start, let’s admit that nothing comes quite so naturally to us—and nothing is so hidden in our blind spots—as pride. That’s why it is so dangerous. Let’s realize that nothing but a determined and persevering seeking of God will open our eyes to see how lacking we are in humility and how feeble we are in obtaining it! Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus until our souls are filled with love and admiration for His humility.   And let’s believe that, when we are broken down under a sense of our pride and realize our inability to get rid of it, that Jesus Christ Himself will give us this grace as a part of His wonderful Life within us.

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