by Andrew Murray

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. This truth can help us see why we need to be redeemed and how God has met that need.

The devil was thrown down from heaven because of his pride. His whole character is pride. When he hissed his words of temptation into Eve’s ear, his words dripped with the venom of hell. And when she listened and yielded her heart and will to the desire to be like God, knowing good and evil for herself, that venom entered her spiritual bloodstream and poisoned her life. Gone forever was the wonderful humility and dependence on God that would have guaranteed the everlasting happiness of the human race. Instead, human life became corrupted with the most terrible of all sin and curses, the poison of the devil’s own pride.

All of the wretchedness the world has seen began with that curse. Hellish pride—either our own or someone else’s—is responsible for all the misery we’ve experienced. All war and bloodshed among nations, all selfishness and suffering, all ambition and jealousy, every broken heart and bitter life, are the results of this same wicked pride.

It is because of pride that we need to be redeemed. If we are to grasp how desperately we need Jesus, we must see the terrible power that pride has over us.

The power that satan brought from hell and injected into human life is working daily—hourly—with incredible force throughout the world. People suffer from it. They fear it, fight against it, and try to run away from it. But they still don’t know where it comes from or why it is so strong. No wonder they have no clue about how to overcome it!

Pride’s power is in the spiritual realm, both inside and outside us. We need to confess it, hate it, and realize its satanic origin. Seeing pride for what it is may cause us to despair of ever overcoming it and removing it from our hearts. But it will also drive us to discover the supernatural power that is our only hope—the redemption of the Lamb of God. Our hopeless struggle against self and pride may seem even more hopeless when we think of the power of darkness that is against us. But eventually we will better realize and accept the power and life that are offered to us—the humility of heaven, brought into our hearts by the Lamb of God to cast out the devil and his pride.

If we need to look at Adam and Eve’s sin to understand the power of the sin that’s inside us, how much more do we need to know the power of the Second Adam, Jesus. He offers us a life of humility that is even more real and more lasting and more powerful than our pride. Our life is from and in Christ. We are to “let our roots grow down into Him,” for “we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God” (Col. 2:7,19).

The life of God, which entered the human race when Jesus was born, is the root where we must stand and grow. The same power that worked in Jesus, from the manger to the empty tomb, can work daily in us. Do you know what our main need is? It is to know and trust that the life that has been revealed in Christ is now our life. His life is waiting only for our permission to gain possession and mastery over our whole being.

We need to know Christ! We must see Him clearly. We especially need a revelation of the root of His character as our Redeemer: His humility. What did Jesus’ birth mean, except that with heavenly humility He was emptying Himself and becoming one of us? What was His life on earth about, if it wasn’t taking the form of a servant? What was the cross, other than the most humble act the universe has ever witnessed? “He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.” And what was Jesus’ ascension to God’s throne, except humility crowned with glory? “God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name.”

In heaven, where Jesus was with the Father, in His birth, in His life, in His death, and on His throne, everything was and is humility. Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature. He is eternal love humbling itself, clothing itself with meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us. Love is what makes God the servant of all, and humility is what makes Jesus who He is. Even on the throne, He is the meek and lowly Lamb of God.

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.

How much that is called by Jesus’ name really demonstrates this humility? Think about the lack of love, the indifference towards others’ needs, the sharp and critical judgment of others that we are so quick to excuse. Think of the temper and irritation, the bitterness and loneliness that have their root in pride. Pride only seeks itself.

Devilish pride creeps in almost everywhere. What would happen if believers were to become permanently guided by the humility of Jesus? Oh, for the meekness of Jesus in myself and in everyone around me! We must honestly set our hearts on Jesus’ humility, and how far we fall short of it. Only then will we begin to feel what Christ and His salvation really are.

Do you believe in Jesus? Then study His humility! It is the secret, the hidden root of your redemption. Sink down into it more deeply day by day. Believe with your whole heart that Christ—God’s gift to us—will work in us, making us what the Father wants us to be.

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