Pursuing Humility

8 01 2011

On my flight back to St. Louis I started re-reading Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney. If I needed to pinpoint one area of my life that I most obviously and consistently struggle with, that area would be pride. I am constantly amazed at how easily pride manifests itself in how I speak and act. Even when I am convicted of my sinful pride, I seemingly instantaneously forget the truths I know about God and man as I allow my pride to once again rule my heart.

There are many areas of my Christian walk that I want to grow in through this year, many of which have been longstanding goals since I have been saved by the grace of God. One of these is humility. I do not simply want to speak kindly or serve willingly, although these are good things. I want my heart to be completely humbled by the majesty God and the humility of the Son, Jesus Christ, that I would live out Philippians 2. My desire is that I would so understand the humility of Jesus in His incarnation and sacrifice on the cross that I would pursue that same humility in my life. Also, I want my soul to grasp the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess this truth. That I would have no reason to boast in anything but my God.

Through contemplating my desire to grow in humility, I have come to realize that many of my previous goals to grow in different areas of my faith have quickly faded. In reading Humility: True Greatness, I realized I am all too often guilty of a dangerous sin. Complacent acknowledgement of truth. I find it easier to appreciate truth than to be transformed by truth. I hear a convicting sermon and resolve to pursue that spiritual discipline, but the next week I cannot even remember that conviction. I may hear an amazing testimony of a Christian missionary taking up their cross for Christ or hear of persecuted Christians giving up everything to proclaim their faith. Sometimes it may be reading the biographies of incredibly faithful heroes of the faith. Whatever the conviction, I easily fall into the trap of being satisfied with knowing. Yes, I will say I want to live for Christ, but there is no pursuit. One of the reasons why I appreciate C.J. Mahaney’s books so much is because he doesn’t let us off that easily. His books are filled with the truths of Scripture, and he ensures that we understand why he is telling us these truths. There is both teaching and application. A few sentences from his first chapter on applications:

“Here’s a scary thought: It’s possible to admire humility while remaining proud ourselves…And at this moment you may be deceiving yourself into thinking that you are making progress against pride simply because you are reading a book about humility. (Though I hope that’s not true!)”

“Merely being inspired by the promise of humility or the meaning of true greatness is not sufficient; nor is it enough to also be educated about the perils of pride. If there’s ever to be meaningful transformation in our lives, if we are to make progress in restraining pride and manifesting humility, there must be the purposeful application of truth– an effort and pursuit on our part that God will use for sanctifying transformation in our lives.”

So as I seek humility before God and man, one of the things I resolve to do is to preach truth to myself. In the same chapter on humility C.J. says, “Sin doesn’t wake up tired, because it hasn’t been sleeping. When you wake up in the morning, sin is right there, fully awake, ready to attack. So rather than be attacked by sin in the morning I’ve chosen to go on the offensive. From the moment I awake, I’ve learned to make statement to God about my dependence upon God, and in this way I’m humbling myself before God.” I do not want my conviction over my pride to become a fleeting feeling. I know that it will be an active battle and I fight the war with God’s word. So two of my spiritual goals this year are aimed at actively fighting pride and cultivating a heart of humility. 1. I will memorize a Bible verse every week 2. I will pray for someone from St. Louis and someone from California everyday. I think it comes down to one of my favorite passages in Scripture that I’ve quoted before in a post…

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:12-13

I will do my best to be faithful in pursuing holiness and pray that God will do His work in using what little I offer to produce fruit in my life and do great things for His glory. (I will refrain from any exegesis since this was supposed to be a “short” post. But I guess it’s all relative, since it is shorter than many of my other posts) Also, if you have read this far, I would definitely appreciate prayer for everything I’ve written. Thanks.

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