I like to give away books – for different reasons. One reason is that a book is tangible. Even if the person does not read the book immediately and may even throw it in their junk drawer and forget about it, they may find it at a later date when it could be helpful to them.
A friend of mine, whom I highly respect, gave me a book on my birthday 3 years ago. I tried reading it then, but for some reason it didn’t hold my interest. It just wasn’t the “right time” for this particular book. Well, several days ago I got the book off my shelf and read it in only two sittings! This time, I could hardly put the book down and was very moved by its content. In fact, I think this book is one that I’ll plan to re-read once a year. So, what’s the book you ask?
It is on humility. Ugh. Not that, you might be thinking! Christian humility can get a bad name, as we can think of it as self-deprecation and walking around with a cloud of condemnation on your head. Humility can ironically turn into pride, as some people show off how humble they are – ha,ha – sad but true. This book tackles the virtue of humility from a more positive approach, as well as offers gentle warnings on how humility can veer off course.
The book is Humility by Andrew Murray. Perhaps you are familiar with this author who was well known in the 19th century. Because the book is past copyright limitations, you can find it free online. Fyi: There are some editions where they have updated the language for the modern reader. It is also a brief book. My edition has slightly bigger type than usual, and is only 120 pages long.
Murray presents humility as the highest and key virtue of all others. “Humility is not so much a grace or virtue along with others; it is the root of all, because it alone assumes the right attitude before God.” Indeed, pride is the root of most (if not all) sin. The book looks at the issue of humility from just about every perspective possible: humility in the life and teachings of Jesus, humility in the disciples, along with humility and…daily life, holiness, sin, faith, death to self, happiness, exaltation. “The highest lesson a believer has to learn is humility” is the message of the book, and I agree.
I would highly recommend this book to you, especially as we enter the advent season, and meditate upon Jesus who humbled himself by becoming human. Here are some random things I highlighted in the book:
It is easy to think we humble ourselves before God. Yet humility toward men will be the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real.
Water always fills the lowest places first. The lower, the emptier a man lies before God, the speedier and the fuller the inflow of the divine glory will be.
The danger of pride is greater and nearer than we think, especially at the time of our richest experiences.
Nothing can cure you of the desire to receive honor from men…except giving yourself to seek only the glory that comes from God.
Let all teachers of holiness…take warning. There is no pride so dangerous, none so subtle and insidious, as the pride of holiness.
Let us look at every brother or sister who irritates or troubles us as God’s means of grace.