Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I recently finished reading C.J. Mahaney's Humility: True Greatness. One of the first things that really caught my attention in the book was this quote from Mark Dever:
"C.J. Mahaney is not humble. At least, that's what he'll tell you. And that's one reason he's so well qualified to write this book. I've read it. I've seen humility in his life--and in the lives of those he's taught. If you're fighting pride--like I am--you should read it, too. And if you're not fighting pride, you really need to read it!"

As with his other books, Mahaney packs a lot of insight into a small volume. I could go on and on about the book, but instead I'll just share a few definitions he puts forth, and then some of the suggestions, or "strategies" he gives for weakening pride and cultivating humility.

His definitions:
"Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God's holiness and our sinfulness."

"Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him."

"... true greatness as biblically defined: Serving others for the glory of God."

Some strategies intended to "weaken pride and cultivate humility":
  • Reflect on the wonder of the cross of Christ. (p. 65)
  • Begin your day by acknowledging your dependence upon God and your need for God. (p. 69)
  • Begin your day expressing gratefulness to God. (p. 70)
  • Practice the spiritual disciplines - prayer, study of God's Word, worship. (p. 72)
  • Memorize and meditate on Scripture. (p. 73)
  • Cast your cares upon Him. (p. 74)
  • Study the attributes of God. (p. 87)
  • Study the doctrines of grace. (p. 90)
  • Study the doctine of sin. (p. 92)
  • Laugh often, and laugh often at yourself. (p. 94)
  • Identify evidences of grace in others. (p. 98)
  • Encourage others each and every day. (p. 111)
  • Invite and pursue correction. (p. 123)
  • Respond humbly to trials. (p. 137)

Mahaney also has some good advice for parents to help their children "become truly great in the eyes of God":
  • Be an example of greatness for them. (p. 158)
  • Clearly define true greatness for them. (p. 159)
  • Teach them to discern and admire true greatness. (p. 160)
  • Teach them to serve - and serve with them. (p. 165)

I've always been a fan of quotes, even though I know that they have limited value. I guess I've had so many throughout the years help me to understand things that I was maybe on the verge of understanding, or putting things in a perspective that I hadn't thought of before. Anyway, one line of Mahaney's in particular stuck out to me and gave me goosebumps:
"Here's an essential truth: To learn true humility, we need more than a redefinition of greatness; we need even more than Jesus' personal example of humble service. What we need is His death."

May our search for humility lead us always to the foot of the cross of Christ.
"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. " Philippians 2:5-11 (NASB)


Anonymous said...

And all God's people said, "Amen!" Thanks for this - I'm looking forward to reading it. What a great perspective. ~J (from across the pond)

mjm said...

I agree Josh. It was one of the 10 best books I've ever read.

Noah Braymen said...

Michael and Josh...

You guys should pray about doing a book study on this book on Wednesday nights for Compass plus...if you think you should you should talk to Pastor Tom!