I have started to read Humilty: True Greatness by CJ Mahaney (CJM). I am not sure I like it but I do know it is good for my soul. As I am working my way through it I thought I would share a few of my favourite quotes.
1 Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
2 All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.
I have a problem with verse 1 as I have heard it preached as a text for the type of church we should look to build – but, humble, contrite and trembles at my [God’s] word sounds like a great aim.
John Calvin said,
“It is evident that man never attains to a true self knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such a contemplation to look unto himself”
“Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in the light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness”
“At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend…Pride is itself the essence of all sin”
“Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon him…Pride takes innumerable forms but has only one end: self glorification“
CJM talks about Mark 10 and the request of James and John to have the most important seats in his kingdom. He comments that whilst jesus does not tell them that their desire for greatness is wrong he does correct the method they look to achieve it by,
“As sinfully and culturally defined pursuing greatness looks like this: Individuals motivated by self interest, self indulgence, and a false sense of self sufficiency pursue selfish ambition for the purpose of self glorification.
Contrast that with the pursuit of true greatness as biblically defined: Serving others for the glory of God. This is the genuine expression of humility this is true greatness as the Saviour defined it”
He goes on to talk about true humility coming only through the death of Jesus, and hence our own need is death as a precursor to humility.