Friday, October 7, 2016

Humility by Andrew Murray

I first read Humility thirty years ago and I still remember being in awe of its revolutionary and uncomfortable truths. It's author, Andrew Murray (1828-1917), was a well-known writer and pastor from South Africa whose many books emphasize the deeper Christian life.

According to Murray, humility is the attribute that most Christians need but that most don't want. It's the "forgotten" virtue that enables us to be most like Christ. True humility involves dying to self and letting Christ live in you. A common misconception of "death to self" is that it annuls one's personality, but just the opposite is true. Murray says that the "death-life" enables us to be our true (as we were meant to be) selves because as we become less, we actually become more as Christ dwells in us in His fullness. Throughout the book he makes references to the idea that the main attribute of Satan was pride and the main attribute of Christ was humility. 

The life God gives is not all at once, but moment by moment, through the unceasing operation of His mighty power. Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is the first duty of the creature, and the root of every good quality. Likewise, pride, is the root of every sin and evil. It was when the Serpent breathed the poison of his pride - the desire to be as God - in the hearts of Adam and Eve, that they fell from their high position into all the wretchedness in which mankind is now sunk.

Another misconception about humility is that it makes us door mats. But as I think of the people I know who are truly surrendered to Christ, there is nothing "door-matty" about them. They have an inner strength and purpose that enables them be "careless" about what others think of them.

When we see that humility is something infinitely deeper than regret [over past sins], and accept it as our participation in the life of Jesus, we will begin to learn that it is our true goodness. We will understand that being servants of all is the highest fulfillment of our destiny as men created in the image of God.

Don't look at pride only as an unbecoming temper, nor at humility only as a decent virtue. The one is death, and the other is life.

This is a book to be read slowly, to savor and to pray over. It is not your average Christian self-help book because of it's emphasis on Christ presence and power in our lives rather than living  the Christian life by our own efforts. It's interesting that when I read this book a second time, I noticed this theme in Scripture everywhere. I'm glad Murray opened my eyes to it.

The version of Humility that I've linked to above was free at the time of this post. Previous Murray titles that I've reviewed are The Two Covenants, The Blood of Christ, and A Life of Obedience.


Anonymous said...

Oh, thank you. I read this about 20 years ago and need to reread. I love Andrew Murray, the depth of his writing and the breadth of the wisdom. A man of God. So glad we were near-neighbors.

Cathy said...

I loved this book too. I'd like to read it again some day.

Thanks for sharing. I'm visiting from the 'Saturday Review of Books' link-up.