In addition to Stott’s devotional that we will be reading throughout the year, Jim and I are continuing with our habit of reading great books out loud with each other.
Last year, one of the many books we read together was a C. J. Mahaney book entitled The Cross Centered Life. An excellent book, by the way. This week we began another book authored by him: Humility: True Greatness. We are only a couple of chapters into this work, and already I know that I am in for a challenging read.
Joshua Harris writes in the foreword:
“In place of true humility we learn certain words or phrases that we believe make us sound humble: ‘Oh, really, it was nothing’ or ‘Anyone could have done it.’ We cast our eyes down and shrug our shoulders or maybe even blush. Of course, we don’t really mean it — inside we’re congratulating ourselves for how humble we look and feel. We want that reputation but don’t know how to get to the reality. Like children playing dress-up in their parents’ clothes, we’re only acting humble; none of it really fits us.”
He goes on to say:
“What I love about Humility: True Greatness is that it takes our focus away from the human audience we’re so often preoccupied with and reminds us of the one Observer, our only Sovereign and Savior, whose attention can be captured by a heart and life that displays genuine humility.”
Mahaney writes in the introduction:
“So let me make this clear at the outset: I’m a proud man pursuing humility by the grace of God. I don’t write as an authority on humility; I write as a fellow pilgrim walking with you on the path set for us by our humble Savior. I can only address you with confidence in the great and gracious God who has promised to give grace to the humble (see James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). That promise forms the heart of this book. And that promise is for every one of us who turns from his or her sins and trusts in the Savior.”
It is with a touch of fear that I move forward in this book. I am well aware that I have my moments of pride, and can actually rationalize my feelings…even justify them. But God sees right through my rationalizations. And I believe this book will lead me to an honest evaluation of my own heart. I fear because I know it won’t be easy — conviction by the Holy Spirit cuts deep.
But I trust that the Scripture is true — and that God will indeed give grace and more grace as I wrestle with the issues of pride. I pray that I will grow more and more truly humble. Not just by appearance before men. But deep within … before the all-knowing, gracious and loving God.