Book Reflection // October 1, 2022
Humility by Andrew Murray
It has been a few weeks since I finished reading this short but powerful book on humility by Andrew Murray. Typically, I would dive right into writing my reflection as I engage with what I had learned in my reading. This book was a bit unique in that it raised numerous questions in my life that needed more immediate thought and attention. The concepts and implication of humility being prevalent in my heart have brought about a conviction that demands attention and meditation. I have been contemplating and meditating upon the role of humility in my life and the necessary changes that need to come about. This book has been instrumental in bringing my heart into alignment with the heart of Jesus. More than just a passing acknowledgment of truth being read, my mind and heart have been challenged to put into practice a life of humility that not only emulates the heart of Jesus but draws me ever closer to him.
The Humanity of Jesus
“What is the incarnation but His heavenly humility, His emptying Himself and becoming man.
What is His life on earth but humility, His taking the form of a servant. What is His atonement but humility.”
From the start of the book until the very end, Andrew Murray is repeatedly reminding us that the incarnation of Jesus is simply a demonstration of the humility of the Son of God. He demonstrates his humility by leaving his heavenly realm and taking humanity upon himself. I don’t think I truly ever understand the implication of these words. It seems such a simple thing to say and think about. It’s a story I hear each and every Christmas and as such it is easy to take for granted all the many assumptions and implications of this act. The eternal God and Creator of all that is seen and unseen took upon himself the form and nature of one of his creatures. He humbled himself to be found in appearance as a man. It is not an easy concept to really grasp because it is extremely difficult for us mortals to know what it means for the eternal to take on mortality. Yet it’s even more than this. As a man, Jesus continued to humble himself as he became the servant to all. Jesus took on the form of man to come and serve his creatures. He walked among us and experienced all that this mortal life has to offer. He was tempted in every way and to a degree unlike any other because he never sinned. He experienced all of our emotions and was overcome with happiness, laughter, sadness, and weeping. He humbled himself to literally walk in our shoes and experience all that we experience. As Murray later says, “Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature.” We do not have a God who is distant and uncaring. Our God loves us so much that he humbled himself to come and walk among us as one of us.
Humility in Daily Life
“The insignificant matters of daily life are the important tests of eternity because they prove what Spirit
truly dwells within us. It is in our most unguarded moments that we really show and see what we are.”
As Murray moved from a better understanding of the humility of Christ, he then begins to help us evaluate and focus on our own humility. I tend to regard the big moments in life as the key indicators of my faithfulness and commitment to Jesus. Those times in life when there is a moment seen by all where I can demonstrate my faithfulness and the power of the gospel. Moments where it is obvious that my every decision is important and I choose my words and actions carefully. What I miss (and have missed so often in the past) is that the seemingly insignificant moments are the actual canvas of my spiritual journey that is painting the picture of my heart. These small daily choices that I make every day are so significant. It is one thing to gird myself up for a brief moment and demonstrate godliness and faithfulness. It is another to have humility be so part of my life that it exudes in my every breath and action. Who am I truly in my innermost being? This will be revealed in those unguarded moments of life. Those times when I am alone with only myself… Do I spend this time indulging my darkest sinful desires or do I seek to draw near to Christ? Those times when I am hurt or betrayed by a friend… Do I say the right things for others to hear and then curse that friend in my heart and malign him with thoughts of degradation and revenge? These small moments that happen a thousand times a day are important. They are revealing and building my character. I am in need of choosing humility each and every moment of each and every day.
Humility and Happiness
“In trial, weakness, and trouble, He seeks to bring us low until we learn that his grace is all,
and to take pleasure in the very thing that humbles us. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.”
This is the very heart of bringing humility to flower in our hearts. In my pride, I chafe at the thought of having to endure a trial or trouble in this life. I see this trial and trouble as a sure sign that something is wrong and I must double my effort to rid myself of the problem. I see the trial or trouble as only a negative experience in this life. This is so ingrained in my thinking that even when I do acknowledge that the trial is here by the decree of God, then I begin to speak of enduring and persevering through the trial. I am hyperfocused on the negativity of the trial as it is seemingly impacting my life in the opposite manner of what I am expecting or wanting. I lose sight of God’s grace. My mind becomes so obsessed with getting rid of the “negative” that I lose all understanding of the grace of God in my life. The grace of God is given to me in abundance and is overflowing in my heart at any moment. This trial or trouble should lead me to drink deeply from the wellspring of God’s abundant grace. There is nothing wrong with working to alleviate and remove the trial or trouble that has come into my life, but it must be done in humility. I am not in control. My dependence is upon the Lord alone in all things. This trial is an avenue to experience Christ. As I acknowledge my weak and lowly state, I am buoyed by the grace of God penetrating and embracing me. In my pride, I will seek to solve all problems in my own strength. In humility, I will understand that I can do nothing apart from Christ. In both instances, I am working to alleviate the trouble. It is only as I acknowledge my inability and cry out to Jesus that I find peace and comfort and rest in every situation. It is only in my understanding of humility before my holy God that I find freedom. His grace is truly sufficient.
Simply a Vessel
“The highest glory of the creature is in being only a vessel, to receive and enjoy and show forth the glory of God.”
As I come away from this book, my heart has changed with both my heart and mind more focused on humility before God. I would like to say that it has been an easy path in learning humility, but it has not. It has been a journey filled with heartache, struggle, pain, toil, tears, anger, and sorrow. My pride is not something that simply goes away. Yet, this journey of seeing humility become my foundation of living has been good. This journey that the Lord is leading me on is drawing me closer and closer to the very heart of Christ. As I become more attuned to Christ in my prayer life, I thank him for bringing humility into my life. I thank him repeatedly for doing what is necessary to bring humility. It’s a scary thing to ask for humility as I know that the answer will involve pain and struggle at some level for my sin is deeply rooted in my heart and it will take all manner of effort and struggle to see humility grow and develop in my heart. This is what I need and want. Not just in the big moments of life, but in the daily routine matters. I want my every breath to be humble as I rejoice in the grace of God flowing in and through me.