I don’t have enough humility to write a book on the subject, and I’ve got too much pride to attempt it. How could I promote it? “Hey, buy my fantastic best-seller about humility!” I’d be like the author who wrote a book called Humility and How I Attained It, by I. M. DeMann. For most of us, preaching about humility is an exercise of instant hypocrisy, or so we feel.
The fact is—true humility is the pith of Christlikeness. Biblical humility is the sap and spirit of verdant Christian living. It’s not a matter of developing an unhealthy self-image, but of developing a healthy image—not of ourselves—but of the Lord Jesus. It’s thinking realistically of ourselves and optimistically of Him. Someone said that humility isn’t thinking little of ourselves; it’s not thinking of ourselves at all, and of Him more and more.
The person who is biblically humble doesn’t go around groveling in the dirt and saying, “I’m an idiot, I’m no good, I’m cheap, I’m worthless.” After all, we’re the climax and crown of His creative genius. We’re made in His image. We’re worth more than many sparrows; we’re worth so much Christ He died for us. We’re heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ. We’re the King’s Kids. We’re gifted by His grace and destined for His glory.
Humility isn’t at matter of saying, “I’m worthless!” It’s saying, “He is worthy!”
It’s a matter of saying, “I’m a sinner, and He’s my Savior. I’m nothing without Him, but I can do all things through Him who gives me strength, for His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Though I’m not what I was, I’m not yet what I long to be. He’s perfecting that which concerns me. He who has begun a good work in me will carry it on to completion.”
If pride is the soil of sinfulness, humility is the heart of holiness. It’s the basic bread-and-butter attiude of: Jesus first, others second, and I’ll take the leftovers. I’m sent to serve.
If the serpent’s pride messed us up, the Savior’s humility can set us straight. If the pride of sin killed us, the Suffering Servant can raise us up.
Getting back to books on the subject…. There’s only one author I know whom I’d trust with this subject, and he wrote a remarkable book on humility, which was published in 1859. In my next post, I’d like to introduce him to you.