Thursday, April 10, 2008

Humility: True Greatness

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

I just finished reading Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney. It made me realize that pride has lost much of its shock value, and it had grown roots even deeper than I had imagined. We need to declare complete and total war against pride and realize that it isn’t a battle we can win on our own. Desiring humility isn’t enough. I need to actively and consistently look to God and acknowledge my complete dependence upon Him.

In C.J. Mahaney’s words, “Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him.”

I appreciated several things about Humility: True Greatness. A few things include:

1. C.J. Mahaney directs us to the supreme example of Jesus Christ. We are nothing in and of ourselves, and we should not compare ourselves with other people. Our significance must be measured next to the majesty and greatness of God. That is where true humility is found.

2. The author uses stories from his own life to help us laugh our way into understanding the principles of pride vs. humility. Stories about cream cheese and the tire fiasco (you need to read the book to understand) are funny, but they are carefully chosen tools to make the lessons memorable.

3. C.J. Mahaney doesn’t spend time on the appearance of pride, because God doesn’t care what we appear to be. He cares about what we are. He cares about our relationship with Him. I know it is often easier for me to rid myself of the appearance of pride than to dig down to the base of my pride and dig it out by its roots. Asking the Lord for His help and depending completely upon Him can make humility more than a makeup job that isn’t even skin deep.

4. The book provides practical tips to help in your battle against pride. This is not a set of rules set in stone. Rather, it is a list of suggestions that will bring you closer in your relationship with God. Included are:

a. Begin your day by acknowledging your dependence upon God and your need for God.
b. Begin your day expressing gratefulness to God.
c. Practice the spiritual disciplines – prayer, study of God’s Word, worship. Do this consistently each day and at the day’s outset, if possible.
d. At the end of the day, transfer the glory to God.
e. ...And many others!

Humility: True Greatness isn’t long, but it holds a lot of wisdom. I will keep it in easy reach for future encouragement.


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.

Isaiah 66:2


Anna Naomi said...

Good review! Now I really need to go and read this book! =)

Anonymous said...

Miss Moore,

I stumbled upon your 2006 posts regarding your ancestor Moses Smith and have a question for you.

I am a graduate student in American history and am currently writing a paper on the Christian missionary efforts to the Miami Indians in Indiana during the eighteenth century. I've run across some of the quotes you provided from Moses Smith, but don't know how to cite them.

Do you know where the "originals" are located? Are they letters? I've read there is some connection to a book by T.T. Martin, but it is very murky.

I look forward to your reply.

Doug Cline, Carmel, Indiana

P.S. I'm not sure of your age, but if you are not an adult, please check with your parents before replying. As a father of four daughters, I believe in caution when corresponding with strangers on the internet.

Becc@ said...

Wow, looks like a really good book! Makes me want to get it. I know I could use a lot more humility in my own life. Thanks for doing the review, I really appreciated it!

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

Mr. Cline,

Your paper sounds fascinating! I have a complete transcription of Moses Smith's autobiographical letter and obituary (?), but I am not sure of the original’s location -- if it still exists. My copy was included in a book of genealogy information and records compiled by my great grandmother and her siblings. I can send you a photocopy of the transcription if you would like.

Additionally, I have the accounts written by his wife Patsy and daughter Grace.

If you would like to share any of your research or your paper, you would have a ready audience in me. I would love to learn more about the missionary movement my great, great, great grandfather was involved in.

I hope this helps.

Elizabeth Moore