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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3
I’m currently reading a book titled, Humility, by Andrew Murray. It was suggested for staff and families by the Head of School where my son attends.
Humility, or being humble, is something I’ve felt I needed to work on, but to be honest, had not yet humbled myself to actually do. This book is teaching me what humility is and making me aware of how it can make a difference in my life, my relationships with others, and the world around me .
I started admiring humility in others long before I knew what it was. For example:
- People of impressive titles or great accomplishments who had reason to boast and think highly of themselves, but did not. Instead, they wanted to be seen and treated like ordinary people.
- People who put others’ needs ahead of their own.
- People who do good things truly for the purpose of helping others, not to gain favor or attention for themselves.
- As I’ve grown in faith, I’ve also come to appreciate people who find their identity in their character, holding themselves accountable to God, not identifying themselves by titles or accomplishments.
- People who give glory to God rather than seeking and keeping glory for themselves.
Written from a Biblical stance, Murray asserts that humility is the core of Christ’s being, so if we want to be like Jesus, we need to start by being humble.
I am surprised to find that striving for humility is giving me a fresh approach all aspects of my life. Ironic, isn’t it, that what is giving me a fresh approach to life, is actually something that has been in existence since the beginning of time! Sadly, that’s proof of how deprived our society is of humility.
Now, when I share these things with you, I risk compromising the topic of humility if it sounds like I’m boasting. Please be assured that I am sharing about this book and the impact God is making through this book, not boasting about how wonderful I am because I am reading it. That is not it at all. I feel inspired by what I am reading, and want to share the inspiration with you.
I don’t want to give much away about the book itself because I hope you will choose to read it for yourself. It’s full of Biblical references that add richness to Murray’s message and teaching. However, I will share that Murray makes one wonder how the world could be a different place if people didn’t just seek to be more humble, but more specifically, if they acted with Christ-like humility. Think about that, but don’t try to respond in this moment. Keep that thought with you as you go through your day.
When, where and how could Christ-like humility make a difference in how we treat others and how they respond to us? How might we cope differently or approach challenging situations if we do so by starting with Christ-like humility? What about when we pray or present ourselves to Christ?
How can we model Christ-like humility for our children?
From the opposite perspective, how have you benefitted when others were humble with you? Like yesterday when I responded to a simple request with a negative reply. What was I thinking? I should have immediately humbled myself by apologizing and correcting my error. Instead, the other person acted with humility and graciously continued as if no offense had been made. I still need to apologize and will do so right away.
Part of our church mission statement is “to humbly serve in love.” (Weddington United Methodist Church) Christ humbled Himself to serve others. As Christians, we are to do the same.
I need to need to strive for Christ-like humility in speech, thought, word, and deed. I need to be more humble when I’m driving, feel impatient, receive correction or instruction from others, and in my interaction with other people – not just what I say, but how I say it, and sometimes what I’m thinking. I’m going to print the word “humility” on pieces of paper and put them around the house and in my car as reminders.
This book has made me realize that I am prone to act more out of humanity than humility, so I have a new mantra for myself: “Humility before humanity.” Hopefully that will be a good reminder for me, too.
In no way do I consider myself to be an authority on the topic of humility. Hardly! I’m just beginning to be aware of my need for humility in the core of my being, too.
I hope you will read Andrew Murray’s book, Humility. There is much that I am not sharing, so much for you to discover for yourself.
Blessings to all,
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. – Romans 12: 12-13
One of the things I love about living in the South is the crepe myrtle trees. They are flowering trees with slender, graceful trunks, deep green foliage, and the most beautiful and profuse blooms of any flowering tree I’ve seen. When crepe myrtles are in full bloom, the blooms cover most of the foliage! You look at them and all you see is vibrant color! Even better is that they have a long blooming season, so we can enjoy them all summer.
To my dismay, this hasn’t been a good year for crepe myrtles. I think it’s because we’ve had such a rainy, cool summer. Crepe myrtles seem to do best in hot, sunny weather. Consequently, many trees didn’t start blooming until July and their blooms were sparse. It was disappointing for those of us who anxiously wait to see them each year.
Often I remarked that the crepe myrtle trees just aren’t as pretty this summer, attributed their lackluster performance to the weather, and hoped next year they’d be back to their usual, beautiful selves. However, this morning I looked out at the crepe myrtles in our yard and realized I gave up on them too quickly! It’s now August, when crepe myrtles would usually start winding down, and they’re reaching full bloom! There is nothing wrong with the crepe myrtles this year. They’re just late bloomers!
Wow. I’d given up on this trees this year. When they weren’t full bloom by early July I assumed this wouldn’t be a good year for them. This makes me wonder how many other things I’ve given up on too quickly. Have there been situations that didn’t progress the way I thought they should, so I assumed they wouldn’t work out and gave up? What about people? Have their been times when people didn’t perform as I expected, failed to meet my initial expectations, or were slow to respond, causing me to give up on them?
If so, who am I to think that things should respond according to my timing? Isn’t life as a Christian about THY timing? Is this world about meeting my expectations or THY expectations?
Outcomes aren’t in my hands, they’re in God’s hands! It’s all about HIS plans and purposes, not mine. Who am I to give up on His plans?!
In Christ we’re to have hope for the future. Through Christ we’re to seek perseverance. With Christ we’re to remain prayerful and hopeful in all things, trusting God and not giving up.
On my desk sits a card given to me by the mother of a friend who lost her battle with cancer, but won the battle to be with our Lord. On the card is the picture of an angel and this verse from Romans 12: 12-13 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need.
Dear God, Please forgive me for the times I’ve given up too easily on people and situations that were late bloomers. I was a late bloomer and you didn’t give up on me! Thank You for that. Please help me remain hopeful and not give in to discouragement. Instead, I need to be patient and prayerful, trusting You with the outcomes, and allow You too accomplish YOUR will instead of giving in to mine. May it all be for your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.