In the twelfth and last chapter of Humility, Andrew Murray deals with the final outcome of true humility - exaltation of the humble one by God. The author begins with multiple New Testament citations, starting with Jesus' teaching in Luke 14:11: "He that humbles himself shall be exalted." This important lesson was repeated by our Lord in Luke 18:14, and was echoed by James in James 4:10, and by Peter in 1 Peter 5:6. The concept is key to Christian believers. Pastor Murray then goes on to make some of the following points in his final chapter:
1. The Christian is commanded to humble self. This fact is repeated several times in this chapter. Pride, the enemy of humility, is conquered first by one taking a humble position before God and man. Then, the author declares, God does His work, which includes casting out pride, losing self, and then being exalted into the likeness of Jesus. The command to humble self is not easily obeyed, and will be met by failure at times in attempting to obey. The important aspect is to be persistent in trying, and to have faith in the grace that is present and will be made even more abundant for eventual victory. Humbly identify pride in oneself, and God will be faithful to exalt. He will remind one to be humble, and will give more grace. That deserves all of one's thanks.
2. God deals with man in two stages in this arena. First, there is the time of preparation, which includes effort with failure to humble oneself, but then with training and discipline, partial success and the promise of greater things. Secondly, God brings a "time of fulfillment" in which "faith inherits promise," and "enjoys what it had so often struggled for in vain." This is a joint activity between God and man. Man's obligation is effort and obedience in attaining a humble state, and in knowing one's weaknesses. That leads to God's promise of dying to self, and to His exaltation. The whole process begins with man's total ignorance of all these things, and grows into "a longing for God to be all."
3. Man's sincere attempts to obey God's command to "humble yourself" will lead to two conclusions: he/she has a depth of pride and a natural unwillingness to be nothing; and there is a weakness in his/her efforts and even her prayers to conquer pride. One must put only hope in God to defeat pride and have humility before God and man. Murray gives his own version of "practice makes perfect": he states that human acts establish habits which become one's "will" and "character." Therefore by repeated humbling of oneself one's will is strengthened by God into the nature of humility. By humbling oneself, more grace is made available, such that pride is conquered, and Jesus comes into one's heart to live "meek and lowly" forever.
This chapter's beginning Scripture is from Paul's epistle, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: "Most gladly . . . will I . . . glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, for when I am weak then am I strong." Andrew Murray uses this comment by Paul to develop the concept that true happiness in believers comes only from humility. Here are some of Pastor Murray's points from Chapter 11, the next to last chapter of this book:
1. Paul seemed to express here the basic idea of humility, which he received from some type of affliction. When he asked for its removal, the Lord told him that it was a blessing, that His grace might be shown through it. So Paul did more than simply put up with his affliction; he gladly gloried and took pleasure in it.
2. Murray states that Christians must go through stages to get to having humility. First there is fear of the humbling situation and attempts to avoid or get away from it. Then there is the seeking to obey the Lord's commands to be humble, but meeting utter failure due to a sense of the burden of the situation. There is no seeking of humility at all expense. Finally there is the revelation of Jesus, leading to the banishment of all self-seeking, delight in every humiliation, and the choice of humility as the highest blessing of our Lord. Paul went through all of that, and we are to learn his lesson.
3. Once again, as in previous chapters, Pastor Murray makes the point that many Christians may be devoted and have zeal for God and Christ, being gifted believers and teachers who have "heavenly experiences," but be lacking in humility. There is always the danger of religious self-exaltation in that setting. Paul had some of that, and had to learn how to be nothing, that Jesus Christ might be all in him. Believers must die to self, and learn the pleasure of lowliness, glorying in weakness, that God might be all. "The highest holiness is the deepest humility," the author concludes. Such humility does not come by itself or by man's efforts, but through "special dealing" by the Lord for His servant.
As we get into the last three chapters of this book, Andrew Murray takes a closer look at the key to humility - dying to self so that God might be all in oneself. The Scriptural basis for this chapter is Paul's description of Jesus in Philip. 2:8: "He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death." Death to self is an extremely difficult accomplishment, but one that Pastor Murray enlightens us about. Here are some of this chapter's helpful points:
1. The author begins by stating that humility is the path to death, and that the perfect outcome of humility is death to self. Jesus chose the path of "humility unto death" as the only way that He proved that He fully surrendered His human nature to God. That example shows us that our humility is the only way of proving our surrender of all to God. It is the only way we are freed from fallen man's nature; humility is the foundation of our new nature in Christ.
2. Murray makes the interesting point that only in His death did Jesus allow His Spirit to come and dwell in men. His death brought into us all the power of His life in that way. Only humility accepts death, and only death perfects humility. Their nature is one in the Spirit.
3. The point is again made that humility means the death of self, to be nothing before God. The example of Jesus' reluctance to take "the cup," but then His humbly surrendering all of His own (as man) will to God's will unto death, is our example of giving up our own will and dying to self. Jesus needed humility to die to the tempting of worldly sin; He never would have died for us without that humility.
This chapter begins with Andrew Murray citing a question Jesus asked those with Him, in John 5:44: "How can you believe, which rather honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?" The author uses this Scripture as a springboard to examine the relationship between humility and faith. Here are some of his points:
1. Pastor Murray uses the analogy of the store window pane, through which outside viewers cannot reach or hold anything inside the store, to liken that to the "pane" of pride, which keeps Christians from grasping the "inside" prizes of peace, rest, love, joy and "abiding communion and fruitfulness." Murray then argues that pride makes faith impossible, because pride and faith oppose each other, while faith and humility are of the same root. He states, ". . . we can never have more of true faith than we have of true humility." One may have Christian conviction and knowledge while still being motivated by pride, but be without humility, making "living faith impossible."
2. The definition of faith is then given: "the confession of nothingness and helplessness, the surrender and the waiting to let God work." Faith brings humility with its dependence fully on God, and claims only what is given in grace. Pride means one is self-seeking, self-willing, and self-exalting, and means that self is placed such that God cannot be all.
3. Faith makes one focus on divine things, seeking only the glory that comes from God, while pride seeks one's glory in this life. That makes true faith impossible. Pastor Murray points out that salvation comes through Christ on the cross, and with fellowship with Him in His life's and cross-borne humility. Our faith is weak when pride blocks this association and makes us unable to even properly pray for and desire humility, when humility is the most needed aspect of salvation. And Murray reminds us that humility and faith go together in the Gospels, and cites the examples of the humble centurion (Matt 8:8-10) and the humble mother from Sidon (Matt 15:27-28), both of whom were praised by Jesus for their faith after they each made statements of humility.
The focus of this chapter is shown by Andrew Murray's choice of opening Scripture; he cites Paul's self-identification in 1 Timothy 1:15: "Sinners, of whom I am chief." Pastor Murray then approaches the topic of humility as it relates to man's sinfulness. Some of the points of this chapter include:
1. Many of us have been taught that humility is associated with penitence for sin; that means that we become spiritually preoccupied with our sins. That is another way of focus on self. In Jesus we see humility without any reference to sin. Such humility is the essence of holiness through the loss of self, so that God might be all in one.
2. But man remains sinful, so that God's grace brings a new, deeper level to man's humility. Paul understood that; he continued to list himself as a sinner because he could not forget his heinous sins against Christians before his conversion. Several of his writings about that are cited by Murray, including 1 Timothy 1:15 above. Paul knew he had been saved by the grace of God, who did not remember his sins. Then rejoicing in that salvation brought more awareness of His grace, leading to even more joy. Paul was a saved sinner; he could not forget his sins, or the loving grace which took them away. Much more than confessing his sins, Paul had the humility of one ransomed from sin by the blood of the Lamb. Murray makes this powerful and amazing statement: "Never for a moment in this life can God's child live in the full light of His love without understanding that the sin out of which he has been saved is his one and only right and title to all that grace has promised to do."
3. The sinner learns that by this grace humility acquires a new meaning: it becomes him in the adoration which naturally follows the loving redemption from God. The focus is no longer on sin, as Paul demonstrated, but on duty, in humility, "in the power of the Holy Spirit." Pastor Murray concludes that humility does not come from daily sinning, but from a deeper awareness of the grace in which we may abide before God: as sinners saved by that grace. But Paul also knew of the ongoing sin potential of the flesh and "a continuous victory given by the Spirit as He mortifies the deeds of the body," without destroying or sanctifying the flesh.
Andrew Murray begins this chapter with a different type of Scriptural quotation. The verse he uses is an Old Testament verse from Isaiah, where God criticizes the profane and idolatrous leaders of Israel by saying of them (Isa 65:5), "Which say, 'Stand by yourself, come not near me; for I am holier than you.' " Murray then connects the display in believers of God's holiness to humility. Here are some of the author's points in Chapter 7:
1. Seeking "holiness" is very prominent among Christians today. The test of holiness in us is whether or not it produces true humility, which then allows God's holiness to be displayed. As Murray has said repeatedly before, the mark of man's "holiness" will be one's humility as shown before God and fellow men. "Humility is the bloom and the beauty of holiness."
2. The mark then of false holiness is a lack of humility, or the manifestation of pride. Pride can even be present in one in "the very temple of God." Murray cites the example of Luke 18's Pharisee, who thanks God that he is not like the publican there with him. Pastor Murray then observes that it is not the Pharisees around us that we need to identify, but the Pharisee inside us. We must always be on our guard against pride, which may present with the self-complacency of thanking God and congratulating self. Pride has many manifestations, even in praising God and being penitent.
3. While we openly reject that Pharisee and see the errors of his attitude, we may subconsciously carry much of the same self-complacency and attitude of Christian superiority as we compare ourselves to others. Jesus' humility is little remembered or valued. The work of ministries and missions is often blocked or set back by the "touchiness and . . . impatience, . . . self-defense and self-assertion, . . . sharp judgments and unkind words" of their workers. There tends to be no esteeming of others as better than oneself. Little humility is seen in such "saints." (Murray quotes an excerpt from Hannah Whitall Smith from Everyday Religion about the tyranny of "Me" in the workings of the church - the seeking of the best place, the offense if that is not realized, and the quarrelsome nature of "Me" shows how little Jesus' teaching about taking the lowest place is sought or understood.)
Chapter 6 is a powerful chapter in which Andrew Murray begins to transform the concept of the humility of Jesus Christ into instructions for today's believers as to how to live and manifest Christ's humility in one's Christian walk. Murray begins the chapter by quoting 1 John 4:20 - "He that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" Here are some of this chapter's points:
1. Pastor Murray likens the idea that as our love for God is shown in our love for our fellow man, so our humility before God is only proven in our humility before men. Our daily actions show what we have and are of spiritually. Murray states, "Humility before God is nothing if not proved in humility before men."
2. This chapter cites Paul's many writings about the need for humility. In mid-chapter, the author summarizes Paul's teachings by saying, "The humble man seeks at all times to act on the rule, 'In honor preferring one another;' " (from Rom 12:10), " 'Serve one another;' " (from Gal 5:13), " 'Each esteeming others better than himself;' " (from Philip 2:3), " 'Submitting yourselves one to another.' " (from Ephes 5:21). Humility truly understands the self being nothing, does not compare itself with others, and honors, prefers and respects all other human beings, regardless of their perceived state. Earlier in citing Paul's teaching, Pastor Murray cites that the Love Chapter, 1 Cor 13, includes these facts about love: it "vaunts not itself," "is not puffed up," and "seeks not its own." Love and humility stem from one another - Jesus' nature. Christians are to rejoice in being nothing before God and man, and to have joy in being others' servant.
3. The humble Christian has no envy or jealousy of others, and is not offended when forgotten or glossed over so that others are favored. Considering oneself as nothing contains the true spirit of Jesus' humility.
4. When tempted with the persistent markers of retained pride - impatience, sensitive or easily hurt feelings, harsh thoughts and sharp words - one must put on the Lord Jesus, with His heart of compassion, humility, kindness and forgiveness to show His humblest state. It is the heart of sweet and lowly gentleness and compassion which marks one as being of the Lamb of God.
Chapter Five begins with a quotation from Jesus in Luke 22:26: "Let he that is chief among you be as he that does serve." Pastor Murray switches in this chapter from the ministry of Jesus - His example and His teachings - to the response and example of His immediate disciples. Some of his points in this chapter are as follows:
1. Jesus chose His disciples, and we look for examples of humility in them as they walked with Him. If humility is not there, it shows: the major difference between the Savior Jesus and his human companions; and the powerful change in men which came with Pentecost. Humility is part of Christ's victory over Satan and the pride instilled in man. Murray cites several examples from the Gospels showing that, even late in Jesus' ministry, the disciples had little humility. There occasionally were brief flashes of humility, as in Peter, but the disciples were mostly focused on self. The author then goes on to make three major statements about humility in Christ's disciples.
2. First, even in devoted, disciplined, "earnest" Christians, humility may be absent. Murray cites disciples who forsake all for Christ, receive revelations and gifts from Him, believe in and love Him, obey Him, and are ready to die for Him, but still are under the "dark power" of self-focus. As it was with Jesus' immediate disciples, so it is in the Church today. That shows how difficult humility is to obtain; only by the power of the Holy Spirit within us can true humility come.
3. The second statement is that external teaching and personal effort are too weak to conquer pride and bring one humility. Jesus repeatedly manifested and taught humility to His disciples in His three-year walk with them, but even in the end of that walk the disciples had learned little humility.
Andrew Murray again makes his focus on Scriptures as he highlights some of Jesus' teachings on humility, a feature He expected His disciples to learn and display. As the author says himself about the verses he cites, "I can scarce do more than quote." Here again are some of this chapter's points:
1. Nine Gospel passages which feature our Lord's teachings on humility are shown, mostly from Matthew and Luke, but also one from John. The major themes are: the poor in spirit and the meek receive God's blessing; Jesus Himself offered His disciples His own meek and lowly state for them to receive; repeatedly, in different ways, Jesus taught that those who humble self/become servants of all/abase themselves will be greatest/exalted before God. From these verses, Murray points out: that humility is the chief glory, and the standard of glory, in heaven; that Jesus' meekness and lowliness is our salvation; that humility/self-abasement bring honor and being exalted before God; that humility before God and men is the prime value God seeks in us; that being humble and everyone's servant is the essential element for discipleship of Jesus.
2. Murray again emphasizes that humility, as Jesus taught, is little preached or practiced. Most Christians do not recognize how deficient in humility they are. And few believers today even seek to have the humility of Christ.
3. The servant mindset is little understood. The good servant is totally devoted to pleasing his master, to serving his interests, to delighting in his success, prosperity and honor. We should recognize that being God's servant, in that mindset, frees us from self and sin; but Jesus taught us more - to be one another's servant, which is even more freeing. We tend to be blocked from this by residual self-focus and pride.
In the third chapter of this book, Andrew Murray gets right down to the basics of his focus - Jesus' own humility in His life on earth. (How does one summarize a chapter based on that?) Murray begins with the citation of Jesus' key words about Himself in Luke 22:27: "I am among you as He that serves." Here are some of the other points the author makes in this relatively-brief chapter:
1. Jesus most fully described His relationship with His Father in John's Gospel. Jesus took the position of total subordination to God, to whom He gave all honor and glory which should have been due Him (Jesus). He lived and experienced what He taught in the example of the proud Pharisee and the humble publican in Luke 18:14: "He that humbles himself shall be exalted."
2. Murray cites eleven specific verses from John in which Jesus' humility is clear. Jesus spoke of being able to do nothing of Himself, that He came not to speak His own words or give Himself credit or glory, and even that He did not come of Himself or His own will. Making Himself as nothing and totally empty of self, Jesus gave God credit for everything, and made God all.
3. Jesus humbled Himself before God, who honored and worked all through His Son. That also allowed Jesus to humble Himself before men and to be God's instrument to them no matter what they said about or to Him or did to Him. That was the redemption that Christ brought to us, that WE might model His complete self-denial, doing nothing of ourselves, that God might be all. We must learn of Jesus and His meek lowliness; Christ teaches us that humility comes from "the knowledge that it is God who works all in all, that our place is to yield to Him in perfect resignation and dependence, in full consent to be and to do nothing of ourselves."
The Beauty of Holiness
“Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”