Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Recommendation: "Humility" by CJ Mahaney

Currently, we are walking through the basics of Christianity at church. We began with submission, moved to servanthood, and are now discussing humility (selflessness to keep the alliteration going). And I can think of a no more simpler and yet profound book on the subject than CJ Mahaney's book simply titled, "Humility: True Greatness."

Mahaney has written a short book that anyone can read and understand. It reminds me of the apostle John's writings: very simple to read and understand yet rich in content, theology, and depth. Mahaney walks the reader on the importance of humility and how we can live humble lives.

I want to briefly discuss what was perhaps the most compelling part of the book. In one chapter, Mahaney discusses the importance of seeing evidence of God's grace in everyone. His example for this is the Apostle Paul and his letter to the Corinthians. Though Paul had to deal with a lot of difficult issues in this letter (and in his 2nd letter, not to mention the letters that we do not have that he wrote), he nonetheless begins the letter thanking God for them.

Why? They certainly didn't deserve it. Paul knew that God had saved them and He was sanctifying them. Therefore, Paul was grateful for their, though infantile, knowing that God was still working in them. As a minister, I am constantly confronting with people whom I want to ignore and write off. Not so with Paul. Though the Christians in Corinth were struggling, Paul leaned on God nonetheless.

Paul saw in himself the same selfishness that characterized the Corinthians and thus points them to the cross. There is nothing more humbling than the cross. It is a constant reminder that God is good even though I am so bad. The cross means that I can not save myself, I must fully rely on someone else to get me out of the mess that I have made. That is humility.

More could be said about this fascinating and much needed little book, but this should suffice. I believe, and so does Scripture, that pride is the root of every sin. As CS Lewis wrote, pride is what made the devil the devil. Lewis also considers pride to be the great sin, and he is exactly right. As Christians, we must slay this dragon and live lives that reflect God's glory and we can do that by being humble Christians always reminded of the cross.

For more:
Mahaney on the Person and Work of Christ: Christ Our Mediator
Basic Christianity: Daniel 4:29-37 - Humility Before God
Basic Christianity: James 4:1-10 - Humility Before Others

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