Andrew Murray wrote, “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 sweet Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”
Every time I read this quote, I am convicted because I realize anew how prideful I really am and how far I am away from true humility.
The most humble, Christlike person I have ever known was a woman named Debbie. Debbie came from difficult circumstances and lived in poverty. She was not able to write anything other than her name. I am not sure how well she could read, but she understood the Bible in ways I did not and probably still do not. She was a humble person from humble circumstances. But she had a joy in her soul and the gift of child-like faith.
I remember the day I found out that she had never slept in a real bed. We were having a 2-day women’s conference at church. Debbie needed a ride to and from church, and it just made sense because of the late hour of the conference for her to stay with someone. So she stayed with my family and me.
I can remember feeling a bit apprehensive. Not about her staying with us, but because of my large family and what I perceived as our relatively small house size. We have a three-bedroom/bath home, but, at that time, our eight children were still living at home. All of the bedrooms were full! Our “guest room” was/is a fold-out couch in my husband’s study downstairs in our basement. It was/is not my ideal “guest room” situation. Nevertheless, I felt terrible that it was the best I had to offer.
I sheepishly took her to her room, showed her the couch/bed and the bathroom. We talked about what time we needed to leave the following day. And after I made sure she was settled, she said something that humbled me to my core as I started to leave. “Thank you. I’ve never slept in a real bed before.”
So there I was. The one who had felt bad by what little I had to offer, in the realization of how much I really had. She was thankful. Full of gratitude. Her humility caused me to come face-to-face with my pride. The Lord used her in this case and in many other ways to humble me. I have been given much. I was ungrateful.
We recently finished a sermon series on thankfulness, gratitude. One thing my husband, David, emphasized during the whole series was this; “Pridefulness and thankfulness cannot co-exist. Humility and thankfulness cannot be separated.”
That reminder from him and the Andrew Murray quote above have been the two things that have stuck with me the most through that sermon series.
The Lord works in mysterious ways; well, they are mysterious to us because He is so Other than us. One day we will understand; we will know as we are known. But for now, they are a mystery, and we don’t fully understand.
One of these mysteries to me is how He reveals truth. There have been many times that I have studied to teach, and clarity about the truth of the text comes to me while I am teaching the text. Truth that had not been as clear while studying in the weeks prior. There’s something about actually speaking truth out loud, from your own mouth to your own ears. This is also true of sin. I can justify sin in my mind, but sometimes when I actually hear the words coming out of my mouth, I understand how sinful they are. I am convicted.
I had been thinking about and reading the Andrew Murray quote almost daily for about a month. But one Sunday, as I was sharing it with my class – reading it aloud – something dawned on one of my friends and me at almost the same time. As I finished reading the quote, I locked eyes with her. This question came immediately to mind, “Who does this describe?” The answer – Jesus.
Jesus, the creator of all things. The sustainer of all things. The eternal Son. Immanuel. God in flesh. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. The One who deserves all praise. And I could go on and on. This definition of humility perfectly describes Him.
It hit me right at that moment; yes, this is what I want to be like, but this is what Jesus IS like. For me. For you. For all who believe in Him for salvation.
Praise God that I am covered with His righteousness. His perfect humility!
As I grow and mature, He reveals more of my sin and more of my pridefulness. May it draw me closer to Him. More thankful for Grace. More patient with other sinners. More forgiving. May my struggle with sin make me more thankful for His perfect life lived for me. Remembering that without Him, I can do absolutely NOTHING.
What in the world do I have to be prideful about?