Humility: Entire Dependence On God
By Andrew Murray
"They shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying: Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power: for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they were, and were created" (Rev. 4:11).
When God created the universe, it was with the one object of making man partaker of His perfection and blessedness, and so showing forth in him the glory of His love and wisdom and power. God wished to reveal Himself in and through created beings by communicating to them as much of His own goodness and glory as they were capable of receiving.
But this communication was not a giving to man something which he could possess in himself, a certain life or goodness, of which he had the charge and disposal. By no means. But as God is the ever-living, ever-present, ever-acting One, who upholdeth all things by the word of His power and in whom all things exist, the relation of man to God could only be one of unceasing, absolute, universal dependence.
As truly as God by His power once created, so truly by that same power must God every moment maintain. Man is not only to look back to the origin and first beginning of existence and acknowledge that he there owes everything to God, but man's chief care, his highest virtue, his only happiness now and through all eternity--is to present himself an empty vessel in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness.
The life God bestows is imparted not once for all, but each moment continuously by the unceasing operation of His mighty power. Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is from the very nature of things the first duty and the highest virtue of man and the root of every virtue.
And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin and evil. It was when the now fallen angels began to look with satisfaction upon their own character, when they became self-satisfied, that they were led to disobedience and were cast down from the light of heaven into outer darkness. Even so, it was when the serpent breathed the poison of his pride, the desire to be as God, into the hearts of our first parents that they, too, fell from their high estate into all the wretchedness in which man is now sunk. In heaven and earth, pride, self-exaltation, is the gate and birth and the curse of hell.
It follows that nothing can be our redemption but the restoration of the lost humility, the original and only true relation of the creature to its God. Jesus came to bring humility back to earth, to make us partakers of it, and by it to save us. In heaven He humbled Himself to become man. The humility we see in Him possessed Him in heaven; it brought Him, He brought it, from there.
Here on earth "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death" (Phil. 2:8). His humility gave His death its value, and so became our redemption. Now the salvation He imparts is nothing less and nothing else than a communication of His own life and death, His own disposition and spirit, His own humility, as the ground and root of His relation to God and His redeeming work. Jesus Christ took the place and fulfilled the destiny of man by His life of perfect humility. His humility is our salvation. His salvation is our humility.
To Abide In God's Presence
The life of those who are saved must bear this stamp of deliverance from sin and full restoration to their original state. Their whole relation to God and man is to be marked by an all-pervading humility. Without this there can be no true abiding in God's presence or experience of His favor and the power of His spirit. Without this there is no abiding faith or love or joy or strength. Humility is the only soil in which the graces root. The lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure.
Humility is not so much a grace or virtue along with others. It is the root of all, because it alone takes the right attitude before God, and allows Him as God to do all.
God has so constituted us as reasonable beings that the truer the insight into the real nature of the absolute need of a command, the readier and fuller will be our obedience to it. The call to humility has been too little regarded in the Church because its true nature and importance has been too little apprehended. It is not a something which we bring to God, or He bestows. It is simply the sense of entire nothingness, which comes when we see how truly God is all, and in which we make way for God to be all.
When man realizes that this is the true nobility and consents with his will, his mind and his affections to be the vessel in which the life and glory of God are to work and manifest themselves, he sees that humility is simply acknowledging the truth of his position as creature, and yielding to God His place.
Humility ought to be the chief mark of uprightness in the life of earnest Christians who pursue and profess holiness. It is often said that it is not so. May not one reason be that in the teaching and example of the Church, humility has never had that place of supreme importance which belongs to it? This again, is owing to the neglect of this truth that, strong as sin is as a motive to humility, there is a motive of still wider and mightier influence. It is that which makes the angels, which made Jesus, which makes the holiest of saints in heaven, so humble. This motive is that the first and chief mark of man's relation to God is as His created being. This is the secret of man's blessedness--the humility and nothingness which leaves God free to be all.
I am sure there are many Christians who will confess that their experience has been very much like my own in this, that we had long known the Lord without realizing that meekness and lowliness of heart are to be the distinguishing feature of the disciple as they were of the Master. And further, that this humility is not a thing that will come of itself, but that it must be made the object of special desire and prayer and faith and practice.
As we study the Word, we shall see what very distinct and oft-repeated instructions Jesus gave His disciples on this point, and how slow they were in understanding Him. Let us, at the very commencement of our meditations, admit that there is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous as pride. Let us feel that nothing but a very determined and persevering waiting on God and Christ will discover how lacking we are in the grace of humility, and how impotent to obtain what we seek.
Let us study the character of Christ until our souls are filled with the love and admiration of His lowliness. Let us believe that when we are broken down under a sense of our pride and of our impotence to cast it out, Jesus Christ Himself will come in to impart this grace, too, as a part of His wondrous life within us.
From Humility--The Beauty Of Holiness by Andrew Murray