I spent the weeks between Lent and Easter deep in the Bible, spending hours each day with Jesus, re-reading his last days, talking with him, meditating on his Word. It was wonderful. I experienced the celebration of his resurrection more deeply than ever before in my life.
And yet the day after Easter I spoke these words to my husband, “Why aren’t we as Christians desperate for humility? Why don’t we crave it? Why don’t we recognize how hopeless we are to live – to truly live – what Jesus calls us to do if we do not ooze humility?
I believe that until humility lives deep inside me, until humility drowns out my selfish desires, I cannot really know Jesus. Because until humility reigns in me, I just keep getting in the way of my savior.
This morning I read an article written by Timothy Keller entitled, The Advent of Humility. It’s a great article but also discouraging. Here are a few highlights:
“Once we become aware of the poison of pride, we begin to notice it all around us.” This is where I am today. After walking all these years with Jesus, I began to notice and despair of the pride that has ruled me, that has been the source of so many of the struggles I have faced down over the years. Today, my most frequent prayer is that humility will live in me. That pride will be forced out. That I will die to my own selfishness. But Keller says, “Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves.” What I have to be proud of I cannot imagine, because as Keller says, “Our sin was so great, nothing less than the death of Jesus could save us.” This must drop me to my knees every time!
I used to believe that behaving made God love me more. Keller describes it like this, “When people living in the moral-performance narrative base their self-worth on being hard working or theologically sound, then they must look down on those whom they perceive to be lazy or theologically weak.”
Today, I am living into this new way of believing, “But those who understand the gospel cannot possibly look down on anyone, since they were saved by sheer grace, not by their perfect doctrine or strong moral character.”
“When the gospel is deeply grasped, however, our need to win arguments is removed, and our language becomes gracious. We don’t have to ridicule our opponents, but instead we can engage them respectfully.” I desperately want this in me.
Keller goes on to say:
Keller goes on to say:
“In the chapter, ‘The Great Sin’, in Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis writes, ‘Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good – above all, that we are better than someone else – I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil.’”
“Humility is only achieved as a byproduct of understanding, believing, and marveling in the gospel of grace. . . . when we listen to the gospel preached or meditate on it in the Scriptures, we are driving it so deeply into our hearts, imaginations, and thinking that we begin to instinctively ‘live out’ the gospel.”
“So let us preach grace till humility starts to grow in us.” Yes, please, Jesus! Make this so in me!