Book Review: Humility, by C.J.Mahaney

We are called to service. But we cannot serve others with pride. It will always get in the way of true service. For this reason, an essential attribute or quality we must cultivate is humility. Below is my review of a helpful book on this topic.

This book introduces us to the dangers of pride and guides us to the scriptural path for humility - cj mahaneygrowth in humility. The author, a pastor of an American congregation for almost three decades, discusses the promise of humility, the perils of pride, and the nature of true greatness.

There are some practical recommendations given for cultivating humility. Of these I note the following:

  1. Keep your eyes on the cross . The cross demolishes our pride. It is a sign and symbol of our helplessness. We have been so racked by sin that it took God himself to come down and rescue us. Where then is boasting?
  2. Get up from bed in the morning acknowledging your dependence on God. ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28). You are so in need of God even for the ability to sit in the bath tub. Recognize this truth and let it humble you.
  3. Let your first words be expressions of  thanksgiving. Gratitude for God’s mercies should characterize our hearts throughout the day.
  4. Spend time daily in prayer, worship and study of the scriptures. This will not only foster dependence on God but will aid in sanctifying us within.
  5. The apostle Peter asks us to cast our cares on God because he cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). So bring all your concerns to God. Quit trusting in your own strength.
  6. End your day by recognizing that God kept you and allowed you to accomplish all that you did. It was not your wisdom or skill that saw you through. No. It was really God. Give him the glory.
  7. Study the following regularly:
    • God’s attributes – this will reveal to you how huge and awesome your God really is.
    • The nature of sin – you’ll get to know how corrupt our hearts really are and how desperately we need God’s help.
    • The doctrines of Grace – see how redemption  was designed to  exalt God and humble man. Seriously, no believer can take credit for his own salvation.  From predestination all the way to glorification, it is all through grace and all of God (Rom. 8:30).
  8. Allow others to correct you. Invite honest feedback from christian friends and family. Others may readily  notice what you fail to observe. As the author wrote, “On our own, you and I will never develop a competency for recognizing our sin. We’ll always need help.”(p.133)
  9. Learn to respond humbly to trials. Afflictions and suffering promote humility as they compel us to look up to the One who understands everything. The prophet Habakkuk learnt this important lesson. He began his prophecy with a complaint (Hab.1:2), but towards the end of the book he could confidently say:

    “Though the fig should not blossom…
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (3:17-18).

  10. Finally, laugh at yourself often. In a conference message delivered some years ago, D. A.  Carson recalled how his wife would often laugh at the title of one of his books –  Justification and Variegated Nomism! And then he advised: “Take your work seriously but not yourself.”

Do you still want to cultivate humility?

Get the book. Read it. Apply it.

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