If you have been with me from the beginning of this review on Humility you know that we have gotten into something that is beyond any of our speculations. We have learned that humility is not just another commodity that we can add to our purchases in this life.
For a long time I have observed that Christ in Christianity is not just another order that we place before God, but a supernatural work of God in our hearts, minds, and lives, as He is preparing a people with whom to share His kingdom and His glory.
I am now concluding that no one will be a part of His glory without the preparation for it, and this includes the humility of Christ. Yes; are we not learning that humility is the first, the chief, and the root of all His gifts of grace? “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Ephesians 2:8
Is it not His mercy that brings us to Christ in a supernatural new birth of His Spirit (John 3: 3, Romans 8:1-9) to grow us in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?
(2 Peter 3:18)
His purpose for His grace and our faith is given in Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
As we see this development of God’s grace in the lives of Christ’s disciples in this chapter in Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) we are encouraged in the thought of “how real our participation can be in the perfect triumph of Christ’s humility over the pride Satan had breathed into man. “
As we remember key words from this book we see in this chapter the repetition of the word power. We understand that just as we have no power to birth ourselves, whether physically or spiritually (this is the supernatural work that we referred to earlier) we have no power of our own to cast out the power of pride and self; or to grow and to conform ourselves to Christ’s image.
Three points keep us on track in this chapter.
1. How much there can be of earnest and active Christianity while humility is still sadly wanting.
2. How weak all external teaching and all personal effort are, to conquer pride or give the meek and lowly heart.
3. It is only by the indwelling of Christ in His divine humility that we become truly humble.
There were times when Jesus used the expression “O, ye of little faith,” knowing that his disciples were not yet mature in their understanding of His calling. We, like them are eager to serve in our roles as newborns, yet we are not developed in our faith. For most, we leave off the study and devotion that is needed to grow and learn what we need to know. And even with our study and prayer and earnest seeking of the kingdom of God and His righteousness we cannot by these acquire this power of humility.
During this year’s desire for the humility of Christ there has been a continual reminder of our limitations. We are limited by our lack of knowledge, understanding, and power; but more by God’s own will, His choosing, His timing, and His good pleasure.
We see this limitation in Jesus’ disciples. They spent three years with Him, in His presence, seeing His example, and hearing His teachings. They had a limited knowledge and understanding until the supernatural power of God came upon them at Pentecost.
Those years with Him were only for preparation. The power of the Holy Spirit that came after Jesus’ ascension was the fulfilling of Jesus’ words of the promise of the Father, (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4) after He had finished His redemptive work. It was to establish their leadership of the church, through which the work of Christ would be known, where believers would receive the teachings of Jesus; grow in their knowledge and understanding; and be conformed to His image; and by which others would be brought to follow Christ.
Other Reminders From Jesus’ Ministry
We remember Jesus’ words to Simon Peter before he understood what Jesus and His kingdom was about; “ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Was this not the change that would come after His ascension?
In his pride he responded; “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death”. (Luke 22:31-33) Then he denied Jesus three times.
Jesus’ words in Luke 11:13 reveals the place and need of the Holy Spirit; “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ has delivered us from the law of sin and death,” (Romans 8:2) bringing us to the knowledge and understanding of this life in Christ; to experience His nature and disposition in us.
As in all of life we want things immediately, but as this life in Christ is totally different than any we have ever known, we are learning that it does not all come at once. Jesus at one point told His disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12)
From this chapter we see the work of Christ and His Spirit in our hearts and lives for this necessary grace of humility.
1. The teaching (revelation from the written word and the Holy Spirit) and example.
2. Our convictions, our desires, our prayers and our vain efforts.
3. The reality of the Spirit of Christ living in us and producing His own nature and disposition.
“Nothing can avail but that the new nature, in its divine humility, will be revealed in power to take the place of the old. It will become as truly our very nature as the old ever was.
“Pride is ours, from Adam, and rules in us with such terrible power, because it is ourself—our very nature. Humility (from Christ) must be ours in the same way; it must be our very self, our very nature. As natural and easy as it has been to be proud, it must—it will be—to be humble. The promise is, “Where,” even in the heart, “sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5;20)
How long must we pray, desiring what is promised in His word. It is not for me to say. I pray and wait, even as the disciples did for the promise of the Father. I know that He is doing His work, for I desire to desire what He desires. I live each day in anticipation of His will and His work, grateful for a crumb from the master’s table; waiting for the feast, and telling others about it. I pray this humility of Christ for me and all His people, so that we may receive all that He has promised to us and prepared for us ( 1 Corinthians 2:9).
All the Work of Christ
In whatever category we find ourselves listed at the end of this chapter we can in His timing understand, desire and pray for; and eventually experience the deliverance and victory. Even so, we will always need to expect more of the fullness of Jesus, our Lord, our Savior, our Redemmer.
Jesus life and death was all for this purpose ~ the abundant life that is rooted in His humility. From heaven to earth; from earth to heaven; from heaven, by His own Spirit, to the hearts of His people Christ has come, and continues to live and reign in our hearts and lives ~ in our preparation for His eternal glory.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18
Dear heavenly Father, we wait on you, desiring the fulfillment of the promises that are ours in your Son, for His humility to be revealed in us, for our conformity to His image; for the abundant life that is in Him alone. Forgive us for our impatience, and anything that may prevent our receiving all that you have prepared for us.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Related Sermon: Al Martin ~ The Indicatives of Grace