Who of us, born of flesh and blood, could honestly say that we don’t care what other people think of us? There is a healthy attitude of how we ought to appear to others as far as our manner and conduct. Our desire should be to reflect the image of Christ. In this chapter of Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) he is speaking of the pride of man that seeks the honor and glory of men, instead of the glory of God. This concern is not for what God thinks or approves, but what makes us look good to other people, winning their honor and praise. He even goes so far as to say that a lot of our service in the church is good, but done for the wrong purpose.
Again, he gets to the point of pride, especially as it concerns our faith.
True faith cannot manifest itself where there is pride, but is birthed in humility; and so, does it live and grow. The higher Christian life that is spoken of here is out of reach to those who continue in their pride. He uses the illustration of this life as “compared to objects in a shop window — one can see them clearly and yet could not reach them. If told to stretch out his hand and take, a man would answer, “I cannot; there is a thick pane of plate glass between me and them.” Likewise, Christians may clearly see the blessed promises of perfect peace and rest, of overflowing love and joy, of abiding communion and fruitfulness, yet feel that there is something in-between hindering the true possession.” Pride keeps us from reaching or grasping the blessings that God has provided for us in Christ.
In Jesus’ words, “How can ye believe which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” He is showing the limitations of faith while we are seeking honor from other people instead of God.
Faith is described as what grace bestows in our dependency. “Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust. Even the most secret breathing of pride —in self-seeking, self-will, self-confidence, or self-exaltation—is just the strengthening of that self which cannot enter into the Kingdom or possess the things of the Kingdom, because it refuses to allow God to be what He is and must be—the all in all.”
Seeking to See
Can we, without humility, even see what is in the window? Nicodemus came to Jesus privately because he had heard Him speaking of the kingdom. He was looking for something from Jesus. Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again to even see the kingdom. We all must be born of the Spirit, receiving the new heart, spirit, and life of Christ with new eyes to see Christ and the kingdom.
“Faith is the organ or sense for the perception and apprehension of the heavenly world and its blessings. As long as we take glory from one another, as long as we jealously guard the glory of this life, we cannot receive the glory that comes from God. Salvation comes through a cross and a crucified Christ. Salvation is the fellowship with the crucified Christ in the Spirit of His cross. The cross, the death, and the grave, into which Jesus humbled Himself, were His path to the glory of God. And they are our path.
As we learned in previous chapters the nature of humility in us is the same as in Jesus. He told His disciples that they would have to take up their own crosses daily if they would follow Him (Luke 9:23). The reality of His humility in us brings us in faith and repentance to sacrifice all that we are and have for the name of Christ and His kingdom.
He is the pearl of great price; which when we find will sell everything else. Humility is the only means of seeing Him; and it is the means whereby we not only see, but we receive and enjoy the treasures that are stored and displayed in Him now and for eternity.
“Let us gladly accept whatever can humble us before God or men — this alone is the path to the glory of God.”
“Brethren ! nothing can cure you of the desire to receive honor from men, or of the sensitivity and pain and anger which come when it is not given, except giving yourself to seek glory of the all-glorious God to be everything to you. You will be freed from the glory of men and of self, and be content and glad to be nothing. Out of this nothingness you will grow strong in faith, giving glory to God. You will find that the deeper you sink in humility before Him, the nearer He is to fulfill every desire of your faith.”
“That the trial of your faith,
being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,
though it be tried with fire,
might be found unto praise and honour and glory
at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
1 Peter 1:7
Dear Father in heaven, only you know our need. Open our eyes to see Christ, give us a new vision of the treasures of heaven which you have prepared for those who love you. Enable us to seek your honor only ~ for your glory and our joy.
“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.