`And what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?' -- Micah
`Learn of me that I am meek and lowly in
heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.' -- Matt. 11:29
One of the most dangerous enemies against
which the young Christian must watch, is pride or self-exaltation. There is no
sin that works more cunningly and more hiddenly. It knows how to penetrate
into everything, even into our service for God, our prayers -- yea, even into
our humility: there is nothing so small in the earthly life, nothing so holy in
the spiritual life, that self-exaltation does not know to extract its nutriment
out of. (2 Chron. 26:5,16; 32:26,31; Isa. 65:5; Jer. 7:4; 2 Cor. 12:7) The
Christian must therefore be on his guard against it, must listen to what
Scripture teaches about it, and about the lowliness whereby it is driven
Man was created to have part in the glory of
God. He obtains this by surrendering himself to the glorification of God. The
more he seeks that the glory of God only shall be seen in him, the more does
this glory rest upon himself. (Isa. 43:7,21; John 12:28; 13:31,32; 27:1,4,5;
1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Thess. 1:11,12) The more he forgets and loses himself,
desiring to be nothing, that God may be all and be alone glorified, the more
happy shall he be.
By sin this design has been thwarted: man seeks
himself and his own will. (Rom. 1:21,23) Grace has come to restore what sin
has corrupted, and to bring man to glory by the pathway of dying unto himself
and living solely for the glory of God. This is the humility or lowliness of
which Jesus is the exemplar: He took no thought for Himself, He have himself
over wholly to glorify the Father (John 8:50 Phil. 2:7)
He who would be freed from self-exaltation must
not think to obtain this by striving against its mere workings. No: pride must
be driven out and kept out by humility. The Spirit of life in Christ, the
Spirit of His lowliness, will work in us true lowliness. (Rom. 8:2; Phil.
The means that He will chiefly use for this end
is the word. It is by the word that we are cleansed from sin; it is by the
word that we are sanctified and filled with the love of God.
Observe what the word says about this point. It
speaks of God's aversion to pride, and the punishment that comes upon it. (Ps.
31:24; Prov. 26:5; Matt. 23:12; Luke 1:51; Jas. 4:5; 1 Pet. 5:5) It gives
the most glorious promises to the lowly. (Ps. 34:19; Prov. 11:2; Isa. 57: 15;
Luke 9:48; 14:11; 18:14) In well-nigh every Epistle, humility is commended to
Christians as one of the first virtues. (Rom. 12:3,16; 1 Cor. 13:4; Gal.
5:22,26; Eph. 4:2; Phil. 2:3; Col. 2:13) It is the feature in the image of
Jesus which He seeks chiefly to impress on His disciples. His whole
incarnation and redemption has its roots in His humiliation. (Matt. 20:26,28;
Luke 22:27; John 13:14,15; Phil. 2:7,8)
Take singly some of these words of God from time
to time and lay them up in your heart. The tree of life yields many different
kinds of seed -- the seed also of the heavenly plant, lowliness. The seeds are
the words of God. Carry them in your heart: they shall shoot up and yield
fruit. (1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:21)
Consider, moreover, how lovely, how becoming,
how well-pleasing to God, lowliness is. As man, created for the honour of God,
you find it befitting you. (Gen. 1:27; 1 Cor. 11:7) As a sinner, deeply
unworthy, you have nothing more to urge against it. (Job 40:6; Isa. 6:5; Luke
5:8) As a redeemed soul, who knows that only through the death of the natural
I does the way to the new life lie, you find it indispensable. (Rom.
7:18; 1 Cor. 25:9,10; Gal. 2:20)
But here, as everywhere in the life of grace,
let faith be the chief thing. Believe in the power of the eternal life that
works in you. Believe in the power of Jesus, who is your life. Believe in the
power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. Attempt not to hide your pride, or
to forget it, or to root it out yourself. Confess this sin, with every working
of it that you trace, in the sure confidence that the blood cleanses, that the
Spirit sanctifies. Learn of Jesus that He is meek and lowly in heart.
Consider that He is your life, with all that He has. Believe that He gives His
humility to you. The word: `Do it to the Lord Jesus,' means, `Be clothed with
the Lord Jesus.' Be clothed with humility, in order that you may be clothed
with Jesus. It is Christ in you that shall fill you with humility.
Blessed Lord Jesus, there never was any one amongst the children of
men so high, so holy, so glorious as Thou. And never was there any one who was
so lowly and ready to deny himself as the servant of all. O Lord, when shall
we learn that lowliness is the grace by which man can be most closely conformed
to the divine glory? O teach me this. Amen.
1. Take heed that you do
nothing to feed pride on the part of others. Take heed that you do not suffer
others to feed your pride. Take heed, above all, that you do nothing yourself
to feed your pride. Let God alone always and in all things obtain the honour.
Endeavour to observe all that is good in His children, and to thank Him
heartily for it. Thank Him for all that helps you to hold yourself in small
esteem, whether it be sent through friend or foe. Resolve, especially, never
on any account to be eagerly bent on your own honour, when this is not accorded
to you as it ought to be. Commit this to the Father: take heed only to His
2. By no means suppose that faint-heartedness
or doubting is lowliness. Deep humility and strong faith go together. The
centurion who said: `I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof,'
and the woman who said: `Yea, Lord, yet even the dogs eat of the crumbs' --
these two were the most humble and the most trustful that the Lord found (see
Matt. 8:10; 15:28). The reason is this: the nearer we are to God, the less we
are in ourselves, but the stronger we are in Him. The more I see of God, the
less I become, the deeper is my confidence in Him. To become lowly, let God
fill eye and heart. Where God is all, there is no time or place for man.