The copy of Andrew Murray’s classic book, Humility, which sits on my desk as I type this blog post, was purchased and read in 1985, when I was only one-year old in Christ. Immediately its impact was felt. Since that time, I can’t recall how many times I’ve picked it up to reread or to just browse at some highlighted or underlined sentences. To this day, it stands at the top of books that I’ve read on this topic. So let me encourage you to get and read it, by sharing some favorite quotes from my faded copy.
The Glory of Humility
The Christian life has suffered loss, because believers have not been distinctly guided to see that nothing is more natural and beautiful and blessed than to be nothing, so that God may be all. It has not been made clear that it is not sin that humbles us most, but grace. It is the soul, led through its sinfulness to be occupied with God in His wonderful glory as God, as Creator and Redeemer, that will truly take the lowest place before Him. (p. 6) [Jesus, in Matthew 23:11] simply taught us the blessed truth that there is nothing so divine and heavenly as being the servant and helper of all. (p. 7) Jesus Christ took the place and fulfilled the destiny of man by His life and perfect humility. His humility is our salvation. His salvation is our humility. (p. 11) Humility is not so much a grace or virtue along with others; it is the root of all, because it alone assumes the right attitude before God and allows Him as God to do all. (p. 11) The first and chief mark of the relationship of man with God, the secret of his blessedness, is the humility and nothingness which leaves God free to be all….Such humility is not a thing that will come on its own. It must be made the object of special desire, prayer, faith, and practice. As we study the Word, we will see what very distinct and often repeated instructions Jesus gave His disciples on this point, and how slowly they were in understanding Him. Let us, from the beginning, admit that there is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous as pride. (pp. 13-14)
The Secret of Redemption
Pride has its root and strength in a terrible spiritual power, outside of us as well as within us. We must confess it, deplore it, and be aware of its Satanic origin. This may lead us to despair of ever conquering it or casting it out. But it will also lead us all the sooner to that supernatural power in which alone our deliverance is to be found—the redemption of the Lamb of God. (p. 17) We must seek a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing so that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted. (p. 19)
Jesus Calls His Disciples to Humility
If once we learn that to be nothing before God is the glory of man, the spirit of Jesus, the joy of heaven, we will welcome with our whole heart the discipline we may have in serving even those who try to vex us. (p. 31) God is faithful. Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless. He that humbles himself—that must be our one care—will be exalted; that is God’s care. By His mighty power and in His great love He will do it. (p. 32) Men sometimes speak as if humility and meekness would rob us of what is noble and bold and manlike. Oh, that all would believe that this is the nobility of the Kingdom of heaven! If they would only understand that this is the royal spirit that the King of heaven displayed, that this is God-like, to humble oneself, to become the servant of all! This is the path to joy and the glory of Christ’s presence ever in us, His power ever resting in us. (pp. 32-33)
Humility toward Others Is Proof of Humility toward God and Growth in Holiness
It is easy to think we humble ourselves before God. Yet, humility toward men will be the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real. (p. 43) True humility comes when, in the light of God, we have seen ourselves to be nothing, have consented to part with and cast away self—to let God be all. (p. 46) The great test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it produces an increasing humility in us….The one infallible test of our holiness will be the humility before God and men which marks us. (p. 51) Unless we make the increase of humility our study, we may find that we have been delighting in beautiful thoughts and feelings, in solemn acts of consecration and faith, while the only sure mark of the presence of God—the disappearance of self—was all the time wanting. Come and let us flee to Jesus, and hide ourselves in Him until we are clothed with His humility. That alone is our holiness. (p. 57) Let us learn the lesson—the highest holiness is the deepest humility. (p. 83)
Humility, Sin, and Faith
[Humility] is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God. Where God is all, self is nothing. (p. 59) It is not sin, but God’s grace showing a man and constantly reminding him what a sinner he was, that will keep him truly humble. (p. 64) It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love—in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit—who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self. (p. 66) Is it any wonder that our faith is so feeble when pride still reigns so much, and we have hardly learned to long or pray for humility as the most needful and blessed part of salvation?…It is the humility that brings a soul to be nothing before God that also removes every hindrance to faith. (pp. 69-70)
Humility and Death to Self
Humility leads to perfect death. Humility means the giving up of self and becoming perfect nothingness before God….If it had not been for [Jesus’s] boundless humility, counting Himself as nothing except as a servant to do and suffer the will of God, He would never have died….If you want to enter into full fellowship with Christ in His death, and know the full deliverance from self, humble yourself. This is your one duty. (pp. 74-75) The truth is this—pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you….Do not look at pride as only an unbecoming temper, nor at humility as only a decent virtue. The one is death, and the other is life; the one is all hell, the other is all heaven. (pp. 96-97)
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