Yesterday I read C.J. Mahaney’s book on Humility. It is a very good book indeed. It was like a gift of God to me — first because of the content’s impact on my soul, second because it cost me only $4.2 Like any American book written by an American it says exactly what you have to do (practical application) in order to achieve true humility. No walking in circles. Straight to the point. There is a list in the end of the book where you can see some steps on how to weaken pride and cultivate humility:
1. Reflect on the wonders of the Cross.
2. Begin your day by acknowledging your dependence on God and your need for God.
3. Begin your day by expressing gratefulness to God.
4. Practice spiritual disciplines — prayer, study of God’s word, worship. Do this consistently each day and at the day’s outset, if possible.
5. Seize your commute time to memorize and meditate on Scripture.
6. Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.
There are 11 more maxims like that on his list. In general it is a very useful book. I found many things that I will apply in my spiritual walk with the Lord. However I found some things that upset me. Except for the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and Habakkuk’s story(a great lesson for me) I didn’t find any more examples from the lives of people of God from the Old Testament. I also didn’t quite get the idea of telling to people that you are not humble and writing the book on humility. I understand that no one is perfect here in this world apart from Jesus. But how come that Apostle Paul could say in his epistle to Thessalonians that “…we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children” (1Th.2:7), to Corinthians “…truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” (2Co.12:12) and more like these: “…wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” (1Co.4:16) and same message to Philippians: “…Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”(Phil.3:17) So does it mean that we can only point to others as examples of true humility? Yes, humility is a truly interesting attribute. One that all people desire, yet none can boast that they have it. Sounds like: “I am a humble person and am proud of it.”
I understand that none of us can say — I am humble, imitate me. But why in explanations on why C.J. wouldn’t like to pastor the church at Corinth he states: “Why? Because I’m proud. And only those who are humble can consistently identify evidences of grace in others who need adjustment. It’s something the proud and the self-righteous are incapable of.”( p.100) It can be understood in 2 senses. Sense number 1: “No I am relatively humble, I pastured the church for 30 years, and gave advices to people.” Or like this: “Yes, I’m proud, nevertheless God allows me to adjust the lives of others even in my imperfect state.” I just didn’t get the irony, sorry.
Together with that there are many quotes, many references to the outside sources. So you will learn not only what C.J. thinks on humility, but also Calvin, Spurgeon, Edwards, Henry, Owen, Watson and some other less known scholars. Also as a minus to this book I would attribute absence of the example of Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet. Why? There is an illustration of something close to that on the cover, but not a word about that radical way of Jesus showing the “practical approach” on what it means to be humble.
Other than that the book is great. Some examples really shocked or at least amazed me, like for instance “Eric a successful businessman who volunteers each Sunday at our church parking cars.”(p.45) That’s an amazing example of humility. Or that funny example in Chapter 10 of that Armani suited businessman who eats at the café and goes to his meeting with a blob of cream cheese in his groomed mustache.
In conclusion I want to say that this book gives a very good motivation to walk humbly with your God. It gives enough examples both from Scriptures and American life. It moves you to change your habits. It points to the fact that you yourself cannot overcome pride — our all faces are in cream cheese so to speak. The book is very timely, very strategic, very much to the point and American.