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Humility: True Greatness Hardcover – September 30, 2005
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“C. J. Mahaney is not humble. At least, that’s what he’ll tell you. And that’s one reason he’s so well qualified to write this book.”
-Mark E. Dever, Senior pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Author, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
“A much-needed wake-up call on this important subject. I highly recommend this book.”
-Jerry Bridges, Author of The Pursuit of Holiness
“This is the right book from the right man at the right time.”
-R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
About the Author
C. J. MAHANEY serves as the Senior Pastor for Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, where he preaches regularly. He is author of Living the Cross-Centered Life, Christ Our Mediator, Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know, and Don't Waste Your Sports. C. J. and his wife, Carolyn, have three married daughters, one son and twelve grandchildren.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The lust of the eyes, the pride of the flesh, all are rooted in pride, and man's wanting to be more than he can be, outside of the saving grace of God ....
Studying this book (and using the study guide questions) was invaluable for me. I am humbled by my lack of humility, and my ongoing need of my Savior (Jesus Christ).
After having read this book, I really feel like I've had a window into this man's heart. If you've gotten caught up in this controversial discussion about C. J. Mahaney, I encourage you to read this book before being swept away by a torrent of media that might bias your views of this man. Before deciding what we think of Mahaney, we need to see the presupposition under which he operates his Christian life. It is clear that the virtue of humility is cherished by him as it ought to by us all. It is also clear that when this character attribute of his is challenged, he does not take the challenge lightly. I appreciate they lengths at which he took in order to be tested and restored rightly.
I actually read Humility in February just after my recent surgery. I was cooped up in bed for a couple of days, and it seemed like good timing to give this book a read. After having read the book, I heartily recommend this book to every Christian who desires to understand the attribute of humility and the role that it ought to play in each of our lives.
According to Mahaney, "Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God's holiness and our sinfulness." In contrast to humility, Mahaney explains, "Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him." Basically, Mahaney says that our pride is strong when we forget our place before God and try to usurp that place from Him. Mahaney continues, "That's the motive and ultimate purpose of pride - to rob God of legitimate glory and to pursue self-glorification, contending for supremacy with Him." Humility is when we see ourselves the way God sees us, warts and all.
The beauty of it all is that God loves through our sinfulness. We know this because God the Father sent God the Son, who willingly subjected Himself to death on the cross. Mahaney elaborates on the value of Christ's death in respect to the subject of humility,
"Here's an essential truth: To learn true humility, we need more than a redefinition of greatness; we need even more than Jesus' personal example of humble service. What we need is His death..." Why was the death of Jesus necessary? Because all of humanity is corrupt and condemned, and we all have an acute tendency to deny the reality of our lost state before God.
Without first being confronted by Christ's death and encountering the wonder of salvation we cannot walk in humility. Humility requires us to emulate and sacrifice like Christ did when he died, according to Mahaney this is true greatness. What I've just shared covers the material from Parts One and Two of this book. Those two parts help the reader have context for understanding the links between pride, greatness, and humility. Part Three is where Mahaney provides encouragement and methods for practicing humility. This section includes principles to practice at the beginning of the day, the end of the day, and also some special principles.
As each day begins Mahaney challenges the reader to reflect on the wonder of the cross, to acknowledge our need for God, to give gratitude to God, and to practice spiritual disciplines. As an aside he recommends Don Whitney's book, Spiritual Discipline for the Christian Life, a book I am reading at present. Mahaney encourages those who wish to practice humility to take advantage of their commute and make it purposeful time with God. He also challenges the reader to cast their cares upon God.
As the day ends Mahaney cautions the reader from committing cosmic plagiarism. This is when we take credit for what God does in our lives. He also encourages us to accept the gift of sleep, then close the day with expressing gratefulness for Christ's death and resurrection.
As a special focus Mahaney encourages the reader to study the attributes of God, study the doctrine of grace, nbsp;and study the doctrine of sin.
There are a bunch of nuggets to take away from this book. One of the most precious ones that I found was in Mahaney's chapter on encouraging others. This nugget has to do with correcting others. Mahaney says, "Never correct without reminding the individual, at some point, of the gospel. Any conversation including correction must also include the gospel, because biblical correction is incomplete apart from the gospel." This observation of his is absolutely the best snapshot of this book. Always at the center of humility is a message, action, or lifestyle centered on the gospel. This is how it should be. When we rise Christ's resurrection is on our hearts and in our morning prayers. When we walk we proclaim the fulfilled promise of our Savior. When we lay our head down, we rest peacefully in the hands that were pierced for our transgressions, remembering the cost he paid for so great a salvation.
Once again, I recommend reading this book. Then a couple of months after having read it, re-acquaint yourself with the book and review your notes. That is what I did this evening, and it refreshed my soul.
View more book reviews by Joey Cochran at jtcochran.com.
The main point of Humility is that "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Mahaney then expands on this theme throughout the 12 chapters in the book. The first four chapters are more theological in nature. Mahaney examines various verses in the Bible, reminding his readers of the promises of humility and the perils of pride. He also defines greatness according to the scriptures and gives biblical examples of what it means to be truly great in God's sight.
Mahaney spends the last eight chapters giving practical advice on how to work on being truly great by growing your humility. He mentions various ways to start off your day that will help you grow in humility. He also gives advice on how to end each day being focused on true greatness. A very helpful exercise he mentions is to "identify the evidences of grace" in other people. This has been a very rewarding application in my own life. And he even adds humor, by telling his readers to spend time doing some things you're not good at just to encourage yourself to stay humble.
I've found this book to be personally convicting in my life and leadership. I've recently had my leadership team read through the book. We spent time discussing Mahaney's insights on humility and how we should pursue true greatness together.
If you're looking for a short, yet convicting book on the subject of true greatness, be sure to read Humility by C. J. Mahaney.
Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for publishing such a great book.