- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Multnomah (Sept. 30 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590523261
- ISBN-13: 978-1590523261
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.7 x 18.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 222 g
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #155,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Humility: True Greatness Hardcover – Sep 30 2005
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
“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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Below is the review I wrote at the time on my personal blog.
In short, I loved this book. I will go over the reasons why in more detail below, but for now, I wish to say that I strongly recommend this book. Much of Christian publishing these days is filled with man-centred philosophy and little Biblical theology, and the Gospel of Christ Jesus is increasingly a rare focus. I was happy to find that Humility was not only biblically solid, but that it was absolutely centred on the Cross and Gospel of Jesus. The author’s enthusiasm for the Cross jumps from every page – a beautiful sight to behold.
About the author
The author, C.J. Mahaney, is a founder of Sovereign Grace Ministries, a growing network of evangelical churches founded in 1982. They may not be very well known, but the musical arm of their ministry has written some very popular songs in contemporary worship music today, such as "Stand in Awe" and "How High and How Wide." Mahaney himself was, until recently, the pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and serves on the Council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
I had not read any of Mahaney’s works, such as The Cross Centered Life or Sex, Supremacy, and the Glory of God, until I read Humility. Now that I know what I've been missing, I fully intend to.
Mahaney is a very skilled and engaging writer. The reading level of Humility is such that any adult Christian would have no trouble reading the book. It was a joy to read – Mahaney keeps the book down-to-earth, avoiding heavy theological language while introducing and defending deep doctrinal concepts. The language is smooth and flowing, almost conversational in tone. The author’s use of stories – particularly personal anecdotes – easily and effectively introduced and illustrated the points he made.
As suggested by the title, Humility is a Christian examination and guide to the issue of pride and humility. Mahaney begins with a look at Isaiah 66:2, which reads:
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Mahaney’s central theme in the book is that true humility draws the attention and favour of God. He helpfully (and biblically) defines humility as "honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness." This understanding is key to his whole thrust – the idea that all men are sinners, and have nothing to be prideful about. We stand before a perfectly holy and all-powerful God, having nothing of our own that God did not Himself give us – save our own sinfulness. And it was this stress in Mahaney’s work that I truly appreciated, because this humiliation of man before God, this stress that all we have and are is from Him alone, is often missed in our self-centred, experience-driven Christian subculture.
Pride, Mahaney tells us, was the first sin, and indeed is the root of all sin. Sin is rebellion against God, and rebellion is the practical result of rejecting our dependence on God. The author quotes John Stott making the point that pride is not merely just another sin, but is indeed the essence of all sin. Put in this light, all sin is really an expression of human pride and hubris. And, Mahaney says, this is why God so passionately HATES pride.
The book moves from this definition into God’s solution to this problem – Jesus Christ. Mahaney repeatedly stresses that true greatness is servanthood and humility, and points to the only One who perfectly modeled these qualities: Him who died, innocent and pure, in the place of proud and haughty sinners. Mahaney contrasts Christ’s sacrifice with the pride and ambition of his own disciples James and John, who are jockeying for a place of honour in His kingdom. If Christ’s own disciples, the future apostles themselves, fell to such pride, how are we any different?
The Cross, Mahaney points out, was true greatness defined because it was true humility displayed. And so the author takes a whole chapter describing the Cross and the good news of freedom from sin in light of Christ’s humility. This chapter was beautiful, a far more powerful and eloquent presentation of the Gospel than I have seen in any tracts and altar calls. In relating his whole book, every theme, to the Cross and Gospel of Christ, Mahaney truly glorifies God.
Having laid a firm foundation at the foot of the Cross, the rest of the book is largely practical advice. His first suggestion is constant meditation on the Cross of Christ – regular, unceasing consideration of true humility and true greatness. From there, Mahaney effectively ties humility as a spiritual practice into other spiritual disciplines. Without being dogmatic, he introduces several practical ways in which a Christian can increase his own awareness of the pride in his life and strive for humility in his walk. While emphatically stating that he is only giving suggestions, he prescribes beginning each day with acknowledgement of our need of God, and thanks for what He has done. He examines daily prayer, worship, and Bible study as means of increasing our awareness of God’s greatness and our own insufficiency. In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner, he even recommends taking up golf as a way to humble yourself!
Mahaney also succeeds where all too many have failed, giving a clear, coherent, PRACTICAL motivation to study theology and doctrine. In particular, he describes three areas of particular importance for developing spiritual humility: study of the attributes of God (his omnipotence, eternity, omniscience, etc.); the doctrines of grace (God’s sovereignty in salvation and our dependence on Him for it); and the doctrine of sin, where we discover how truly needy and unworthy we really are. Without falling into heavy words and concepts, he points out what a humbling and revitalizing effect on one’s spiritual life can result from in-depth study of theology.
Tiny little quibbles
I only had two minor quibbles with the book, neither of which detracted from the author’s aim or my enjoyment of and edification from the book. They were not disagreements or issues of substance, merely questions of emphasis. First of all, Mahaney stresses that humility will bring grace to him that practices it. This is a biblical message, to be sure – God gives grace to the humble. Humility brings the approval and blessing of God, for it gives Him His due. I just felt that the author might have reinforced his point further by stressing that humility in a sinful person, like faith and repentance, is itself a work of God’s grace in his heart, and that it is indeed impossible without it. Mahaney does touch on this issue, of course, in explaining that only Christ perfectly fulfilled Isaiah 66:2 and in mentioning man’s depravity; I only thought he could have emphasized further the role of God’s grace as not just a reward for, but also the necessary precondition for, humility. Humility as God’s gift - that, truly, is a humbling truth.
Secondly, a stress on humility bringing reward detracts somewhat from the truth that the most sincerely humble heart is motivated by love. A Christian is humble not simply because God deserves it from him – although that certainly is enough – but also out of love for God. We deflect praise and honour to God not just because He alone deserves it, but because our love for Him compels us to see Him glorified. Mahaney could have emphasized this point, having laid an excellent foundation for a detailed look at a relationship between love and humility. Maybe in another book…
Why you should read this book
Those minor points aside, I found that the book forced me to be aware of a problem that I grapple with (as do we all). I fight pride on a daily basis. Mahaney points out that the Bible says, "Knowledge puffs up;" and as I am the type of guy who expresses enthusiasm for a subject by reading everything I can get my hands on about that topic, I find I’m particularly prone to this kind of pride.
Perhaps my favorite of Mahaney’s list of practical suggestions is to "look for evidence of grace in all others." Not just Christians – God has showered grace on everyone. And as a recently married man, this challenged me to look at the things I said to and noticed in my wife’s life. Pointing out to someone that "I see God’s hand on you, in this way" is unbelievably encouraging to that person.
There are many more gems like this one in Humility: True Greatness. It comes out in late October. Trust me - this one is worth buying, folks. You will not regret it.
That is the message of this book. From start to finish C.J. Mahaney presents a practical, gospel-centered solution to pride.
the first 1/3 of this book (about 60 pages) is designed to convince us that pride is perhaps the most basic issue we face in our Christian lives. He accomplishes this by demonstrating the subtleness with which pride can act in a believers life, as well as the fact that, ultimately, it is a raising up of ourselves against an infinitely wise, holy, and perfect God. To finish off this section he reminds us of the victory that is ours because of the cross of Jesus Christ.
The next 2/3 is practical advice born from over 30 years of conscious effort on Mahaney's part to "weaken pride and cultivate humility". this section is so valuable that you must take notes for future reference. There are 17 tips that can be put into practice each and every day to identify pride in our lives, and when it has been identified, repent of it, and ultimately, quash it.
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Well, I suppose that's not quite right, is it? Most of us don't really want to be more humble.Read more