HOW HUMBLE ARE YOU?
T. Pierce Brown
Some years ago, brother Guy N. Woods told me about a certain preacher who had made quite a record in the number of converts he reported. When asked about the reasons for his phenomenal success, he replied, “Two reasons: I am a most powerful preacher, and I am a most humble man.” Bro. Woods remarked that the combination of qualities was very desirable, but highly unusual!
In my new workbook, THE MIND OF CHRIST, I have tried to analyze the qualities of Christ and urge students to develop specific ones. In some of the lessons, I am happy to say about some of the attributes, “To the degree that I did it, this is how I did it, and you can do likewise.” In those cases, I could almost say with Paul, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). But when I got to the quality of humility, and tried to discover in myself this deep sense of humility and poverty of spirit, so I could tell others how I got it, I found myself at a loss. Instead of finding humility, I was simply humiliated. I would like to be a little more Christlike, but I confess that here I have to do something besides try directly.
To be poor in spirit, to be humble, one must recognize his own frailties and limitations. Now, I can do that, and am proud of it! One should be able to see why, if one is trying directly to be humble, and is proud of himself when he thinks he has done it, he would have difficulty teaching others how to do it. In the second place, it involves renouncing all desire to exercise personal self-will when it conflicts with God’s will. That is a little harder, but I just about have that done, and am proud of my success in that area! I was crucified with Christ, but the “old man” seems to try to keep coming back to life again!
But the “bottom line” of how to develop humility seems to be this: Forget about trying! Each time you try and then check to see how well you do it, you will either be puffed up with pride at your success, or filled with despair at your failure! Both are bad, but if you can concentrate on trying to do all the good you can for humanity under God’s direction, you will become humble in the process, but although you may never know it, you might actually become a “most powerful preacher” and a “most humble man.”
There is a principle here that is very important in other areas also. You need to look at yourself enough to find your weaknesses, shortcomings and sins and correct them. You need to look to find your strengths and abilities to sharpen and use them more effectively. Then you need to quit looking at yourself and put your mind on Christ and the task at hand. For if you do not, you will become self-centered rather than Christ-centered, and whether that center has to do with your poor qualities or your good ones, it is not really a denial of self, and you can not follow Christ properly.