Friday, September 23, 2005

REVIEW: Humility: True Greatness

C.J. Mahaney. (Multnomah, October 2005)

Before reading this book I knew that it would be helpful. I'd encountered CJ Mahaney's self-effacing humour at the NewFrontiers conference in July. I knew the story of how CJ had handed over his church to Joshua Harris. I knew that it was a book I needed to read. I still remember briefly declaring myself humble after nine months of being a Christian. I knew that CJ, like everything else I've encountered from Sovereign Grace Ministries, is committed to a gospel-centred, cross-centred response to sin.

This short book comes in three parts. Firstly identifying Humility and its rival, pride. Pride is ignorant of age or vocation, CJ tells us, it lurks as a great enemy. Self-dependence and self-exaltation are deep rooted problems, infecting even apparent godliness. He then identifies humility was an honest assessment of ourselves in the light of God's holiness and our sinfulness.... a definition sure to lead us to the foot of the cross.

Part 2 draws our attention to the true greatness of Jesus, defined in humility. Jesus the supresme example of true greatness, defined in humility. Jesus who came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. It is Jesus who shines brightest in this book - Jesus the one who shows us humility in his life and death to cut at the heart of our pride.

Finally part 3, gives us some great application for practicing humility. CJ speaks from his experience to offer practical strategy to weaken pride and cultivate humility. Typically of CJ his strategy begins with the wonder of the cross, in the company of John Owen, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Stott. This cross centred way of living is fleshed out from the start of the day, to its end... drawing us to dependence on God in prayer and doctrinal depth.... to encouraging others and seeking to be corrected.

As this fatherly book draws to a close, CJ again reminds us to look to Jesus. Throughout the book he has walked with us, with honest weakness and pastoral, gentle, cross-centred teaching. This is a book I've found very convicting to read, and one that I think I may need to read again and again. Knowing that CJ will walk beside me on its pages, pointing me to Jesus is great comfort.

Order this book from Amazon UK
Direct from: Sovereign Grace Ministries (USA)

Also reviewed by:
Evers Ding
Paul Huxley
Tim Challies
Eric Zeller
Jeff Jones
Daniel Nairn
Mark Redfern
Drink Deeply