Wednesday, June 29, 2011


“What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God.”
~Monica Baldwin

 Gate Handle by Vera Kratochvil

Humility is a hallmark characteristic of a successful life. While the best leaders are not always humble, there is a certain transcendent quality to those leaders who possess a true spirit of humility.

Another of my favorite all-time books is The Call by Os Guinness. If you are looking for your true calling, this is a life-changing book. One of my favorite excerpts from the book is about humility:
At times the church of Christ has created institutional ways of challenging pride. Few are more moving than the burial ceremony of the Hapsburg emperors, who were laid to rest in the vaults of the Capuchin monastery in Vienna.

When Emperor Franz Josef died, the grand cortege arrived at the closed doors of the monastery and a herald knocked at the gate. From within the voice of the Abbott could be heard asking:

“Who are you, who knocks?”

“I am Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary,” the herald replied.

“I don’t know you. Tell me again who you are?”

“I am Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Bohemia, Galicia, Lodomeria, and Dalmatia, Grand Duke of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia, Duke of Styria and Corinthia…”

“We still don’t know you. Who are you?” the sepulchral voice reiterated. Whereupon the herald knelt down and said:

“I am Franz Josef, a poor sinner humbly begging for God’s mercy.”

“Thou mayest enter then,” the Abbott said and the gates were flung open.
This is a wonderful picture of true humility.

Do you believe that there are resources in Christianity that allow us to increase our humility? Humans are deeply self-centered creatures. It seems we use anything in our power to justify ourselves – our jobs, our money, our family, our possessions. There is no limit to our capacity for self-centeredness. 

This self-centeredness flies right into the face of humility. How can we truly be humble and yet constantly trying to justify ourselves? This is an exhausting life.

But, when Jesus came (not a religion), He blew the doors off of self-centeredness. Through Christ, justification is no longer needed. He saw us at our worst and still accepted us. The need to be “good enough” is gone through what Jesus accomplished. Jesus did not choose us because we were good enough. He chose us because he loves us – period.

Do you believe this? Have you ever spent time thinking about this resource?

What are you using to justify yourself today? Will you set it down and put your eyes on the One who loved you and me when we were unlovable? The path to true humility is only found in the restful arms of a loving Savior.

“True humility is contentment.”
~Henri Frederic Amiel

Question:Why is self-justification such a powerful force? Please leave comments below.


Sherri said...

Jason this is such a great post. (Saw your comment on Michael Hyatt's blog.) I am learning over and over again to remember that it is not about me. It is about God and what he chooses to do through me. That needs to be an intentional (love that word) mindset everyday for me. It can also help me settle into humility - servanthood - as I remember that I have nothing to prove - can't do that anyway. I have only to be obedient. That is so freeing. Thank you for a great post.

Jason said...

Sherri, I struggle with this concept. I feel like I have to justify myself with God and with others. It's an exhausting life at times. I know this material, but applying it daily is the challenge. Thanks for the comment.

Ken said...

Jason I think that we are taught as children that rewards come based on how well-behaved we are, how smart we are, how good we are. When we try to receive God's free gift of forgiveness and love based entirely on what He did, we find it sometimes difficult to grasp, even though none of us are good enough. Thanks

Jason said...

God's way definitely flies in the face of what society teaches us about our worth. Thanks for the comment.

Tony J Alicea said...

Self-justification is important because we see ourselves as the source. When we are responsible for our own reputation, we are required to justify ourselves to others. We must prove our worth and our value.

Jesus flips all that on its head because the King of the universe came and "made himself of no reputation" (Phil. 2:7). Because of His humility, God exalted Him.

When we walk in that same humility, we are trusting in God's reputation to speak for us. Then we no longer have to justify ourselves because He justifies on our behalf.

Jason said...

I love the idea of trusting in God's reputation. Great point! I've really enjoyed following your blog. Thanks for stopping by!