Humility. We know we need it. Lots of it.
But we don’t often know how to get it.
With the words of the late Jerry Bridges, The Blessing of Humility has been published to help answer the how of humility.
According to Bridges, humility ranks second only to love as the most frequently taught trait in the New Testament.
“I regard these two traits as the foundational stones of Christian character. All other character traits, in one way or another, are built upon love and humility.”
The Blessing of Humility works through the eight Beatitudes from Jesus as the foundation for each chapter on humility.
For example, in the Poor in Spirit chapter (“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:3), Bridges makes the connection between poverty of spirit and humility in this way:
“Believers who are growing continue to see more sin in their lives. It is not that they are sinning more; rather they are becoming more aware of and more sensitive to the sin that has been there all along.”
In Chapter 4, “Meek” (“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” Matthew 5:5), Bridges says,
“As I reflect on our evangelical community to the extent I am aware of it, it seems we are more knowers of the Word than doers of the Word. . . .
We do not receive with meekness the implanted Word of God (James 1:21). Instead we too often use the Scriptures not as a means of judging ourselves, but as a means of judging others, especially those whose sins are more flagrant than ours.”
And Bridges continues with:
“It takes humility to not murmur or complain about the difficult and painful events in life, but instead to see them as God’s work of growing us more and more into the likeness of Christ. It takes humility to bear with and forgive those who hurt us in some way. And it certainly takes humility to repay evil with good.”
Bridges closes the book in Chapter 10, “Humility and the Gospel,” with this challenge:
“As we have gone through the Beatitudes, we have found that the truly humble person is poor in spirit, mourns over their sin, is meek toward God and other people, hungers and thirsts for righteousness, is merciful toward other people, is pure in heart, is a peacemaker, and considers themselves blessed when persecuted or reviled for righteousness’ sake. This is a formidable list, one that none of us will ever perfectly attain to.
That is why we need the gospel every day. It is the gospel that will keep us from becoming discouraged and will instead motivate us to keep pursuing humility, even when we fail so often.
We also need to daily realize our dependence on the work and power of the Holy Spirit to pursue the various expressions of humility.”
This isn’t my favorite Jerry Bridges’ book (I rank The Discipline of Grace, Trusting God and True Community higher), partly because of my aversion to Bridges’ elevation of the Bible itself as an item almost to be worshiped. However, with disclaimer noted, this book is still worthy of your reading time.
I appreciate Bridges’ spiritual growth philosophy that echoes throughout his books, including this one, “the principle of dependent responsibility.” Paraphrasing Bridges, I sum it up like this:
Want more humility?
Become more aware of your dependence on the Holy Spirit to get it.
* * *
Who can claim they have enough humility? None of us. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
My thanks to Tyndale
for the review copy of this book
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