I do not very often recommend books for others to read for a couple of reasons.
First, my readers are usually already reading books that they find are helpful to them at the time.
Second, others do a much better job of it. My brother, Steve, John Rush, and Pilgrim are very good reviewers, in my opinion.
However, every once in a while I will come across a book that I want everyone to read. The only book I have recommended so far is Bruce Ware’s awesome book, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance.
So I guess you could say that a book recommendation from me is something of an honor. (Not because I am that great, but that the books that I recommend are great.) One of the great modern books for the church at large is the book by C. J. Mahaney titled, Humility: True Greatness.
Humility is a great book for three main reasons. First, it is easily readable. Anyone can read this book. It is not a theological treatise on the doctrine of humility as much as it is a practical, Biblical look at what humility is. Second, it is very practical. There are so many practical things that the author outlines in the book to cultivate humility in our hearts. Thirdly, it is very flexible. The book can be read chapter by chapter, section by section, or, in one sitting. It is short enough to read in a couple of hours, but so full of wisdom that you could spend hours on end meditating and practicing the author’s suggestions. It is also very flexible in its practicality. You can adapt these suggestions to fit your own life with very little modification.
Anyway, enough of praising the books obvious superiority over other books in its readability, let’s look at what the author has to say.
The book is endorsed by some of my favorite preachers to begin with. Mark Dever, Al Mohler, and Jerry Bridges all recommend this book on it’s back cover. The foreword is written by Joshua Harris.
In the introduction, C. J. Mahaney let’s us know that he too is a fellow pilgrim on the road to humility. I do not believe this to be the case. I think he has already arrived, but he would have us think otherwise.
The author divides the book into three parts.
Part 1 Our Greatness Friend, Our Greatest Enemy: The Battle of Humility Versus Pride
Chapter one is titled, The Promise of Humility. This chapter focuses on God’s promise of blessing on the humble. This is not mere temporal blessings, as we so many times look for, but the blessing of God’s presence in our lives. It is God looking down on us.
Chapter two is titled The Perils of Pride. This chapter points us to the root of all sin, and the enemy of humility, Pride. Pride always brings forth sin. And sin always brings forth death.
Part 2 The Great Reversal: Our Savior and the Secret of True Greatness
Chapter three focuses on tearing down the perception of greatness that we all have, and refocuses our attention on what Christ called greatness.
In chapter four, the author shows us a picture of true greatness, according to the Scriptures.
Part 3 Our Great Pursuit: The Practice of True Humility
This final section of the book is longer than the previous two sections. All of part 3 is dedicated to showing us ways to cultivate humility and defeat pride in our own lives. The titles of these chapters really speak for themselves.
Chapter 5, As Each Day Begins. Chapter 6, As Each Day Ends. These two chapters focus on the spiritual disciplines. The author, and myself, recommend a book by Don Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.
Chapter 7, For Special Focus. Three practical suggestions for cultivating humility and weakening pride in this chapter are, meditating on the attributes of God, meditating on the doctrines of grace, and study the doctrine of sin.
Chapter 8, Identifying Evidences of Grace. This chapter shows us how to identify God’s grace in others, instead of finding fault where there is no fault.
Chapter 9, Encouraging Others. this chapter advises us to use the ability to identify grace in others as a means of encouraging them in their Christian walk.
Chapter 10, Inviting and Pursuing Correction. You probably need to buy the book for this chapter alone, if you are anything like me. We are encouraged to let others join us in looking at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word. They can see faults that we just can’t see. And instead of becoming bitter, conformity to the Word breeds humility before God and our brothers.
Chapter 11, Responding Humbly to Trials. The author suggests that instead of asking the question, “Why me?”, we should focus our attention on God’s grace in trials. He alludes to the prophet Habakkuk as an example of what it is to go through trials and yet rejoice in the midst of them because of God’s grace.
Chapter 12, A Legacy of Greatness. In this final chapter we are counseled to pass this attitude of humility on to our children. We pass humility on through our example, by defining humility and true greatness, and teaching them to serve.
The book ends with a list of suggestions for cultivating humility and weakening pride in our lives.
This book is well worth the money and time it takes to read it. So go buy it and read it.