14 August 2014
Foundational Ideas: Self-Denial/Humility
One of the more bothersome things that I see both inside and outside of the church is our self-centeredness. I am not sure if it is due to the culture in which we were raised, but it seems to me that many of us are quite certain we are the center of the world. The world exists to serve us. Our thoughts are self-serving. Not only are we self-centered, but as Larry Crabb talks about in his book Men and Women, we justify our self-centeredness. We find ways to make it okay for us to act like our own needs are preeminent.
However, we are called to forget ourselves. Jesus reminded us to take up our crosses, deny ourselves daily, and follow him. In his book Christless Christianity, Michael Horton is quick to remind us that God is not a player in our story, we are players in His. We exist for him and his glory. God is the creator of all things and the only one worthy of devotion. The person who helped me to see this most clearly was John Piper. His book Desiring God was profoundly influential in my life, though the glory of God drips from much of what he writes or says. As he says, God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him. Indeed, he is our supreme treasure, and worthy of glory. Beyond that, however, our lives are to be offered in service to others, which involves setting aside ourselves (humility) and willingly giving of ourselves for others.
One of the most useful little books I have found in this regard is Timothy Keller’s The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, though there have been some other good books on humility written as well.