Sunday, February 8, 2015

Thoughts on Humility--Drawn from Thomas Watson (Part II)

A few days ago I posted some thoughts on humility, drawn from Thomas Watson's book The Godly Man's Picture. Today, I want to finish up that post by looking at some suggestions Watson makes on dealing with the issue of pride in one's life.

Watson reminds us that we must strive for humility. "It is better to lack anything rather than humility." Some things Watson exhorts us to remember...

1) The higher rank a man is in his life, the more humble he ought to be.

2) God loves a humble soul (Isa. 57:15; 66:2).

3) The times we live in are humbling. When God sends affliction upon a people, it is meant to make them humble.

4) Pride is a horrible sin.

5) Pride goes about causing problems for everyone.

6) The irony of humility is that the more humble you become the greater you will be esteemed in others' eyes.

So how do we actually become humble? Watson provides three answers.

First, we should look at Christ as our example of humility. We should study his life and by studying his life we can come to see what it truly is to be humble. Christ took on flesh though He was God. That is the greatest demonstration of humility ever.

Second, we should study the immensity and purity of God because a sight of glory humbles us. As a side note (and one that Watson doesn't say but I am sure would agree with), this is why as pastors and youth pastors we MUST teach our students theology and not just "practical" teaching. In my opinion, there is nothing more practical than showing them the glory of God.

Third, we should study ourselves. Here Watson says we must study two things: our dark side and our good side. By studying our dark side we see how evil we are and this should humble us.

By studying our good side we can see several important things...
  • The good we achieve is pretty small compared to the grace we have received. In other words, considering how much grace we have received, we lack much in our actions.
  • The grace you have is not because of you. It is a free gift of God.
  • Look at others who are mature in Christ. You will then recognize how far you have to go.
  • Any beauty in your actions are blemished.
  • When all else fails, consider that you are going to die. There is nothing more humbling  than realizing that you have a limited amount of time here on earth. 
Watson's words can come across as harsh but I think they are tremendously helpful. Pride is not a sin to take lightly or to handle gently. If we are serious about holiness, we must be serious about sin. If you deal gently with sin, sin deals harshly with holiness. We must be at war with the pride in ourselves.

I think though that there is a lot of grace to be found in this advice as well. Christ is the one who has MORE than equipped us to deal with pride. We are utterly dependent upon the one who has already defeated pride. We serve a God who shows us grace in spite of our pride.

I hope you have profited as much from Watson's words as I have. In the Puritans I have found a powerful ally in dealing with sin.

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