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Humility: True Greatness

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  3,939 ratings  ·  214 reviews
Be Transformed by Christ’s Example

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” —1 Peter 5:5

A battle rages within every one of us every day. It’s the clash between our sense of stubborn self-sufficiency and God’s call to recognize that we’re really nothing without Him. It’s pride versus humility. And it’s a fight we can’t win without looking repeatedly to Christ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 30th 2005 by Multnomah Books
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KC McCauley
This book is a great resource that provides biblical and practical instruction and motivation on how to weaken pride and cultivate humility. I highly recommend this book as it is very timely and relevant to our prideful society. This was a much needed read for me, and it will continue to be a favored book in the future!

Here is a list of suggestions from the book on how to weaken pride and cultivate humility.

Always do this:
- Reflect on the wonder of the cross of Christ.

As each day begins:
- Begi...more
Brian
This is truly become one of my favorite books. This is currently the only book I have read on the subject of Humility. I recommend it for all. A few sections are designed for parents but those that are not parents and have a desire to become a parent can start from day one raising your children the way God intended with the parenting tips that C. J. Mahaney gives in these sections. He also gives a few different lists that he recommends everyone follows. I know that no two people are identical an...more
Jon
This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit.–Isaiah 66:2. So needed. So timely. So beautiful. The humble man is layed out perfectly and plainly. A clear definition of what humility is, what pride is, what pride does, and how to daily cultivate humility. C. J. opens up a gorgeous picture of what true greatness is. He delivers the statement that the Greatest One that walked this earth was humble to show us how to be great. It’s done by death. Sacrifice. Pain. And o...more
Gail
I'm going to hazard a guess that the people you respect most in life are humble. Understated, encouraging, gracious individuals can't seem to fly under the radar as much as they'd like because people are drawn to them. They're the best leaders, servants, friends, spouses, and parents.

The book is divided into three parts.
C.J. Mahaney defines what humility is and isn't in the first part of the book, makes a case for Christ being the humble answer to sinful pride in the second, and gives strategy...more
Joon Park
It's now impossible to read this book without being aware of C.J. Mahaney's current troubles with Sovereign Grace Ministries. After a 600+ page document outed him and his ministry with disturbing practices, he's taken a leave of absence to "re-assess" himself. The main word for his troubles: pride. So it's with a strange retrospect that I went through his seminal work on humility.

The book, it must be said, is a strong work on its subject. But I felt two distinct undercurrents like fissures in h...more
Christopher
Here are some notes I took on this book:

Helpful practices for fighting pride and developing humility -

Focus yourself to speak words of needy dependence and trust to God when you wake in the morning.

Begin your morning prayerfully and meditating on God's Word.

Redeem your commute by using it to listen to or memorize Scripture.

Don't listen to yourself throughout the day, preach to yourself.

At the end of the day as you fall asleep in your bed, don't worry about tommorrow, but review the day and give...more
Dustin
Humility – Honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.

This is the first book I read in 2008. My biggest struggles in life stem from my pride; there is no way of getting around it. When I read in the opening paragraph, “Humility is a funny thing. On the one hand, it’s an extremely desirable trait. Most of us, as Christians, would say we want to be humble, right? Or at least WE WANT TO BE THOUGHT OF AS HUMBLE. At the same time, few of us have given attention to wha...more
Megan Larson
Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.
-Isaiah 66:1-2

"It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such...more
Dave Courtney
A really easy read but memorable. C.J. Mahaney lives near Washington/Balitimore and acts as ministry support to Churches in the surrounding areas. He presents himself as knowledgeable in the are of theology and has a grasp of pastoral experience. While he clearly has a passion for Christian leaders, this book is geared towards the Christian life in general. Built on the idea that pride is both our greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend. He is adamant that learning how to deal with the p...more
Kelly
I haven't done everything Mahaney recommended in his book, so in that sense I'm not really finished with it. He provides several additional book recommendations, as well as scriptures to learn and meditate on, but that's not really what I'm referring to. What really stood out to me about C.J. Mahaney was the way he was able to say some things to me that I might have dismissed coming from another author. All my life I've had trouble with some of the tenants of Reformed Theology, but when Mahaney...more
John
CJ has once again provided a theologically sound yet practically rich work. This little book, as is typical for Mahaney, left me with several soundbite gems that have already convicted and affected me. He begins by building the case that God pursues and provides grace to the humble (Is 66:2). It is the contrite in spirit that draw the gaze of the sovereign God, thus equipping us to achieve true greatness through servant leadership in the Kingdom. Pride is ultimately a battle for supremacy with G...more
Linda
Just discovered how powerful C. J. Mahaney's writing is, particularly because he is so simple, yet so transparent in his weaknesses. Yet again, this small book has impacted me in thinking about what "true greatness" is, which is humility, and servanthood, as defined in Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve.
Pride as defined by Mahaney is contending for supremacy with God and the chief purpose is self glorification and attempting to rob God of all glory and praise, which only He alone is...more
Linette Soberay
This was an excellent book that offered a true and open perspective on biblical humility. There were so many places in this book that my eyes were opened to so many things in my life. The fact that this book reiterates the fact that only Jesus lived a perfectly humble and never proud life was great.

I also really liked how this book didn't only point out pride and how it manifests itself it also was excellent that it gave ways to really focus on God's humility and gain humility in yourself. The...more
Nathanael
Charles Zimmerman, professor of practical theology at Biblical Seminary (PA), summed up much theological truth with the (quoted) phrase: "God is God. And I am not." I heard this from him a few times, several years ago during a few conferences he keynoted. The phrase, due to its simplicity, stuck with me.

God is God. I am not.

Much of the Christian life happens in realizing the depth and impact of those words. In this short book, Mahaney captures most of that key step: realizing the truth of God an...more
Luke
Devotionally, this book is the type a person would be well served to read once a year. It is tender in its simplicity and challenging in its message. It frames the central component of human accomplishment and earthly greatness as 'power under control' and servanthood. Each of these themes is powerfully portrayed through the words of Jesus in Mark 10 and all through the Gospels. I have some reservations about these ideas unfairly penalizing doers and those who seek to accomplish, but the book is...more
Doug Sullivan
One of those times a book strikes you funny, and you have no patience for it. Judging by the many positive reviews, I know I stand corrected. But it seemed mechanical, and I'm not sure humility can be broken down and analyzed. It is truly a byproduct of becoming more like Jesus. Should we notice someone by their humility, as C.S. Lewis said, or by their lack of self? One is trying to be something, and the other is becoming less of something. May He increase, and I decrease!
Adam Ross
This was an interesting book on pride and humility in the Christian life. Content gets 3 and 1/2 stars, but the written form gets 2 stars. The book is annoyingly written in the way that many of these self-help books are, with a simpering tone, as though the author is talking down to the reader, like we're too dumb to really get what he's talking about. Had some helpful stuff in it, as I say, but the form was incredibly patronizing.
Dottie Parish
This is a small book with a very large message. Mahaney writes a clear, well thought out exploration of the problem with our prideful souls. His main thesis is that pride is our greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend. He says: “Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in the light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” 22

Mahaney exposes his own difficulties with pride, sprinkling his writing with quotes from well known Christians. He details pride evident in the disciples and the great...more
Kathleen
Although good, for some reason this just isn't my favorite book on the subject. There were some helpful illustrations but I have found the Puritan writings on this topic more meaningful & exposing. I expect books on this topic to have somewhat of a branding iron effect on me & this one didn't quite hit the target. Don't highly recommend it.
Jill
Maybe my expectations were too high. I wanted the author to more actively engage me. It seemed like sometimes he backed away from the challenge I (and maybe he as well) needed to take from the Bible references he uses. Also, I wanted him to go ahead and admit that the issues are as complex as they are. Some ideas felt too simplified.
Evan
Thought he had some good points, didn't love the more emotional writing style, did love that the gospel was completely infused. Didn't think it went very in-depth into humility, but stuck with the root cause: not clearly looking at the gospel, the cross, and our sin. Gave a practical list of things that help him stay humble.
Jeffodist
There are some things I really liked in this book. Like the commentary on Eph. 4:29 and Paul's letter to the Corinthians. But there were some things I didn't care for, like the image of God as executioner--"How will God save? He will save by executing His Son--"(p.54)
Al Garlando
The source or motivation for humility is NOT Jesus example, but his death on the cross.

Mark 10:45 the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many

I made some comments & summary on chapter 5 here: http://wp.me/3zEp
Matthew Shedd
Rarely do I find a book that challenges me as much as this. While small in size, and easy to read, the challenge that it leaves for the readers life is very daunting. This book instantly becomes a must read for my family, and I would recommend it to you as well.
Angela
CJ Mahaney doesn't just talk about the concept/idea of humility, he also provides practical application about how to live out a humble life. Once again, CJ Mahaney ties all his points back to the cross and backs everything up with accurate scriptural insight.
Michelle Mccauley
Great book that discusses the war of pride and humility in our lives. Very practical and easy to understand. Mahaney describes what true biblical greatness really is and gives insight on cultivating a servant's heart. I highly recommend it!
Jennifer
A great reminder on where we should place our thoughts. I found the latter portion of the book to delve in to pride versus humility. The beginning was overview with numerous recommended further readings.
Amanda
The content in this was good, however I would have liked it better if it had been written with boldness and much scripture verses personal experience. This seemed to have more of a self-help undertone.
Jack
I didn't underline in this book, it just wasn't that kind of book. I think it is a hard topic to write on but nevertheless I did get somethings from the book that will come up in every day life.
Bonnie Haidle
Simple, short treatment of this topic. Not enough Scripture for my liking! We used this book in a study group.
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C.J. Mahaney leads Sovereign Grace Ministries in its mission to establish and support local churches. He spent 27 years pastoring Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

He currently co-hosts the Together for the Gospel conference with Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Albert Mohler and serves on the Council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and on the boards of The Council on Biblica...more
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“Encourage others each and every day–nothing’s more important than our words.

Did you know that, on average, each of us speaks about twenty-five thousand words daily? My last book didn’t have that many words. A lot of language is flowing out of our mouths every day and having an impact on those around us. But how much of that flow is fulfilling God’s intended purpose for our speech? How much of it reflects pride, rather than a gospel-motivated humility?”
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“Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” 3 likes
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