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Book Review – Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney

April 14, 2012

     Humility: True Greatness, by C.J. Mahaney, begins just as you would expect: with contrasts between pride and humility along with a definition and a picture of humility as exemplified by Jesus Christ.

It progresses to the next stage by giving the standard practical actions to “mortify  pride and cultivate humility.”

Those helpful ideas include: reflecting on the wonder of the cross – that the perfect Lamb of God would lay down His life for us, to begin your day by acknowledging your need for God, and to express gratitude to God throughout the day.

At the ending of each day the reader is encouraged to reflect back on the day and carefully give God the glory for each grace bestowed.

For further cultivation of humility we are to study the attributes of God and the Doctrines of Grace followed by the Doctrine of Sin.

This is all very good and necessary. (And that comes from a person who is proud more often than humble, I am sad to say.)

Then the book started to get interesting to me. The author reminded me that I need to identify evidences of grace in other people. He reminded me that my pride is evidenced by my critical spirit. He gave the example of Paul’s thankfulness to God for the Corinthians. After all, if Paul can be sincerely thankful for that group of immature believers, I can certainly be less critical of those that I interact with. 🙂

In the next chapter we are challenged to put the previous lesson into practice by using our speech to edify others and to verbally communicate those sightings of God’s grace in them.

Our pride is brought to light by the attitude we have when correcting others. When we admonish with humility it communicates that we have experienced hope and that we want to minister that hope to others.

The next chapter deals with inviting criticism, and I don’t mean by purposely making mistakes. This is about being accountable and transparent to others and to actively pursue their honest opinions about your actions.  If you were not growing in humility before you asked, you will be forced to be so if you have chosen faithful friends to critique you.

The book begins its wrap-up with a chapter on response to suffering and ends with a chapter on our legacy of humility.

We are asked to be discerning in our ambitions for our children. Do we want them to be great in the world’s eyes or to be servants. Are our goals for them temporary or eternal?

The book started off very predictable, but I needed its message – the whole message. I needed to be reminded that the war against pride is an ongoing battle and that I win by looking at my Savior and cultivating that same servant attitude in my life.

I heard that Mr. Mahaney was asked to step down from his position as pastor because of pride. I didn’t spend time to research and to find out the details, because it didn’t matter to me. This book was Biblical. Just because the author struggles with pride in his life does not invalidate the message. We need humility because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2012 7:57 am

    I’m glad you finished the book, Candy, and found it helpful. Just reading your post has reminded me of things I learned. I probably need to go back and read it again.

    I am just about finished with Paul David Tripp’s War of Words. Another book I highly recommend. If I would sum it up: it’s a heart issue! The most important thing I am taking away from it is to speak redemptively . . in all situations.


    P.S. I have heard that Pastor Mahaney has been restored. It is a great thing to see the Body working together to restore rather than to tear down,

    • April 14, 2012 8:11 am

      Yes, I heard that he was restored to pastor too. I chose not to get involved with something I knew nothing about, but to stay focused on the book itself. Thanks for your recommendation, Kathy. I just started “Pracicing Affirmation” by Sam Crabtree.

  2. Rosie P:otter permalink
    April 14, 2012 9:24 am

    Thank you Candy for a great review. It was very helpful and encouraging.

  3. August 9, 2012 9:22 am

    Have you heard what Mahaney has admitted doing and that he has stepped down as leader of Sovereign Grace Ministries? It looks like at best Mahaney is an example of do as I say vs. how he does.

    The worst thing is how Mahaney blackmailed the cofounder of their group Larry Tomczak and that Mahaney hid this sin for 13 years.

    Hope this helps.

    • August 11, 2012 9:11 pm

      I mentioned that CJ Mahaney had stepped down from Sovereign Grace Ministries in the blog post and explained why I felt the book’s information was valuable. I do not allow links in blog comments and for this reason they were removed.

      • August 12, 2012 7:29 am

        Just realize that with C.J. Mahaney he is more of an example of do as I say vs. as I do.

        Even other top SGM Leaders were wondering at the time he wrote this book on humility how he could be doing it when he wasn’t practicing a lot of what he taught.

        It has also come out that at this same time Mahaney was hiding his sin of blackmailing Larry Tomczak.

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