“Are You Humble?”- Drawing Near to God

Wisdom on humility from Thomas Charles and Richard Baxter.

The Bible describes humility as a character that the Holy Spirit develops as well as a response to God that is commanded (see James 4:6ff; 1 Peter 5:6-9).

Here is wisdom from two great teachers of Christ’s Church to encourage us to seek humility by God’s grace in Christ alone!

Thomas Charles

“While the truly humble looks to everyone for assistance, the spiritually proud, instead of showing the humble deportment of a disciple who wants instruction, is swift to speak, and slow to hear, as if everybody wanted his teaching. Whatever deference is paid to him, he looks upon all as his undoubted right: and those who acknowledge not his merits, he treats as weak and ignorant fools.” – Thomas Charles

Richard Baxter asks some penetrating questions to help us to discover hidden pride within our hearts.

These questions are not in order to discourage or condemn us, but to show us of our great need of Jesus as a Great Savior. Let us worship God that He has given to us our Lord Jesus who is committed to us and will never leave us nor forsake us. When we confess our sins, Jesus gently and tenderly embraces us and forgive us of all of our unrighteousness. Won’t you go to him?

The Psalmist wrote that it is good to draw near to God (Psalm 73:28). You and I will only draw near to God as we understand our pride, confess it, and move toward God in humility. What kind of sacrifice does God require: Humility, and contrite, dependent hearts.

Read carefully:

Richard Baxter:

“Are you a person of worth in your own eyes, and very sensitive about your esteem with others?

Are you one that values much the applause of the people, and feels your heart tickled with delight when you hear of your great esteem among others, and are you much dejected when you hear men slight you?

Do you love those best who most highly honor you, and does your heart bear a grudge at those that you think undervalue you, and entertain mean thoughts of you, though they be otherwise people of godliness and honesty?

Are you one who always must be right?

Are you ready to quarrel with every person that lets fall a word in derogation of your honor; one who has the presumption to disagree with you?

Are your passions kindled, if you or your words are criticized?

Are you one that honors the godly that are rich, and think of yourself highly, if they value or honor you, but look down at those who are the godly poor, and find yourself ashamed to be their companion?

Are you one that cannot serve God in a low, as a well as a high place, and think yourself fit for offices and honors, and loves God’s service best when you get preferment?

Are you unacquainted with the deceitfulness and wickedness of your own heart, or know yourself to be vile only by reading or by hearsay, and not by experience and feeling of your vileness?

Are you ready to defend yourself, and maintain your innocency, than to accuse yourself, and confess your faults to God and man?

Can you hardly bear a reproof, correction or criticism from others?

Are you readier in your discourse and conversation to teach rather than to learn,–to dictate to others than to hearken to their instructions?

Are you bold and confident of your own opinions, and not suspicious of the weakness of your understanding?

Is your spirit more disposed to command and govern, than to obey and be ruled by others?

Are you ready to censure the doctrines of teachers, the actions of your rulers, and the character of your brethren, and to think, that if you were a judge, you would be more just, or if you were a minister, you would be more faithful in doctrine, and more faithful in overseeing, or if you had had the management of other men’s business, you would have carried it more wisely and honestly?

If these symptoms be undeniably in your heart, beyond doubt you are a proud person; pride has seized your heart, which is the principal fort of your person.

There is too much of hell abiding in you, for you to have any acquaintance with the grace of heaven; your soul is too much like the Devil, for you to have any familiarity with God.” – “Saints Everlasting Rest”

What do you do when you see this diabolical pride within you (James 3:14ff)?

When you recognize this, call out for grace from God through the Lord Jesus Christ:

“…[God] gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” – James 4:6-10

What else should you do? Let Christ’s mind rule you; look to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ; Christ laid aside His glory to consider you and your salvation more significant that his glory so that he might submit humbly to death for you, even death on a hideous cross (Phil. 2:5-8):

Do you consider others more important than yourself?

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”- Philippians 2:1-4

Praise to God that he gives more grace when in humility we can recognize this devilish pride in our hearts and cry out to him in helplessness to the Lord Jesus Christ who will come to our aid, commune with us, and teach us the way of humility because He loves us.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Charles