For clearer explanation of this post please read “Two Sides of the Same Coin” published on Treasure in Earthen Vessels website on April 18, 2013.
In an effort to add some muscle to my conclusions on depravity and humility, I have chosen to share a few quotes by renowned Christians. These quotes, presented as food for thought, are written by recognized authors, speakers, preachers and teachers of God’s Word. Many of them are men and women who helped shape Christianity as we know it today. References for the longer quotes are given at the bottom of the post.
Please read these selected writings slowly, and if possible, print them so you can give adequate time to digesting and discerning them for yourself. I believe these vital topics have been ignored, if not completely omitted from much modern-day Christian teaching, and I fear that the Church of today is suffering greatly because of it.
Chris Tiegreen ~ We praise this high and holy God for His power and majesty. Do we also praise Him for His humility? We can; we serve a humble God. He did not ride into this world on a gilded chariot. He was born in a stable. He left His radiant appearance to be clothed in a human body subject to temptation and pain. We are not worthy to utter His name, but He tells us to call Him Father and Friend….Consider the humility of God. The high and holy One is never inaccessible to someone with a contrite spirit. He encourages your intimacy with Him. He’ll even wash your feet.1
D.L. Moody ~ God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.
Andrew Murray ~ The salvation that Christ brought is not only a salvation that flows out of humility; it also leads to humility. We must understand that this is not only the salvation which Christ brought; but that it is exactly the salvation which you and I need. What is the cause of all the wretchedness of man? Primarily pride; man seeking his own will and his own glory. Yes, pride is the root of every sin, and so the Lamb of God comes to us in our pride, and brings us salvation from it. We need above everything to be saved from our pride and our self-will; it is good to be saved from the sins of stealing, murdering, and every other evil; but a man needs above all to be saved from what is the root of all sin, his self-will and his pride.2
Benjamin Franklin ~ A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
J. Oswald Sanders ~ Humility, the antithesis of pride, has been defined….as the virtue by which man becomes conscious of his own unworthiness. We never conquer a sin of which we are unconscious or over which we do not grieve. We must hate what God hates. Self-knowledge is not easy to come by, as we are all so prepossessed in our own favor. We see the splinter in our brother’s eye with great clarity but, with strange inconsistency, fail to detect the plank in our own. We need to genuinely ask God to expose us to ourselves. When we see ourselves as we truly are, we will sink in self-abasement.3
Oswald Chambers ~ Self complacency and spiritual pride are always the beginning of degeneration. When I begin to be satisfied with where I am spiritually, I begin to degenerate.
Charles Spurgeon ~ Beware of no man more than yourself; we carry our worst enemies with us.
F. B. Meyer ~ I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God’s gifts are on shelves beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.4
Ann Voskamp ~ Humility isn’t burden or humiliation or oppressive weight but humility is the only posture than can receive the wondrous grace gifts of God—God who humbled Himself and came to the feed trough.5
Sarah Young ~ In her book Jesus Calling, Christ speaks in first person: “Though you are an earthen vessel, I designed you to be filled with heavenly contents. Your weakness is not a deterrent to being filled with My Spirit; on the contrary, it provides an opportunity for My Power to shine forth more brightly.”6
Donald G. Stamps ~ Christianity is not the removal of weakness, nor is it merely the manifestation of divine power. Rather, it is the manifestation of divine power through human weakness.7
V. Raymond Edman ~ Climbing in the Spirit is accomplished by kneeling and not by running; by surrender, and not by determination….First, there is a hunger of heart, often followed by a sense of desperation that leads to utter surrender of self. Thereafter, there is the meeting of the soul with God in whatever manner the Almighty is pleased to reveal Himself to the desperate seeker who, like Jacob, will not let Him go until there is blessing.8
J.I. Packer ~ For only at the point where the insufficiency of natural strength is faced, felt, and admitted, does divine empowerment begin….Divine strength is perfected in conscious human weakness….If I could remember each day of my life, that the way to grow stronger is to grow weaker, if I would accept that each day’s frustration, obstacles, and accidents are God’s ways of making me acknowledge my weakness, so that growing stronger might become a possibility for me, if I did not betray myself into relying on myself—my knowledge, my experience, my position, my skill with words, and so on—so much of the time, what a difference it would make to me!… May God in His great mercy weaken us all! 9
A.W. Tozer ~ The inner veil is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety and their power. To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our nature to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them….Self is the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us. It can never be removed only in spiritual experience; never by mere instruction…..There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment.10
Hannah Whitall Smith ~ The “old man” is, of course, the self-life, and this self-life (which we know only too well is indeed corrupt according to deceitful lusts) is not to be improved but to be put off. It is to be crucified….It is of no use, then, for us to examine self and to tinker with it in the hope of improving it, for the thing the Lord wants us to do with it is to get rid of it.11
Cora Harris MacIlravy ~ Let us remember that the Lord does not pour the Spikenard of Humility upon the evil odors of our pride and arrogance. It is easy to ask God to adorn us with humility and enable us to be lost sight of in Christ. But the process, through which we must pass to receive the answer to this prayer, is the way of the cross and suffering. It is ever taking sides against ourselves; it is refusing to pity our own suffering; it is taking sides against all the workings and evil odors of our pride, self-confidence and self-seeking. For only when the alabaster box is cleansed of these self-workings, can it be filled with the Spikenard of Humility.12
Amy Carmichael ~ If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
We must never be dismayed over the wretchedness of man, for “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). Great victory awaits those who will humble themselves and ask God to allow them see the hidden mysteries of the gospel. ~ Janie Kellogg
*Note: In all quotes above, emphasis has been added to words shown in italics.
1Chris Tiegreen, The One-Year at His Feet Devotional (Netherlands: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003), 195.
2Andrew Murray, The Master’s Indwelling, 34.
3J. Oswald Sanders, quoted in Dr. Bruce H. Wilkerson, 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1999), 75.
4F. B. Meyer, quoted in Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2010), 171.
5Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2010), 171.
6Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 100.
7Donald G. Stamps, Life in the Spirit Study Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), Notes for 2 Corinthians 4:7, 1816.
8V. Raymond Edman, They Found the Secret (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1960, 1984), 53.
9J. I. Packer quoted in Dr. Bruce H. Wilkerson, 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1999), 90.
10A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Wingspread Publishers, 1982, 1993), 42-43.
11Hannah Whitall Smith, quoted in Dr. Bruce H. Wilkerson, 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1999), 63.
12Cora Harris MacIlravy, Christ and His Bride (Chicago, Illinois: The Elbethel Christian Work, 1916), 86.
2 thoughts on “What Other Writers Say about Depravity and Humility”
I really appreciate your quotes taken from dead people….They are the best kind. In me, that is in my flesh there is no good thing. I would say that verse alone is strong evidence that I am hopelessly depraved. When one sees that and comes to Jesus at the cross much as the thief did, seeking to obtain mercy and find grace …. There I find Jesus has paid it all, that He, as Spirit will enter our spirit and begin a process of dispensing Himself into my spirit. My depravity is yet unchanged yet Jesus Himself and His righteous is increasingly dominant. I can praise and glorify God that he lives in me and daily imputed His righteousness and Godliness into me. As Milton Green would say “We just get in on it ” !!! That is why “All Glory is to Jesus, King of Glory. Hallelujah to the Ruler of Heaven and earth!
Thank you once again for your comment on my blog. I love your insights and appreciate you sharing them with my other readers. I would like to clarify that four of the writers I quoted are living and writing today: Ann Voskamp, Sarah Young, Chris Tiegreen and J. I. Packer. Your comment did spark in me to look at more current-day writers and I know there are many out there with the same message on depravity & humility. Since I cut my teeth on the works of writers from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, that is where I looked first for supporting quotes. It was many of these very quotes I had tried to digest for years that helped me grasp this truth. I especially liked your comment of “begin a process dispensing Himself into my spirit.” That is this concept in a nutshell! And to that I wholeheartedly say “Yes and Amen!” Please keep the comments coming!