Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Overcoming the World with Humility,or, there was Humility before CJ

My contemplation inspired by A SERIOUS CALL TO A DEVOUT AND HOLY LIFE by William Law (1686-1761)

One of the many things that make it difficult to practice humility is that it requires men to live contrary to the spirit of this world.

When you first apply yourself to pursue humility, you are a toddler learning to walk because humility is so contrary to your former temperament and habits of mind. A great deal must be both learned and unlearned to excel in this art. You must abandon those things which the spirit of this world has made you value. You must learn the hard lesson of denying your own spirit, which was born deeply stained with pride and in love with your own opinions. Thus, you must unlearn what the spirit of the world has taught you, before you can be governed by the spirit of humility, given by the One who described his own heart as meek & lowly.

The devil is called in Scripture the prince of this world, because he has been temporarily given great power in it, and thus many of its rules and principles are composed by this evil spirit, the father of all lies. Now, according to these lies, whose corrupt air we have all breathed, there are many things you have formerly considered great and honourable, and most desirable, which are not. A humble man must conquer these lies. No longer must you allow your pride to value advantage over others, or love the greedy accumulation of comfort and security. Your energies must let go of striving to be more beautiful or fit than others, or having important careers and superior education so as to be looked on with admiration. The love of money and status must be conquered. The progress of the Gospel is chiefly the progress of Christ's conquest over the spirit of the world. And the number of true Christians are those who, following the Spirit of Christ, have learned to live contrary to this spirit of the world. Praise God that, "whoever is born of God, overcomes the world."

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