Into the Book


When I read Humility, by C.J. Mahaney, I wasn’t really open to the actual application of his book. Oh, sure, I read the book to learn more about ‘humility,’ but I wanted to read feel-good Bible verses and not worry about daily application. Well, let me tell you: this book floored me. By the time you finish this book, Mahaney literally will not let you get away without wanting to do some practical changes in your life. Read on for the rest of my thoughts on the book.

I always joke that I have trouble starting C.J. Mahaney books, but once I finish them they always impact me deeply (This was the case with Living the Cross-Centered Life). Like I said, I wasn’t keen on actually using the message of this book to change my life, but now I am planning to re-read this book, and to work on specific areas of pride in my life. But what has made Mahaney’s book so good?

First of all, all of his teaching about Humility is grounded in good, solid, Biblical doctrine. In fact, Mahaney uses theology to further humility. He emphasizes that our very salvation should be humbling; it was not anything in us which led us to be saved, but God’s grace alone. I was impressed by how his arguments were grounded in Scripture, which he provides throughout the book, further strengthening his ideas.

In the first part of the book, C.J. Mahaney contrasts pride and humility. Pride was the first sin, Mahaney writes, and it is a deadly weed which is always rooted in our heart. We must fight it constantly, or it will devour us. He also defines true humility, and contrasts it with pride. In the second part, Mahaney moves on to defining greatness, and how true humility can really cultivate true greatness. Of course, our greatest example in this area is Jesus Christ, who lived a humble life on earth, yet was undoubtedly the greatest ever to walk on Earth.

Of course, if you read a book on Humility, you’d expect there to be a substantial portion of application, and more than half of the book, the entire third part, is devoted to this subject. C.J. Mahaney gives practical suggestions and ideas for cultivating humility in your life, beginning with when you get up and when you go to bed. From there, he moves on to our relationship with others, and how that factors in to humility. And last he covers the topic of responding humbly to trials we face in life. He encapsulates all of his suggestions in a list in Chapter 12, entitled ‘How to Weaken Pride and Cultivate Humility.’

Like I wrote earlier, I wasn’t planning on taking this book to heart when I read it. But Mahaney begun with a theoretical examination of true humility and greatness, and then takes the book to a day-to-day level with an extensive application section. I highly recommend this book to anyone, and I will be re-reading it myself very soon.

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Published on 22 April, 2011. Last updated on


  1. Kaitlyn E.

    Thank you, Steve, for bringing these issues to light for us. I do not know anyone for SGM personally, or either of the people who wrote those articles, so I respond as an unbiased observer. The charges made in these two articles are very grave, if they are true. They remind us to be watchful and always discerning. However, I do caution anyone reading these articles to not judge off of hearsay. As I said before, I have never met anyone from either party, so I do not know who to believe. Part of our job as Christians and believers in Christ is to not allow ourselves to be swayed and pass judgment on mere whim. I know, from personal experience, how deadly this can be to the body of Christ.

    Thus far my judgment tells me that the general life and works of C.J. Mahaney speak of a life lived for Christ. To change that view based off of these two stories would be unfair. What I will do, and what I would welcome others to do, is pray for the parties involved in SGM, C.J., and these families who wrote these articles. The Lord knows the truth. I will leave it up to Him to deal justly with the parties involved, and ask that He illuminates truth to me.

    Again, Steve, thank you for helping inform us and allowing us to judge for ourselves. I appreciate that your post was not condemning in any way. Your words were simple, and informational. Because of the tone of your words, I did look into these articles. Thank you for maintaining a mature attitude about this.

    In Christ,

    Kaitlyn E., on behalf of ITB

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