C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity makes a brilliant observation about gospel-humility at the very end of his chapter on pride. If we were to meet a truly humble person, Lewis says, we would never come away from meeting them thinking they were humble.They would not be always telling us they were a nobody (because a person who keeps saying they are a nobody is actually a self-obsessed person). The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.
Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as, ‘I’m in this room with these people, does that make me look good? Do I want to be here?’ True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self-forgetfulness. The blessed rest that only self-forgetfulness brings.
True gospel-humility means an ego that is not puffed up but filled up. This is totally unique. are we talking about big self-esteem? No. So is it low self-esteem? Certainly not. It is not about self-esteem. Paul simply refuses to play that game (I Cor. 4). He says ‘I don’t care that much about my opinion’ – and that is the secret.
A truly gospel-humble person is not a self-hating person or a self-loving person, but a gospel-humble person. The truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes. It just works. It does not draw attention to itself. The toes just work; the ego just works. Neither draws attention to itself.
- Tim Keller
Repeatedly the Bible calls the Christian church a new nation. We are ‘fellow citizens with God’s people’ (Eph. 2:19); we are a ‘holy nation’ (1 Peter 2:9), which literally means we are a new ethnicity. Our relationship to each other in Christ is to be stronger than our relationship to other members of our racial and national groups. When you become a Christian, you are not primarily from Ohio or Germany or Asia; you are not primarily Anglo, African-American, Asian, or Hispanic; you are not primarily white collar or blue collar. You are a citizen of God’s nation.
The Bible says some remarkable things about race when it states that the only true division in the human race is one of faith. There are only two ‘nations’ or ‘peoples’ on earth: those who belong to God and those who do not (1 Peter 2:9–10). God forbids marriage between these two groups of people, unbelievers and believers (2 Cor. 6:14–16), since this is the only way, in God’s view, to marry outside of one’s people. Numbers 12:1–16 presents a striking example of God’s view of interracial marriage: Moses’ wife was a Cushite, an African with dark skin—and a believer in the Lord. Miriam, Moses’ sister, opposed the interracial marriage, and God punished her by turning her leprous, ‘white as snow’ (v.10). God punished her prejudice by making her more white! Thus Christians have a special test for racism. If racial differences are more important to you than differences in belief, you are acting as a racist.
- Tim Keller
Quote taken from The Gospel and Our Prejudice.
‘To get a name’ in the Bible is to get what we call an identity. God, of course, constantly names people in the Bible. When he names Adam, Abraham, Israel, and even Jesus, he refers to what he has already done or what he is going to do in their lives. When God tells someone ‘what I have done/will do is your name,’ he means that his grace in their lives should be the defining factor.
Our security, our priorities, our sense of worth and uniqueness – all the things we call identity – should be based on what God has done for us and in us. This means that if we do not have a name, if we are insecure and have to ‘find who we are,’ we have either no grasp or an inadequate grasp of what God has done.
- Tim Keller