Change ). Pride was the mark of the unconverted Augustine, and humility a goal of the rest of his long life. In his spiritual autobiography The Confessions, Augustine often reflected on how his moments of greatest pain and sorrow were when he relied on himself, and his moments of greatest comfort and joy were when he experienced God’s humbling grace in his life. Augustine, for example, argues that while all agree on the need for humility, Christianity enables humans to achieve what the pagans can only preach. He now said that what the pagan world had called wisdom was redefined by Jesus as humility, because humility was the first rung on the Christian ladder to perfection. Girls, Body Image, and Theological Poetry: Lucy Hutchinson on the Beauty of the Human Body, 5 Surprising Things That the Bible Says about Sex, A Nova Scotian Pastor Reflects on a Year of COVID, Terror, Tragedy and Racism, What the Bible Teaches about Divorce and Remarriage, Who Is The Whore Of Babylon?

The pagan world, despite its vaunted humanism, regarded the very conditions of earthly existence as a stigma. The mature Augustine, richly educated in all the great writings available to him, knew from personal experience that only through Christ could he learn the way of wisdom, humility, and love. He often referred to pride as a physical infirmity or “swelling” that could only be healed through Christ’s “remedy,” “cure,” or “medicine” of humility.

It presumes to contradict God's declaration that His creation is ‘very good’ (Genesis 1). Did you ever play “The Game of Life” or MASH as a kid? This was a perfect vehicle of conversion for one sorely tempted by pride. He added to the import of this image by saying that Jesus was needed to cure the sickness of pride. Humility … The goal is to get the best house, the best job, and the best family. Augustine understands that if we presume through pride to make ourselves the centre of our own identities, the result is a weakened view of self that is pretentious and reckless. Christ himself said in Matthew 11:28-29 that people should learn from him because of his meekness and humility, not because of the impressive miracles he performed.

Copyright © 2020 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved, Jenny-Lyn de Klerk is the Puritan Project Assistant at Regent College in Vancouver (follow her on Instagram, ) and an Assistant Editor for Books at a Glance. But letting one’s heart be driven by dreams of an ideal life marked by the primacy of self is the opposite of excellence in the Christian life. © 2013 Augustinians Australia. Having power or success in this world is not evil in itself.

( Log Out /  According to Christ, humility is the best way to live.

But the creature can never aspire to the same level as the Creator. To [Jesus], my dear Dioscorus, I wish you to submit with complete devotion, and to construct no other way for yourself of grasping and holding the truth than the way constructed by Him who, as God, saw how faltering were our steps. There was the ancient subliminal subtext in pagan literature, ‘Better never to have been born.’ Humility therefore consisted in the acknowledgment of the wretchedness of the human condition. In light of this profound personal experience, Augustine taught that humility was central to the Christian life. I had to embrace humility and tell myself, “my life will not be meaningless if I do not get a PhD” and “I will not idolize vocation or misconstrue it,” even though everything in me wanted to fight for my right to do this degree. We need to return to the humility which recognises that it is the love and providence of God for us – and the plan of God for us – that best sustains us. He emphatically declared, "This way is first humility, second humility, third humility and no matter how often you keep asking me I will say the same over and over again."

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Indeed, he admits that the path he learned from the various philosophers was incapable of teaching him the wisdom of Christ. Wilfrid Parsons, vol. I’m very happy about this, but it has also brought on even more external pressures, and I’m certain that the real reason I feel happier now than I did several months ago is because I’ve rejected the sinful, internal pressure I felt from my Roman (and Western) ideal of perfection and success. Letters (83-130), ed.

In his preaching, Augustine used a popular phrase of the day, Christus medicus ("Christ the medical doctor", "Christ the physician"). This experience taught me that I didn’t really earn the right to do a PhD; rather, it was a gift from God, and it was not foundational to my personhood or my ideal life.

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