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Acts of Humility

Humility Self-control Die To Self

Source: "an abridged and freely paraphrased version of 'Acts of Humility' from Holy Living by Jeremy Taylor," as posted on, retrieved 1/2/15

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-01-06

Scripture: James 4:10

Author: Jeremy Taylor (as paraphrased by


This is an abridged and freely paraphrased version of "Acts of Humility" from Holy Living by Jeremy Taylor.

  • Don't think better of yourself on account of things that happen outside yourself. You may be better than another person, by virtue of the gifts you've been given, in the same way that one horse may be better than another by being of more use to others. As a human, you have no reason to be proud of yourself except by what distinguishes you from the animals, namely what you choose and refuse.
  • Humility consists not in reviling yourself, wearing shabby clothes, or being quiet and submissive, but in holding a genuinely low regard for yourself. Be heartily convinced that you are an unworthy person, just as you believe yourself to be hungry, or poor, or sick, when these things are true of you.
  • If you call yourself a fool, don't be angry if someone else says the same of you. Everyone in the world wants others to agree with them when they speak the truth, and he is a hypocrite that accuses himself in front of others but doesn't intend to be believed.
  • Love to be concealed and held in low esteem; be content to lack praise, never being troubled when you are slighted or undervalued; for you cannot undervalue yourself, and if you think as little of yourself as you ought to, no contempt will seem unreasonable, and therefore it will be very tolerable.
  • Never be ashamed of your birth, or your parents, or your trade, or your current employment, because of the lowliness or poverty of any of them; but speak as readily and indifferently of lowliness as of greatness. Primislaus, the first king of Bohemia, always kept his country shoes by him, to remember where he was came from; and Agathocles, by what was on his table, reminded himself that he was raised from a potter to be the king of Sicily.
  • Never say anything that would directly lead to your praise or glory, whose only purpose is to commend yourself.
  • When you have said or done anything for which you receive praise, take it indifferently, and return it to God, reflecting upon Him as the giver of the gift, or the one who blessed the action, or the one who helped your plan; and give God thanks for making you an instrument of His glory, for the benefit of others.
  • Gain a good name by living virtuously and humbly; let others use your good name for their own advantage, let them speak of it if they please, but don't use it yourself except as an instrument to honor God, and give your neighbor more advantage.
  • Don't be satisfied when praise is offered to you, but let your rejoicing in God's gift be mixed with fear, lest this good thing bring you to evil.
  • Don't use strategies or tricks to get praise. Some mention the faults of their own actions or words, intending to hear that it was well done or well said and faultless. Others bring themselves into conversations, or thrust themselves into company, until by drinking the waters of vanity they swell and burst.
  • Don't console yourself, when you are disgraced or slighted, by supposing you deserved praise, though others misunderstood you or enviously took attention away from you. Don't gather to yourself a private theatre with flatterers, in whose vain noises and praise you can prop up your own good opinion of yourself.
  • Don't entertain fancies of vanity and private whispers of this devil of pride. Some people will walk alone, and dream (though waking) of greatness, of palaces, of excellent speeches, full theaters, loud applause, sudden advancement, great fortunes, and so will spend an hour with imaginative pleasure, which is nothing but fumes of pride, and an indication of what their heart wishes. Though there's nothing directly vicious in this, it is not in the least consistent with the safety and interests of humility.
  • Allow others to be complimented in your presence, and be delighted to see good and glory come to them. Don't disparage them: if others think more highly of them, that doesn't make you worth less as a person.
  • Be satisfied to see another person employed, even though you are passed over as unprofitable; his words approved, though yours are rejected; him preferred, while you are held in low esteem.
  • Never compare yourself with others, unless it is to advance them and abase yourself. To this end, you should be sure in one way or another to think yourself the worst in every group you enter: one is better educated than I, another is more prudent, a third honorable, a fourth more pure, or more generous, or less proud. Though it is always good to have a low regard for ourselves, it is never safe to speak it, because those circumstances which determine your thoughts are not known to others as they are to you. But if you keep your thoughts and opinions of yourself truly humble, you can with more safety give Go


"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up" (James 4:10).

Crash Dummies Getting Fatter

Gluttony Self-control Spiritual Health

Source: "As Americans Get Fatter, So Do Crash-Test Dummies: BECAUSE OBESE PEOPLE ARE 78% MORE LIKELY TO DIE IN A CRASH" By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff, Posted Oct 30, 2014

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-10-31

Scripture: Proverbs 25:28 ; 1 Corinthians 9:27

Author: Illustration Exchange


It turns out that gluttony isn't just bad for your health. It's actually bad for your chances of surviving a car crash, as well.

According to Chris O'Connor, CEO of the world's largest crash dummy manufacturer, Humanetics, obese persons are 78% more likely to die when involved in an auto accident than a person of less weight. In response to these statistics, the industry in now doing crash tests with increasingly large dummies. While the average crash dummy used to weigh a modest 167 lbs, new dummies are weighing in at a whopping 270 lbs.

The reason for the increased risk isn't just that we're getting fatter. "The reason is the way we get fat," says O'Connor. "We get fat in our middle range at our core. And we get out of position in a typical seat."


When the core of our being is inflated with self-gratification, we find ourselves increasingly at risk--spiritually and physically.

To be squarely and securely seated for the ride of life, trim away the lusts of the flesh, buckle up, and enjoy the ride!

"A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls" (Proverbs 25:28).

"But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:27).

"But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined … Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age," (Titus 1:8; 2:12).

Of the gluttonous and ungodly, "Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things" (Philippians 3:19).

Don't Chain the Door, Just Leave It Shut

Temptation Self-control Defile/Defilement

Source: Excerpted from THE IMITATION OF CHRIST by Gerhard Groote, edited by Thomas à Kempis, as quoted in DEVOTIONAL CLASSICS by Richard Foster, p. 184.

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-04-09

Author: Thomas à Kempis / Illustration Exchange


Door chains. They give the appearance of security, but do they really help? Experts will tell you that door chains cannot be tampered with from the outside, but once the door is opened, the chain will do little to deter entry from a determined intruder. The best one can say is that they "provide some measure of evidence of forced entry" after the fact.

In other words, use the chain when your only goal is to keep a wandering child or elderly loved one from getting out, but forget about it if your goal is security.


Like a hostile intruder, temptation is best kept at bay if we never open the door to it. Thomas à Kempis said it this way:

We will do better in dealing with temptations if we keep an eye on them in the very beginning. Temptations are more easily overcome if they are never allowed to enter our minds. Meet them at the door as soon as they knock, and do not let them in. One simple thought can enter the mind and start the process.

The process works like this. First, the thought is allowed to enter into our minds. Second, the imagination is sparked by the thought. Third, we feel a sense of pleasure at the fantasy, and we entertain it. Fourth and finally, we engage in the evil action, assenting to its urges. This is how, little by little, temptations gain entrance and overcome us if they are not resisted at the beginning the door!. The longer we let them overcome us, the weaker we become, and the stronger the enemy against us.

Too many of us have opened that door, thinking the chain of our own "self-control" offered some measure of saftey, only to succumb to the intrusion, our damaged, broken lives--like a dangling, broken chain--left as evidence of sin's intrusion after the fact.

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) was an Augustinian monk and contemplative who achieved great impact on generations to come by his consummate life's work, the editing of Groote's diary, THE IMITATION OF CHRIST.

Woman Fired For Being "Irresistible"

Temptation Sexuality Self-control

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-01-02

Scripture: Genesis 39: ; James 1:3

Author: Illustration Exchange

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The Unspoken Word

Words (Power of) Self-control Accountability

Contributed By: Leroy Larson | Date Posted: 2012-10-04

Scripture: Proverbs 21:23 ; Matthew 12:36

Author: Solomon Ibn Gabirol

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Angry? Call the Swearing Hotline!

Anger God's Accessibility Self-control

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-09-14

Scripture: Ephesians 4:26 ; James 1:19

Author: Chris Cottrell, REUTERS correspondent

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Murder Among the Gebusi

Murder Retribution Self-control

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-08-11

Scripture: Genesis 6:5

Author: Bernard Asbell

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Calm Down, Susie

Stress Self-control Anger

Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2012-08-04

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Author: unknown

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Be Angry At Sin

Anger Sin Self-control

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-07-26

Scripture: Ephesians 4:26 ; Psalms 4:4

Author: Rev. William Secker

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Waste Time On This, Not That

Time Management Self-control Stewardship

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-03-29

Scripture: Galatians 5:23 ; Ephesians 5:16

Author: Kristin Tennant

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