Humble Confidence: Why Humility and Confidence Are Both Important For Christians
Humble confidence, it sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? But if you read your Bible you’ll see that it is exactly what Jesus demonstrated during his time on Earth. Jesus was a confident leader and he showed us that there is no place for indecision in the Christian life. In his parable of the sower he characterizes the indecisive person in the following way.
‘The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.’ Matthew 13:20-21
As Bob Dylan writes: ‘Ya either got faith or ya got unbelief and there ain’t neutral ground.’ Being confident that you are capable of anything, which God asks of you, is not pride it’s faith.
‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10
For a Christian, confidence in your belief is not just some desirable option, it’s a necessity. There are many Bible verses about confidence and Saint Paul draws a nice distinction between pride and confidence when he writes to the Corinthians.
‘Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.’ 2 Corinthians 3:5
Humility in the Bible
The confidence that comes with true faith is not pride, pride is a sin, humility is its corresponding virtue.
‘Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.’ Matthew 23:12
If we take pride in humility, then we are not humble. Saint Paul cautions against this in his letter to the Romans.
‘Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.’ Romans 12:16
Saint Paul is warning us against snobbery and prejudice, which are the offspring of pride. In that wonderful phrase ‘Never be wise in your own sight,’ he is cautioning us against that self-congratulatory pride which is the enemy of humility. The Bible also tells us that humility has a place in the God-given natural hierarchy.
‘Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ 1 Peter 5:5-6
Jesus was born in a stable and died the death of a criminal; his entire life on this Earth was an act of humility. When asked by his disciples who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, he called a child to him and said:
‘So whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.’ Matthew 18: 4