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At first, the term “confident humility” sounds like an oxymoron, for how can a truly humble person be confident? And yet the reality is that confidence is the foundation on which humility is built. As we learned in the post Confidence that Pleases God, confidence is always rooted in some belief, and that belief is either true or false. One very popular false belief in the Church today is that humans are capable of doing good works apart from God, therefore they deserve the glory for the things that they accomplish. When we root our confidence in this lie, we end up with arrogance.
The truth is that humans are incapable of doing anything good on their own. Humans can’t even breathe without supernatural assistance. Humans are frail, powerless little flecks who are utterly dependent on their Makers for absolutely everything. When we root our confidence in these truths, we end up with humility.
Humility is a sincere, internal revulsion to seeing anyone other than God exalted. Humility is a soul thing, not a flesh thing. Our flesh is very pompous and it loves to exalt itself–this will never change. Our souls start out clinging to many delusions about how fabulous and capable they are, but under the influence of the Holy Spirit, these delusions are slowly dismantled and replaced with truth. The truth is that we never deserve one iota of glory for anything.
Now the Church today is all about going for the sweet life on earth instead of honoring God. What makes life sweet on earth? Money, popularity, and fame. How does being humble help us attain these things? It doesn’t. When it comes to building up little kingdoms for ourselves on earth, true humility is very bad for business. How are you going to manipulate people into working for you unless you teach them to crave awards and applause? How can you get people to think you’re fabulous if you’re constantly reminding them that God could get along just fine without you? There’s just no way to keep the “wow” power going if you scold people for applauding you and teach them that they are insulting God by giving others the credit for the things that He has done.
We humans don’t want to hear about how expendable we are from the Divine point of view. We don’t want to think about how easily God can get along without us and how comfortable He is with throwing us into Hell if we refuse to submit to His Authority. We prefer to think that God is so dependent on our cooperation to get His work done that He becomes positively crippled when we refuse to obey His orders. When we cling to lies, we become arrogant, and arrogance is extremely popular in the Church, but it is also very displeasing to God. Here is where we must choose between being popular with people now and getting spanked by God in eternity, or being unpopular with people now, and getting rewarded by God in eternity. God tells us that we should make pleasing Him our top priority in life, and He is a big fan of humility.
Now because the Church has no use for humility, she has redefined what it is. Her idea of humility is to stand up on stage, inwardly basking in the applause of others while you act like a big hypocrite by pretending not to love the moment. Well, God hates arrogance and He hates hypocrisy, so if we buy into the Church’s definition of humility, we’ll end up trying to cultivate two soul attitudes that displease God.
Because the Church encourages us to put on phony acts of shyness when we’re practicing her false version of humility, and because we associate shyness with a lack of confidence, we often conclude that humility is driven by a lack of confidence. But in reality, great humility is driven by great confidence in the truth about who does and doesn’t deserve the credit for accomplishing things in this world. The more confident we become in the fact that God doesn’t need our help in any way, shape or form, the easier it is for us to pass all glory onto Him without trying to pinch off a share for ourselves. The more confident we are in the fact that we have no wisdom on our own, the easier it is for us to reject the applause of others. The truly humble man doesn’t strain to keep himself out of the spotlight–he sincerely doesn’t want to be in it. The truly humble man would rather be getting his teeth drilled in a dentist’s chair than stand around taking the bows for the things that God has done.
It’s only when we’re still clinging to lies about our own abilities that we struggle with humility. As long as we keep trying to defend the utterly absurd theory that an All-Powerful God feels some degree of dependency on dots like us, we just can’t stand not receiving some recognition for the things that He does through us. If ever we hear God alone being given the glory–which is rare–we find ourselves rushing to point out our role in the situation. “When I rebuked the demon, it left at once.” Who is getting the glory in a statement like this? The human, of course. There is no mention of God. The obvious implication is that the human’s sorcerer-like powers forced the supernatural realm to align with his agenda.
In the Church today, you’re constantly taught to cultivate arrogance for yourself and others by constantly exalting human beings instead of God. Consider this very popular notion of there being “power in numbers” when we pray. If we are powerless flecks, why should it matter how many of us gang up against God? Why do we feel it is important to take a headcount of how many people were praying for a particular outcome? Why do we feel it is important to name certain title-bearing members of the praying crowd?
“We had 100 people praying 72 hours straight that Mary would come out of her coma. Among them was that famous healer, Reverend John, and that famous evangelist, Pastor George. Reverend John laid his hands on Mary and claimed that she was restored in the Name of Jesus one morning and then suddenly, her eyes were opened.”
No one has to say “humans performed a miracle” in this speech for us to get the message. The only mention of God is a reference to the tiresome routine of someone wielding the Name of Jesus about like a powerful spell. Notice how the number of people praying is stated, along with the duration of their prayers. In other words, a bunch of humans nagged God for the same thing over and over again for 72 hours straight. What a blatant display of faithlessness, for who keeps asking God for something over and over again unless they think He isn’t listening? Where is the submission in this situation? Where is the reverence and the acknowledgement of our dependency on God? Where is the trust that He is taking the best possible care of Mary? In the Church today we are bombarded with similar testimonials in which both leaders and laymen all display a blatant lack of faith in God, yet the Church teaches us to exalt such fools as fine examples for us all. “No faith” is constantly being applauded as “great faith” by the Church. Humans are given all the credit for what God has done, and arrogance abounds everywhere we look. It all starts with misplaced confidence. Instead of trusting in truth, we are trusting in lies.
So then, arrogance is not about having too much confidence, it’s about having confidence in the wrong things. Humility, on the other hand, is a product of having great confidence in the right things: the truths which the Holy Spirit communicates to our souls. God would like us all to be abounding in confident humility, which is the same as saying God would like us all to have great humility. We develop humility by submitting to the Holy Spirit as He tears the roots of our confidence out of lies and transplants them into His truths. True humility is a fabulous thing, for the more we align with God’s truths, the better we know Him, and the richer our communion with Him becomes. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you all that He wants you to be, and He will.
Encouraging Christians in a Way that Honors God