Interestingly, we descend into greatness, as one author has put it. In other words, humility is an essential character trait of the believer becoming more like Christ. After all, Christ is the great example of humility (see: Philippians 2). Biblical humility is grounded in the nature of God. In James 4:6, we read: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” That’s pretty straight forward. God’s grace is extended to the humble, but He resists those who are proud.
An excellent summary verse of humility is Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” To be humble, we must trust God and believe that He will lead us down the right path. We are to place our faith in God prayerfully leaning on His understanding, not our own. In fact, our prayer ought to be to make His way our way as we are transformed into Christ’s image (Romans 9:29). It is humility that opens our hearts to God and allows us to withdraw from the arrogance of our ego.
Some people choose humility as a survival method, at least the appearance of humility. However, it is true humility interrelated with confidence in a believer’s life that is essential to thriving in Christ. Some view humility and confidence as opposing realities. The Scriptures view them as crucial aspects of a believer’s life.
It takes humility to have Christian confidence. Confidence is having trust in someone or something. We trust those in whom we have confidence. The world teaches us to have confidence in ourselves. We are told to trust that we have the ability to accomplish anything we desire. We are to have confidence in our wealth, in our power, in our position. The sources of Christian confidence is not ourselves but in God Himself.
We find in Jeremiah 9:23-24: “Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.” A truly wise man and woman find confidence in the Lord. They learn what God teaches. Knowing God means knowing His profound love, justice, and righteousness. Paul wrote it this way, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31 & 2 Corinthians 10:17).
God desires for the believer to thrive, not merely survive. Therefore, the Christian life goal is not selfish ambition, but to glorify God by knowing Him and making Him known. We are not to trust in ourselves or our own wisdom but trust in God (see: Proverbs 3:5-6). God is our confidence, our rock our refuge (see: Psalm 18:2).
The believer is to have confidence in the risen Christ. It takes genuine humility to admit our need for Christ for salvation and everything else in our lives. He is our everything. As we grow in the Lord, such humility is paired with a confidence rooted in Him that empowers us to partner with Him as we walk in faith. Such a walk is not void of self-confidence or self-respect. The issue is the source of our confidence. We are to be confident in Christ and our identity in Him.
The interrelation between humility and confidence in a believer’s life is remarkable and essential if one is to thrive in Christ. Jesus is the perfect example of humility and confidence. I pray that each of us will become more and more humble and confident as we become more and more like Him. The world does not need another survivor but desperately needs to see those who are thriving in the Lord. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!