Friday, July 8, 2016

The Humility Paradox: Keeping it Real...or Just Really Awful?

Here's a paradoxical truth: True humility exudes confidence. 

Yep. The most humble person you'll ever meet will at the same time be the absolute most confident, most assured person you'll ever meet!

How can this be?

Because humility, in its purest form, is to seek your identity not in yourself, but in your Savior. For if you have truly died to self, then you can truly live in Christ. And if your identity is rooted in Him, so is your confidence!
"For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught." (Prov 23:6).

Sadly, however, there is a growing trend among Christians to lead with their failures in an effort to "keep it real" and "stay humble." Increasingly, they publicly beat themselves up. They wallow in their weaknesses. They air their dirty laundry.

But for all intents and purposes, this self-deprecating behavior could be considered a form of humblebragging. For leading with one's failures is becoming a popular way for Christians to draw attention to how "humble" they are.

But that's not keeping it real. That's just really awful.


...Because this tragic misunderstanding of what it means to be humble distracts us from the power of the Cross.

...Because when we lead with our failures, we've actually committed the biggest failure of all: we have failed to glorify God.

...Because leading with our failures is false humility, which is actually rooted in pride. Essentially, it is self-absorption.

...Because when we lead with our failures, we have moved our focus from the holy He, to the sinful Me. And that is pretty awful.

I'm not good at that. I'm not gifted at that. I'm not as good as he is at that. I can't do what she can. I fail at this. I stink at that.

Did you notice that these ostensibly self-deprecating statements all start with an "I"? But the problem is, if your spiritual dialogue constantly starts with "I" instead of "He" then you're likely idolizing yourself in God's place.

This is not to say that we shouldn't be honest about our failings. We're all sinners. We all screw up. We all get discouraged. By no means should we pretend otherwise.

And we should absolutely confess our sins to one another! But we should not confess our sins with the goal of appearing "humble" or "real" to our friends/audience. Our ultimate goal should be to turn from that sin and to embrace our true righteousness in Christ. When we do this, we take the spotlight off ourselves, and place it on Him. We fix our eyes on Jesus!

In fact, truly humble believers will not only exude confidence, but they will actually be terribly boastful people when it comes to their Savior and what He has done for them. As Paul puts it, "May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Gal 6:14).

So, then, let's not be a people of humblebraggers. Let's be a people of Christ-boasters! Because that is really keeping it real!

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