In the spring of 2007, as my sophomore year of college neared its end, I remember sitting in the director’s office at the Baptist Student Union as some of the leadership team members shared our thoughts on the others' strengths.
“I think you’re humble,” my roommate told me.
Her compliment was soon followed by the associate director’s wisdom: “Humility is one of those things you might have … until someone points it out to you.”
I’ve probably been told a handful of times that I’m humble, but I’ve never really accepted it. Maybe I didn’t want the compliment to go to my head and cancel it out. Or maybe it’s just never been true.
Like with so many other things, I think being an effective servant of the Lord requires a balance -- in this case a balance of confidence and humility. God places a lot of importance on the latter, and I think it's something that is often misunderstood. There’s a difference between humility and self-degradation, just like there’s a difference between confidence and pride. I think in order to be truly humble, one has to have complete confidence in God – His character and His sovereignty.
But when I sit down and think about it all, I realize that I’m not even that confident; I’m merely hopeful. I’m not humble; I’m uneducated, lazy, and a bit of a coward.
Most people don’t know that I moderate comments for another AFA website. I dread it most days. I find the seeping negativity to be mentally draining, and I have to force myself to make it through most of what the trolls have to say (which is usually a lot). The grammar is also terrible.
Anyway, I feel like I know what I think about most of the major topics – marriage, abortion, racial partiality, pornography/adultery, and such. But sometimes, the trolls say things that really make me think.
Like, the Christian community is mostly on the same page regarding same-sex “marriage,” right? But what are we doing to address divorce in the Church? I mean, I can easily think of several people I know personally who are on their second marriages after no-fault divorces from their first spouses. Should Christian bakers be making cakes for these weddings, and should Christian photographers be taking pictures of the occasions? Should Christian pastors be officiating the unions?
And with little Charlie Gard’s heartbreaking situation in 2017, when pro-lifers celebrated a court decision allowing the little guy to undergo an experimental treatment, the trolls were quick to point out that the very experimental treatment we were celebrating included use of tissue from aborted babies.
Then there’s all the talk of climate change and global warming and all the issues with ObamaCare. And while we are still boycotting Target, apparently Walmart has the same problematic bathroom/changing room policy, so why don’t we have anything to say about that?
So, there; I’m uneducated about all of this. Meanwhile, I’m too lazy to research any of it to uncover the truth for myself, because even if I did any of that, I still wouldn’t know enough about it all to feel confident enough to actually say anything, so that’s where the cowardice comes into play.
If I’m being real honest, I don’t even have the confidence to say, “Humble” out loud, because some people pronounce it with the “H,” while others say, “Umble,” like the “H” isn’t even there.
I graduated summa cum laude from college, and I don’t know anything. And that’s okay, because I’m not God, and I don’t need to know everything. But I’m confident in Him, right? Well, maybe “confident” is too strong a word. I mean, I guess I’m confident that He knows what He’s doing, but do I really care about what’s going on, or do I only care about how it affects me personally?
I know I need to better educate myself on some topics of the day, but more importantly, I need to be completely confident in the One whose side I’m on. 2 Timothy 4:2 tells us to “be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” And even if we’re caught off-guard, Luke 12:12 tells us that “the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” If we truly seek His will and to glorify Him in the everyday, then He’s got us covered!
Too often, Christians like to camp out on Jesus’ meekness and gentleness. “What would Jesus do?” leaves a lot of believers to err on the side of a docile little lamb who always needs guidance and protection. We tend to ignore or forget the fact that we are also compared to warriors. I’m personally tired of seeing Christians always on the defense. Our God is the one true God who is alive and actively involved and working in the lives of His creation. If He is for us, then why does it matter how those who are against us twist our biblically-aligned words and actions into wickedness? God has a way of working out man’s evil for His good (Genesis 50:20).
In my sophomore year of college, I also enjoyed being a part of the school's choir. During one of the first classes, the director told us that each soprano needed to sing like she was the only soprano, each alto needed to sing like she was the only alto, and so forth. I don’t exactly have a strong voice OR an ear for harmony, so if I were in some sort of quartet, my group would be in trouble. I needed someone who had the qualities I lacked to lead me.
Lately I feel like I’ve had a lifetime to prepare for my upcoming solo, and instead of rehearsing and studying the Word of the One who knows what He’s doing, I’ve spent that time procrastinating, making excuses, and just assuming it would all turn out alright. But in truth, I’m about to be exposed as the weakling I really am.
If you call yourself a Christian, then whether you see it or not, you’ve been given an audience. Maybe you’re the only believer in your family, your workplace, or your circle of friends, and you’ve spent most of your time praying that someone else will step in and volunteer to sing your part of the song and still give you the credit for a job well done.
I pray for true humility that is deeply rooted in complete confidence in God. Because when my insecurities decrease, this vessel has more space for the holy qualities of the only One whose glory really matters.