View from behind of a man standing in a wheat field with his head bowed and arms spread open

Humility And Confidence Can Co-Exist

“Pride goes before a fall.”

We have all heard this phrase many times and have repeatedly been reminded not to be prideful, but to instead strive for humility. It’s great advice and is even addressed throughout the Bible.

Proverbs 11:2 (NLT) – “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Proverbs 16:5 (NLT) – “The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished.”

Proverbs 16:18 (NIV) – “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

James 4:6 (NIV) – “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Humility is a desirable virtue and pride is to be avoided; the problem is that we often focus more on what we don’t want to be than on what we desire to be. We try to rid ourselves of anything resembling pride with the assumption that once all pride is gone, humility will remain. When the focus shifts from seeking humility to avoiding pride, it’s easy to end up with no confidence or sense of worth. It is important to be able to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously, but there is a fine line between being able to laugh at yourself and making fun of yourself. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being self-deprecating, but when we become self-deprecating, we can unintentionally destroy any confidence or sense of worth we may have, no matter how noble our intentions.

We assume that humility and confidence are incompatible, but there is a difference between being prideful and being confident of your worth because you understand that God created you and values you. Being prideful is not having too much confidence – it’s believing that you are good enough on your own or that you are more important than others. Humility is understanding that I am no better than you; that, without God, there is nothing truly good about me. Being humble has nothing to do with me and everything to do with you. It is placing others not above myself, but in place of myself.

Humility and pride cannot co-exist, but humility and confidence complement each other perfectly, so we should strive to live with a humble confidence that comes from knowing and understanding your value and worth and realizing that they come from God and not from anything you have done or could do. It comes from believing that God is in control and will always be with his people. When we have a correct understanding of who God is and how great God is, we will realize that any sense of pride we may feel about ourselves will pale in comparison to what we will feel when we have lived our lives in a way that makes God proud of us and we hear Him say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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5 Hour Energy Faith

“God, please give me faith and help me stay strong.”

How many times have we prayed something similar? When it feels like nothing is going right, you wonder what God’s plan is for your life (or if He has one at all), and life is beating you down – some variation of this prayer seems to be our “go-to” prayer. The problem is, that’s not how faith works. Faith is developed, not given.

Isaiah 7:9 – “Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”

Did you catch that? God didn’t tell us to ask Him for faith when we are desperate, like some sort of 5 Hour Energy faith boost. He says that unless our faith is firm, He cannot make us stand firm. Our strength in difficult times comes from our faith in God and trusting that He is in control; the deeper and more developed our faith in God is, the more we will be able to endure. We must have faith in God’s promise that He is in control – not that He will give us faith and strength any time we ask.

If we want to have the kind of faith that will help us endure even the most difficult and dark seasons in life, we need to be intentional about developing our faith. You could spend your entire life learning facts about something and why it works and even watch other people experience it, but until you do it yourself, you will only have knowledge, not faith.

It can be inspiring to hear other people tell of how their faith helped them endure difficult seasons or circumstances, but in the end it often leaves us wondering why our faith doesn’t seem as strong as theirs. Faith is developed and strengthened through experience – we will always have more faith in something we are constantly around than something we view from a distance. Faith in God is developed through study, prayer, worship, and a commitment to consistently pursue Him. If you want faith that will see you through the difficult times and inspire others, you have to do the work.

God doesn’t give faith to some people, but not to others like some sort of door prize. He gave everyone the capacity for faith; it’s up to us to grow it. Draw close to God and He will draw close to you. You can’t feel the presence of someone you keep at a distance and you will never feel the embrace of someone that you refuse to let come near you. 

How Deep Are Your Roots?

Drifting away from God is never something we intend to do; it just kind of happens. We get tired, busy, lazy, or distracted and our relationship with God suffers. Most of the time, it’s not even bad things that keep us from God – it’s too many things. We have a limited amount of time in each day, so every time we add something to our lives or to our schedules, something else gets pushed out. Often, the things that get pushed out are the things we most need to be in.

When we drift away from God, He is willing to let everything that gets in our way of a relationship with Him be stripped from us.

Isaiah 6:13 – “…as a terebinth or oak tree leaves a stump when it is cut down, so Israel’s stump will be a holy seed.”

Notice what it says – that Israel will be cut down and the stump will be a holy seed. We hear that and think it’s a bad thing, but really it’s what we all need sometimes – a fresh start. It may be difficult for us to view a tree being cut down to its stump as a good thing, but it’s what is under the stump that really matters – the roots. The roots are what sustains the tree; what determines how healthy it is and how high it will grow. A tree with deep, healthy roots will be stronger and better equipped to make it through violent storms than a tree with shallow roots.

Just as the roots are what sustains a tree, our relationship with God is what sustains us. The deeper we are rooted in our relationship with God, the better equipped we will be to endure the storms of life. If we want a faith that is deeply rooted in God we must be intentional about doing the things that will cause our roots to grow deeper.

Sometimes we need to get back to the basics.

When we feel overwhelmed, when life gets so busy and hectic that it feels impossible to focus, and when we can’t feel God’s presence like we once could, the best thing we can do is eliminate every unnecessary thing, get back to the basics of study, prayer, and worship and focus on rooting ourselves deeper into the One who can sustain us.

When Your Church Leaves You Spiritually Unfulfilled

It can be tough to find a good church. The worship services at many churches are either completely irrelevant and old-fashioned or are too much like a show – flashy, loud, and overproduced. Even if we do find a place where we can really worship, it can be hard to really connect with people, build relationships, and be fed spiritually. Sometimes it seems like churches just don’t get it

Or maybe we are focusing on the wrong thing.

The style of worship and culture of our churches isn’t the problem. We tend to focus too much on finding a church that we can “connect with” or that offers what we are looking for and then blame the Church for being out of touch or irrelevant when we can’t find anything that satisfies us or leaves us feeling fulfilled.The problem isn’t the Church or local churches – it’s us. So many of us are too distracted and lazy to read, study, worship, and build relationships on our own, but unwilling to accept responsibility for our lack of spiritual growth. Everything that takes place at churches should be happening every day, but when it only takes place one day a week, of course we’ll feel unfulfilled.

The focus of a worship service isn’t for us to feel connected and satisfied, it’s to worship God together as one body. We feel frustrated and unfulfilled because of our lack of commitment and inability to accept responsibility – not because the Church isn’t doing a good enough job.

So the next time you are feeling unfulfilled or dissatisfied, don’t blame your church – take a look at yourself and the effort that you are putting in. Until we are willing to take responsibility for our own spiritual growth and stop expecting other people to facilitate it for us, we will always feel frustrated and unfulfilled. Until we are willing to study, worship, pray and build relationships on our own throughout the rest of the week, the study, worship, prayer, and relationships we participate in at church will never be enough.

There is a huge difference between going to church and being the Church. Expecting something we do for 1-2 hours out of a 168 hour week to satisfy all our spiritual needs is like expecting a multivitamin to supply all our dietary needs. When we expect a supplement to supply the majority of what we need to be healthy, we end up feeling weak, sick, and vulnerable. We need to stop whining about not being fed and start feeding ourselves. Only when we have a well-balanced diet will we ever be healthy, growing, and able to reach our full potential.