Lately I've been wrestling with pride vs. confidence. God gives us gifts. We are called to use them. But if we walk in complete confidence as we use those gifts, which is the only way to use them to their capacity, we run the danger of falling into pride as we enjoy success and perhaps even affirmation or accolades from others.
The alternative, and another danger, is to not use the gifts in order to avoid calling attention to ourselves, all in the name of humility. But is that really humility? As I pondered this (my husband calls it over-thinking), I was shown that true humility is simply acknowledging our utter dependence on God, and surrendering our whole selves, our will, possessions, relationships, and yes, our gifts. Humility is not rejecting the gift in order to look humble. If we are successful in doing something for Christ, we must always keep in the forefront of our minds and our hearts that He is the only source of adequacy, and that is where we must put our confidence.
Last week I was given a CD of worship songs and hymns which included the old hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy." As I listened to the recording of a stadium of thousands of men worshiping, the second verse caused me to abruptly turn off the radio and cry out to God right there in my car on my morning ride to work. "Holy, holy, holy, all Thy saints adore Thee, casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea!" I finally wrapped my brain around the meaning of real humility in Christ! We are to work boldly, confidently, without the slightest hesitation or timidity, as we use the gifts we have been given to their fullest in order to advance the cause of Christ! As we do this, we strive to acquire the biggest, brightest, most jewel-laden crown we can receive when we get to Heaven. Why? Only to give it back! We look forward to the day when we will throw our crown, which represents our works that sprang from our faith in Christ, at the feet of the King, in glorious adoration, gratitude, and ecstatic worship. That is humility.
On the surface, working for the best prize looks like pride. But when you realize that you will not be receiving the glory, but giving it back to our Lord, you suddenly want to acquire as much glory here on earth as you can muster so that you can give all that you have earned back to Him!