Christian life

Confidence + Humility

I often bragged about my cancer doctors. I was so impressed with their perfect mix of confidence and humility. In the realm of Christian teachers, when I think of confidence plus humility, I think of people like the late R. C. Foster and Harry Ironside . . . and the very-much-alive Jack Cottrell, Ravi Zacharias, John Lennox . . . I could include a number of Bible heroes, but will at least mention the apostle Paul, who gets so misjudged. Here was a humble servant (who cried and obeyed and endured) who was also insistent and fiery when it was called for. That’s what I’m talking about.

confident man
Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

And that’s why I liked a portrait I saw in an art exhibit one time. The subject was a young black man in sort of a military stance. He looked strong, confident. But not arrogant—and so, a hint of humility in the face. Like he knew who he was. These thoughts have me looking up Scriptures that could help develop a more confident-plus-humble attitude. Ex: “The Lord will be your confidence” (Proverbs 3:26). “The effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17). Whoever has understanding will show it “by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13). “The Lord sustains the humble” (Psalm 147:6). “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16).

After I’d seen that portrait, I was walking alone in the downtown area, when I saw a young man who REALLY looked like the subject of that piece. I was fascinated by the guy’s expression/demeanor, but trying not to stare at him. He and three friends were taking up most of the sidewalk as they approached, so it was a bit intimidating. Finally, just as he got right to me, he caught my eye and said, “Well . . . YOU look nice!” It was so startling and unexpected, I didn’t respond. (It didn’t help that I’d just been accosted by a couple of con artists and was still rattled from that.) At least I had the ego to feel flattered in the moment! But I wish I had it to do over. Wish I’d stopped and said, “Well, you look kinda nice yourself, young man—just the right mix of confidence and humility!”

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