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.
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!”