THE CONFIDENCE OF HUMILITY
(Understanding the Difference Between Humility and Low Self-esteem)
Some people initially have difficulty differentiating between humility and low self-esteem. While a humble person and someone with a low opinion of self might, at times, assume similar roles or engage in similar behaviors, there are some key differences we must be aware of.
HUMILITY IS A CHRIST-LIKE QUALITY, Low self-esteem is not! Read JOHN 13:3-17. Jesus assumed the lowest of roles, humbling himself to wash his disciple’s feet. But he did so understanding who he was in God’s eyes and how his action could serve God’s purpose through him, teaching others how to love and serve. Read JOHN 14-17. Note Jesus’ security and certainty regarding who he is in God’s eyes. Jesus always served and lowered himself out of humility, not because he lacked confidence, wondered if he measured up, or felt insecure.
HUMILITY IS A WILLING, VOLUNTARY LOWERING OF SELF, while low self-esteem is a hopeless or reluctant acceptance of a low position. Again, when Jesus washed his disciples feet, interacted with the poor, reached out to the Samaritans and Gentiles, or simply became a lowly man, he did so willingly and voluntarily for the glory of God and the welfare of others! The person of low self-esteem does not want to be seen as lowly. Therefore, they feel forced into a low position, or they insecurely feel incapable or unworthy of anything better. The humble person experiences the joy, peace, and security that comes with consciously serving God and others. The low self-esteem individual feels depressed, inadequate, dejected as they look at themselves and their own, perceived inadequacies. (Low self-esteem is not the source of all depression, some depression is even clinical and requires professional medical help, but feeling depressed can often be one symptom of low self-esteem.)
HUMILITY IS A PRODUCT OF “GOD FOCUS” AND PRODUCES CONFIDENCE, while low self-esteem is a product of “Self Focus” and produces insecurity. Read 1 CORINTHIANS 15:8-10. Note Paul’s humility, viewing himself as the worst of sinners; yet also note his confidence that by the grace of God he is an apostle! Paul could willfully and joyfully humble himself as he traveled throughout the Roman Empire preaching the gospel because he was confident in who he was in Christ! The low self-esteem person looks at him/herself and wonders if they measure up by their own standard or the standards of the world around them. The humble person looks to God and joyfully and securely focuses on pleasing him. Read PSALM 34:4-5. What do you take from this scripture?
HUMILITY IS BORN OF COMPLETE FAITH, low self-esteem results from partial or no faith. The truly humble submit themselves to all God’s teachings. Those with low self-esteem might believe the scriptures that point out their sins and shortcomings, but have trouble accepting the scriptures that ensure them God loves and values them!
WHAT HUMILITY BELIEVES THE LOW SELF-ESTEEM DOESN’T
Humility believes what God says about how beautiful and wonderful you are! Read GENESIS 1:26-27; PSALM 139:13-16. Humility accepts God’s truth that we are made in God’s image. Humility accepts the truth that we are wonderfully made and chooses to know it full well! Low self-esteem is actually a subtle form of pride which says, “Yes, the Bible says I’m made in God’s image… the Bible says I am wonderfully made… but I have decided I know better and I say I’m not that special or valuable.” Can you see the faithlessness and arrogance in choosing to believe you are not valuable and special? Don’t let Satan lie to you! Embrace that God loves and values you!
Humility believes how desirable you are to God! Read JOHN 3:16; ROMANS 5:1-11; ACTS 17:26-27. What in these passages suggest that God deeply desires a relationship with you?
Humility believes in the love God says he has for them! Read ROMANS 8:34-35. Through humbling himself in the lowest and hardest of circumstances, Paul’s strength is found in trusting God’s love for him!