Saturday, December 25, 2010

Pride vs. Confidence

Christianity requires the laying down of pride. Many interpret this to be a sacrifice of confidence. It is sacrificing confidence, but sacrificing confidence in something not worthy of it, and building confidence in Someone that is worthy of it. When you recognize that your confidence is in an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, perfectly just, and perfectly merciful God, you will have a renewed confidence in yourself. But, if your confidence in God goes below the confidence in yourself (pride) again, you will have to make the sacrifice again. The Christian must never over-estimate his capabilities, or under-estimate God's. There is a delicate balance of self-confidence versus trust in God in the Christian's life. Sacrificing our own pride has to be done constantly, because we are still sinful and always default to making God less in our lives and ourselves more. To be a Christian requires the humble desire and duty to make God more and ourselves less.

Before we can have any confidence in God, we must get rid of all our own confidence (pride). We must "die to ourselves". Then we can replace that pride with confidence in God and regain confidence in ourselves. But only to the limit described above. This is certainly not a "self-help" formula, but it is a result. "Self-help" solutions tend to focus on man's ability to build his own confidence based on what he is capable of doing on his own (See post "Culture's Obsession with Self-Help"). Christianity, properly understood, is "self-help" in an ironic sense- we must deny our capability to help ourselves (denial of any level of pride), and recognize that only God can help us.

The culture is setting people up psychologically and emotionally to never be able to let go of their pride. The cultural fascination with "self-help" and the "you can do it!" (whatever "it" may be) mentality prevents people from dying to self. As long as a person believes that they can help themselves, they will resist help from God. The culture is pushing people away from the capability to recognize truth and ultimately towards eternal failure.

If Christianity is correct that man's problem is that he is a morally imperfect being, who was created to spend eternity with a morally perfect Being, then the problem needs to be fixed. By our intimate knowledge of our own thoughts and our observation of our own actions (as well as everyone else), we must admit that moral perfection is out of the question without our past being stricken from the record in some way. Enter Jesus Christ (Merry Christmas!). Since He is the incarnation of God, He is morally perfect. He died to take the punishment that we deserve, so that our sinful past may be stricken from the record, and we may live with God forever.

All that is required, is that we actively accept that we cannot accomplish the task ourselves (pride is sacrificed), and accept the gift that Jesus Christ offers to us. Knowing that we have that eternal security gives us the confidence that we can make it through this life, no matter what pain and suffering we encounter. We can also have confidence that in our suffering, God is preparing us for future struggles, and all are ultimately priming us for eternal fellowship with Him.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."- Romans 8:18

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."- Philippians 4:12-13

"One-half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it." - Sidney Howard

Christianity offers you eternal life and a level of confidence that can get you through anything this life throws at you. You just have to give up your pride.

Great Posts From Others On This Topic: 
Narcissism was a bad thing, until we started calling it “self-esteem”
Self Esteem, and Why We Avoid the Bible

(Thanks to @FocusLeadership for the quote from Sidney Howard)

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