The Guise of False Humility

Posted: October 21, 2011 in Spiritual Growth
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I am convinced that false humility is the great wolf in sheep’s clothing in the church today and for ages past. I want to uncover some ways that we operate in false humility and keep ourselves from attaining our true potential in Christ.

1. Undermining our own gifts and talents.
In the name of “humility” I have seen many a well meaning Christian bury their talents in the sand. Pretending that you have nothing to offer the world is not doing the world any favors. It looks like humility on the surface to say that you’re not really much good at anything, but what it really does is release you from the responsibility God gave you to nurture your talent and use it for good. The treasures God placed within you are too valuable to ignore. It is tantamount to a slap in God’s face to undermine them. When does it cross the line into pride? When you are so consumed with your own talents that you could care less about what others have to offer. That is how you know you have gone to far. Our enemy seems to have much success with keeping us on the “humble” side, safely tucking away our talents and squandering them so that they are not used to advance the kingdom of God.

2. Sidestepping the call to leadership.
All of us are leaders in some way or another, whether we want to admit it or not. The very call to go and make disciples is a call to leadership. We are saying, “Come follow me as I follow Christ.” False humility causes us to back away from the courageous act of leading others. Admittedly, it is scary to lead others. What if you lead them the wrong way? But just because the potential is there to make mistakes doesn’t mean that we have permission to hide in fear of leadership. Really, when most people avoid leadership, they are avoiding responsibility. With authority comes responsibility and some people avoid this like the plague. The world will have no inspiration or strength without Christ-following, courageous leaders rising up to take their place.

3. Letting our light be snuffed out.
Jesus called us the “light of the world.” He said that nothing can be hidden in the presence of light. However, there are times when we “hide it under a bushel” all in the name of humility. We forget that we represent the glory of God to others. It is our responsibility to shine. It reminds me of Heather Whitestone, from the 1995 Miss America pageant. She was the first deaf woman to win this contest. If she had been a slave to false humility, she would have never been elevated as a shining example of Christ to the world and to the deaf community. I don’t know about her accomplishments since that day, but on the day she won, there was no mistaking who she represented or what she stood for.

4. Ignoring our authority in Christ.
We make too little of holy boldness in Christian circles today. Remember when the Holy Spirit fell in the early church and as a result they, “spoke the word of God boldly?” Maybe we are afraid to preach too much about boldness for fear people will get wacky. However, we need to be aware that God has not called us to be pacifists in our struggle against the forces of evil. False humility can keep us and others around us bound in sin, when we have the power within us to set others free. There is a time to confront people in their sin and there is a time to contend with the forces of evil in our own lives. I have heard the illustration used of a police officer who stood by and allowed crimes to take place before his eyes. That would be a tragedy. Why then, do we not notice the tragedy of not using our authority to set people free and release the power of God on the earth? False humility tells us that such acts are only for super ministers. False humility says, “Who am I to do such great things?” We forget that it is not because of who we are alone, but because of who Jesus made us to be that we are what we are and that we have the power that we have.

How have you struggled with false humility? In what ways to you plan to rise above it?

  1. […] my last post on humility , I described false humility and it’s clever deceptions. In this post, I’d like to take […]

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