3 Ways To Be Arrogant While Thinking You’re Humble

Humility is a highly valued quality in the life of a Christian. The bible is packed full of verses about thinking less of yourself, so that Jesus can be magnified. It talks at length about man being entangled in the traps of pride

We all know pride is antithetical to the gospel and to Jesus himself. Even Jesus, the Creator of the world, was filled with humility for the sake of bringing salvation to those who would place their faith in him. Jesus is the servant King, the one who we’re supposed to model our lives after.

So if Jesus’ Spirit dwells within us, we must highly regard and deeply desire a life full of humility. 

The trouble is that we often only give mere lip service to the idea of living humbly. I think it’s because, for all our high minded ideals, we don’t truly believe there are benefits to a humble life. Deep down, we fear humility will make us weak, timid, or even fearful. We often buy into the narrative that the world sells us about pride’s ability to bring us a sense of self-assurance and confidence.

Yet, the bible says we are not to boast in ourselves but in Jesus––and in him alone. That isn’t always easy, even when we’re seeking to be intentional about it. Here are 3 ways arrogance tends to sneak into our lives in unsuspecting ways. 

1. Arrogance in Your Theology

We don’t like to admit uncertainty in any area of life, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to our theology. But the more I study scripture, the more I’ve had to make room for being less than absolutely certain when it comes to some particular theological views. Of course, I wouldn’t say this in relation to first tier issues of the Christian faith, but to secondary and tertiary issues.

In our efforts to maintain right doctrine, we can often exude a sense of arrogance and true lack of humility as we judge fellow believers in Jesus for the ways we disagree. 

Now, there’s great value in studying scripture and developing a view on the many topics addressed in it. But even as we do this, we must hold the grey areas in tension. We can’t allow our firm theological views to lead us to arrogance and superiority over fellow believers.

Humility is best exemplified when we believe less that we have it all figured out. It doesn’t mean you abandon your views and convictions, but that you don’t allow them to lead you to a spirit of arrogance.   

In our efforts to maintain right doctrine, we can often exude a sense of arrogance as we judge fellow believers in Jesus for the ways we disagree. Click To Tweet

2. Arrogance in Your Abilities

God has uniquely made each and every person with different gifts and talents. The bible speaks to this truth and highlights the benefits of it for the Church. The function of the church depends on each member operating in their God-given gifts and talents. Paul spends a lot of time talking about this in his letters to the Church at Corinth. He doesn’t only encourage, but exhorts believers to use their gifts for the unity and building up of the church.

Even in living out the fullness of who God has created us to be, we must continue to give glory to God. I don’t mean the canned phrases we enjoy saying around our church friends. But true and genuine glory as we carry out these gifts in the best way we know how. We must be careful not to become so engulfed in the gift itself that we think the ability gives us meaning in life.

The University of Berkley conducted a study on the power of humility in a person’s life. This study uncovered that humility is found when a person is grounded in their intrinsic worth and value, not in their abilities to make a lot of money, climb the corporate ladder, or any other number of accomplishments we often think defines us. 

Humility isn’t birthed out of being recognized or spotlighting your abilities. The intrinsic value we have isn’t based on our God-given abilities. It’s based on the very fact that he has called us valuable. Each and every person is created in the image of God and that is what gives us intrinsic value.

We should celebrate the abilities we have been given, but we shouldn’t become haughty and conceited in them.

We should celebrate the abilities we have been given, but we shouldn't become haughty and conceited in them. Click To Tweet

3. Arrogance in Humility

One of the most deceiving ways we trade arrogance for humility is when we talk about how humble we are. It’s ironic but nevertheless still true. 

I recently heard someone say, “A humble person fears they are proud, but an arrogant person makes it known how humble they are.” And such is life: sometimes the very thing we’re working toward is the exact opposite of what we actually put on full display.

When we try to appear humble, we’re often attempting to mask our insecurities. We wouldn’t want someone to see our fears on full display, so we cover them with appearances of humility. The interesting thing about humility is that the more we focus on being humble, the less humble we are. 

The way to be clothed in humility is not to have your eyes set on humility, but to have your eyes set on Jesus. 

New Testament professor Patrick Schriner says, “The gospel comes in humility, in chains. Maybe Christians on social media could take a similar posture.” As we look at Jesus, we should desire for our humility to be shown in every aspect of our lives. Not as we focus on humility itself, but as we focus on the example Jesus has given us. He came to the earth as a humble servant.

Humility isn’t about burying who you are or thinking less of who you are. Humility is about looking to Jesus more and more as you look to yourself less and less. 

The way to be clothed in humility is not to have your eyes set on humility, but to have your eyes set on Jesus. Click To Tweet


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