So we guard ourselves by shooting ourselves in the foot with self-deprecating “humility” because it's safer than taking those risks. But if we don't try, we won't fail or succeed. Instead, we’ll remain frustrated where we are—but at least the relationships are comfortable.
How to Stop Downplaying Your Leadership
To dismiss both false humility and misplaced pride when using our talents in ministry, we will need to be bold in four ways:
Acknowledge our strengths.
We all have strengths, gifts, and talents. God hands them out with radical liberality. Then he gives us the means to develop them in ways that will glorify him. It's not prideful to be aware of what we do well, and it’s okay to share these strengths with others. It's simply making yourself available and ready to multiply what he's given. Pride comes when we insist on establishing our superiority, not our capability. Pride exists when we take those gifts and use them for our agenda and glory.
It is completely glorifying to God to acknowledge, “Yes, God gave me particular gifts. I have honed them well for kingdom work.” It is, in fact, not glorifying to God at all to demur and drop our eyes at the world and mutter, “Oh, I am just a little vessel for God. I’m nothing special.” We are all redeemed, restored, and sent out to be the kingdom we want to see. Debasing our gifts is essentially telling God he chose wrong in gifting us at all.
Rearrange our beliefs.
We have no trouble believing all our friends on Facebook will be interested in our vacation photos. So why do we need to be convinced that people will be interested in our aspirations and observations about ministry?
Humility is not downplaying our contributions and capabilities—it's making sure we and everyone else understand that the fruit of those contributions is God's. Without me, Jesus says, you will not bear fruit. It's not that we have no abilities; it's that any results of ministry are from the hand of God. We can, and do, get hyper-focused on results and convince ourselves that we manufactured them. But this lurking pride monster does not come from a realistic appreciation for our own gifts.