It seems to me, that some christians have a problem with the concept of greatness. Not so much a problem with God being great, but more so difficulty with the idea that God made humankind to be great. A belief that to think ‘too highly’ of ourselves, to really believe that God has put anything great at all in us, is walking on dangerous ground and should be avoided at all costs. Better to think less of yourself than to risk falling into pride.
But i’m not too sure of this logic and this is why –
When i examine scripture, i see that every time someone thought of themselves in ways that were less than accurate, in ways that made less of who God had made them to be, there were disastrous consequences. I think of Eve in the garden of Eden right at the beginning of time. The serpent came and offered her the ability to become like God. The ironic thing of course, is that Eve already was like Him. She’d been made in God’s image. She already had what the devil was dangling in front of her. And yet, because she did not see herself accurately, because she thought of herself as less than what God had made her to be, she traded everything for the promise of something she already had.
All throughout the Bible this scenario repeats itself in different ways. The first generation of Israelites out of slavery in Egypt show the same problem. They looked at the promised land, loved what they saw of the land itself but became intimidated by the people of the land for they saw giants around them and saw themselves as grasshoppers. They thought less of who God had made them to be – His own people, empowered to take the land. They saw grasshoppers where God declared them to be victorious warriors and in their unbelief they traded what would have been incredible steps into their destiny for years of wandering in the desert and loss of all that was promised. The difference between them and the subsequent generation was nothing other than an understanding of who they were and who their God was. One generation thought less of themselves and perished, the next generation took God at His word about what He’d spoken over them and became conquerers.
Interestingly even with Jesus, the devil tried to bring doubt in His mind about who He was. In the desert where the devil tempted Jesus, the temptations were centred both around the character of the Father and around the real identity of Jesus. ‘If you are the Son of God…’ the devil said. If Jesus had begun to think less of Himself in that moment, everything would have been lost. But wonderfully, He saw His Father and Himself completely accurately. He would not be drawn to think less of either of them. And so the enemy was defeated.
I believe the enemy is bringing the same old questions and doubts to the people of God now, just as he has been doing right from the beginning. He understands that if he can make us believe less of ourselves than is true, then he’s got a good chance of stopping us in our tracks and robbing us of our God-given destiny. He doesn’t mind clothing all of this in the idea of ‘humility’ – twisting the word to mean something it doesn’t so christians wholeheartedly take hold of thinking less of themselves with the misguided notion that they are becoming more godly in the process.
The truth is, thinking less of yourself than is accurate is dangerous and foolish. God has put greatness in us. He’s made us in His image and adopted us as His children and given us the privilege of being heirs of His Kingdom. He has made us brand new creations with godly natures aglow with supernatural DNA. To deny any of this is to enter into the enemy’s trap.
Someone once defined humility not as thinking less of yourself but to think of yourself less. I like that. I don’t want to fall into the enemy’s trap to think less of myself – God has put greatness in me and i’m so grateful for it! But to think of myself less and to fix my eyes on Him and all those He loves. Ah, now that’s humility i want to lay hold of. Let me encourage you – be honest about how great God has made you to be, and then put your focus on the God who gives you greatness in the first place. It will make you someone full of courage and faith – knowing He’s put everything needed in you for your destiny, and knowing He who began a good work in you is faithful to see it to completion.