What Manner of Man:

Confident Humility
By Linda and Richard Eyre

Note: Each week this column provides a short essay on one particular aspect or facet of the Lord’s personality and character.  It is intended that the reader focus on this facet while partaking of the sacrament this Sunday.  (Click here to read full introductory column.) Review previous columns by going to the What Manner of Man Archives by clicking in the margin to the right.

We often use them as antonyms: confident as one extreme, one pole, humility as the other. In our Lord they combined, merged, fused, and became (in a way) synonyms.

How could these opposites, each practiced to perfection, coexist in one being? Simply because they are not opposites. Christ proved that.

Let us first consider the Savior’s confidence. It is hard to imagine a more total assurance or sureness than that of a being who indicates he is the only one who really knows God; accepts the title of “Messiah” (Mark 8:29); states in so many words that He will come in glory with angels (Matthew 25:31); prophesies that those who are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of (Luke 9:26); and affirms that His word will never pass away (Mark 13:31).

The Savior’s confidence is what generated His charisma. He never doubted himself or His cause. People around him felt it, were lifted by it, gravitated toward it. Indeed, the greatest measure of Christ’s complete self-security and confidence is His perfect ability to spend all of His thought and time serving and helping and changing others, to spend none of it worrying about himself.

On the other hand, consider His humility. He said He was “meek and lowly” (Matthew 11:29). He admonished us to be meek (see Matthew 5:15) and humble as a child (see Matthew 18:4). Paul spoke of “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:1).

Yet that same Paul wrote that the Lord gave not the spirit of fear, “but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

To understand, we need to stop thinking of humility and confidence as opposites. We need to consider the fact that both, in their most complete and perfect form, spring from the same source – and that source is a true understanding of one’s relationship to the Father.

To know God the Father, and to understand our relationship to Him, brings two inevitable results: the confidence of bring literal offspring of God, and the humility of comparing His perfected level with our “beginner’s level.” Perfect love of God (which is the same as knowing Him) brings confidence because it “casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Perfect love of God also causes humility because it brings us to “all lowliness and meekness” (Ephesians 4″2). Christ, who not only knew and loved the Father but who was “with him” (John 8:16) and who was one with him (John 10:30, 17:21), thus reached maximum levels both in confidence and in humility.


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