So the whole world might know.

What are you facing right now? As you think about next steps — have you considered how to approach your current challenge with humility? True humility leads to boldness because true humility includes right-thinking about our relationship with God, and right-thinking about our relationship with others.

Here are two very different stories in the Bible that show how humility leads to right-thinking and how right-thinking leads to bold action.

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Jesus told this parable to the religious people who were confident in their own righteousness and looked down on others.

"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.'But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 18:10-14 ESV

The Pharisee comes to God to exalt himself—demonstrated by the pride in his posture and arrogance in his prayer. He uses five “I” statements as he compares himself to the other man, failing to recognize God’s holiness and awesome power.

Tax collectors were treated with disdain and contempt by the the religious people during the time of Jesus. Yet, the tax collector in this parable exhibits true humility in his shame and disgust of his sin. He demonstrates a reverence and fear of God as he looks toward the floor and beats his chest as he pleads for mercy. He places himself beneath God,  and no way thinks or compares himself to others. In humility and boldness he approached God and asked for mercy. While it takes boldness to draw near to the throne of grace and request forgiveness, God promises that we will receive mercy and grace in our time of need (Hebrew 4:16).

David and Goliath

In this story we see a very different example of how humility leads to right-thinking about our relationship with God and others, and how right-thinking leads to bold action.

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I'll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. - 1 Samuel 17:32-50 NIV

Goliath, like the Pharisee, is full of self-confidence as he taunts the Israelite’s army and belittles David for his size and methods. Goliath never considers God. He is relying on his own strength—an approach that leads to failure and death.

King Saul and the rest of the soldiers are afraid of Goliath, who is just a man. They do not consider the almighty power of God. Yet, David (a shepherd boy), hears the taunts and is ready to oppose anyone who dares insult the Living God and His army. His awe and respect for God (along with his own humility) causes him to act boldly in faith. He acknowledges that God has delivered him in the past from wild animals, and his trust in God is unwavering. He has no fear of Goliath’s size or those in the Israelite army who would judge him. He does not place himself above the others in the story, but instead focuses solely on the spiritual battle at hand.

David is willing to die, but his confidence is in God, the Great Deliverer. Here are five things we learn about leadership from David’s humble boldness:

  • Everything is spiritual.
  • God cares about the heart (your why).
  • Do not follow the way of the world. God gives you gifts and confirms them through experience
  • Even those close to you may not understand your humility and bold mission
  • Act in faith = leave outcomes to God — that the whole world might know!

David’s faithful actions are because his hope is that “the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:46). He is so humbled by the power and love of God that he can’t help but step out in faith, hoping that the world will know about his God.

We are also given the strength and courage to step out in faith when we humbly see God for who He is and see others as God sees them—as people in need of a Savior.  

What are you facing right now? As you think about next steps — have you considered how to approach your current challenge with humility? True humility leads to boldness because true humility includes right-thinking about our relationship...
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