Theologically what is the difference between self-confidence and pride?
God does gift individuals. And it is good to acknowledge that truth. The manager in Jesus’ parable that invested his talents and earned a good return for the owner had to have a type of confidence (Matt. 25:14-30).
Further, God created us as a “work of art” to carry out the good deeds and mission He wants us to accomplish (Eph. 2:10). So, in a sense, we can have confidence in the self that God intended us to be. Therefore, self-confidence is not in itself bad.
Of course, these truths need to be balanced by the humbling reality that we are sinners and that every good thing we have is a gift. What do we have that we did not receive (1 Cor. 4:7)? And we should always recall that every good gift and every perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). It’s not innately ours.
Self-confidence can mean prideful evaluation of one’s ability. It does not, I don’t think, have to be understood that way though. It could mean something like: confidence in who God made you to be and in your God-given abilities. If understood that way, perhaps “God-confidence” or “God-acknowledgment” would be better.
Either way, it does not seem to me that self-confidence is inherently bad. I also think considering the opposite term can be helpful to consider: “self-skepticism” or “self-suspicion.” The Bible does say that our hearts are desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). So, does “self-skepticism” better describe what the view of ourselves should be?
I don’t think so. I don’t think self-confidence or self-skepticism gives us the whole picture. And if left with just one of them or even a balance of both of them together, we still miss something huge! We miss our self in relation to God.
If we consider ourselves without relation to or thought of God, we’re going to get it wrong. We’ll error on either over-confidence or over-suspicion about our self. Yet, when we consider ourselves with reference to what God can and does do, we can be confident in who He has made us to be. While at the same time not obsessing about our self, because we’re focused on Him. We can have a healthy suspicion of our self but that’s not crushing. Because we know that God can and does overcome our sin.
“Pride,” at least how I think about it, has to do with what one has done. In my mind, it means someone is proud of what they themselves have accomplished. Pride is less an evaluation of one’s ability and more so a belief that’s one’s ability is simply a result of one’s own efforts. There’s no grace in pride, given or received; all is earned.
So, with pride, there is a fundamental misunderstanding of who humans are and who God is. God is the giver we, as humans, are receivers. God is, and we are contingent. Pride is a foolish misunderstanding of ontology. God is independent, humans are dependent.
Notice, King Nebuchadnezzar was humbled after he praised himself and all he thought he himself had accomplished. Nebuchadnezzar found out that God humbles those who walk in pride (Dan. 4:37). When pride comes, then comes disgrace (Prov. 11:2).
We should, however, understand that there is a difference between “pride” and “pleasure.” King Nebuchadnezzar didn’t just take pleasure in his kingdom and in all that God had entrusted to him, he took pride in it. That is, he acted as if he was responsible for it all himself. He exalted himself and failed to exalt God.
I believe it is good to take pleasure in the abilities God has given us—whether preaching, building cabinets, or whatever. In a movie about Eric Liddel, a Christian Olympic runner, he says, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” There’s nothing wrong with taking pleasure in what God has given us to do. But, notice an important point: Liddel said, “God made me fast.” Liddel acknowledged God even in his abilities.
But wait, didn’t Liddel run? Didn’t Liddel sweat? Didn’t Liddel sacrifice? He showed amazing discipline to be an Olympic runner, right? Yes. And every good gift is from God. Including Liddel’s ability to do each of those things and also his ability to breathe and his very existence was from God.
So, I believe one could evaluate themself as very good at what they do and that it required a lot of work on their part to become effective, without being prideful. How so? They acknowledge that it is all a gift. Discipline—a gift. Breathing—a gift. Etc.—a gift.
Perhaps the fundamental difference between “pride” and “self-confidence” as we are considering the terms is this: One is an exaltation of self without reference to God, the other can be confidence in God with reference to who He has made you to be.
The apostle Paul had a sort of confidence—we see it demonstrated through his letters and missionary work—but he also said it was not him but Christ in him (Gal. 2:20). Paul, after He met and was radically transformed by Christ, was not so much confident in himself as what God was able to do through him, though he was a mere disposable jar of clay (2 Cor. 4:7).
So, I believe it is right and good to have a kind of self-confidence in who God has made us to be even while we work at killing pride.
*Photo by Nicolas I.
To answer the question will sin be possible in heaven, there are a number of passages we should look at.
“…the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect“ (Hebrews 12:23).
“…those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8:29).
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship Him” (Revelation 22:3).
“…nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God…” (Revelation 3:12).
“I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them…” (Amos 9:15).
Christians will be made “made perfect” (Heb. 12:23). They will be “conformed into the image” of Jesus (Rom. 8:29). It may be that Christians can sin, but won’t sin because they will not want to sin.
So, no. Ultimately, Christians will not be able to sin in heaven. But it won’t be from an external constraint but from internal renewal.
Christians will finally completely have their affections rightly aligned with reality. Christians will love the LORD their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Titus 2:4-5 and 1 Timothy 5:14 talk about young wives working at home, is this the ideal role God ordained for women? Should women not work outside the home?
To answer those questions, it will be helpful to look at five considerations.
Principles from the Bible
First, it is important to glean principles from the Bible to answer this question. The first principle or truth that I think is relevant is that God made humans gendered. The Bible clearly teaches that males and females are both made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27) and yet males and females differ from one another in some respects to various degrees. Scripture also teaches that within the family and within the church God has given complementary roles and gifts. For example, see the table from God, Marriage, and Family by Andreas Kostenberger:
The way that Andreas Kostenberger says it, is that “Women are to place special priority on their God-given calling as mothers and homemakers.” That, I agree, seems to be a biblical principle. Women are especially equipped for that task (even physiologically).
Priorities from the Bible
Next, it is important to consider priorities from a biblical perspective. We want our priorities to lineup with the priorities of Scripture. If they don’t we will have a problem with Scripture wherever it is at odds with our priorities. Our priorities, however, should be aligned with Scripture; we should not seek to align Scripture with our priorities.
Interestingly, “A 1982 Gallup poll showed that more than eight out of ten respondents (82 percent) assigned top priority… to the importance of family life. Families… rated as more important than the possession of material goods.” Scripture agrees with what was the majority assessment in 1982 (see e.g. Deut. 11:19, 21; Ps. 127:3-5).
What, however, do we value? Fortune or family?
Tacitcus, the Roman historian and politician writing around the same time as the Apostle Paul in A Dialogue on Oratory said,
“Our children are handed over at birth to some silly Greek servant maid… The parents themselves make no effort to train their little ones in goodness and self-control; they grow up in an atmosphere of laxity… they come to lose all sense of shame, and all respect for themselves and for other people.”
Tacitcus had a problem with that approach. And I think Christians should too.
We, however, haven’t answered our above question yet, but we’re getting there. But, it’s vital that we consider our motivation and priorities as we ask the question.
A lot of people believe that all “good” people go to heaven.
“How could a good God allow people to go to hell?”
However, it should be asked, does God want those people to go to hell? And has God provided a way for them to be saved? The answer to the first question we’ll see is no and the answer to the second question is yes.
First, Scripture repeatedly says things like God desires all humans to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). Here are three more:
“The Lord is… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
“Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?… For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live” (Ezek. 18:23, 32).
“Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11).
So, God’s desire is for people to come to a knowledge of the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ and repent of their sins and be saved. That is God’s desire. However, that’s not it.
Second, God has also provided the way of salvation. The one God has provided the one way of salvation through the man Christ Jesus who is the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
Imagine we were all on an island that a very wealthy and magnificent man owns. It is on fire and we all have to get off or we will die. Now, imagine that the owner of the island built a very large and sturdy bridge to the mainland so that people could escape. And in making the bridge he himself died.
Brief History of the Principles
Humans have been worshiping and thinking about worship since the beginning. We see this, for instance, by looking at the narrative of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. Further, all of life is about worship. The question we are considering here, however, is how are we to formally worship God as the gathered church?
The two classic Protestant views of worship are the normative principle of worship and regulative principle of worship. There is a lot of confusion as to what these principals mean and how they are worked out in the life of the church. For example, an article online said that those who hold to the regulative view do not use instruments in their church services.