When it comes to pride and humility, Paul can be very confusing!
He says things like:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
He also says things like:
Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
When Christians read Paul, we have to wrestle with how arrogant he comes across. We are uncomfortable because very few of us would dare make these claims out loud. When's the last time you told someone to be like you?
There's a lot preached about how sinful and broken we are. We are depraved people, there is nothing good about us. We are at the bottom of the barrel.
I think this is natural for many people to think because they have low opinions of themselves. They struggle with unworthiness. What to do for those of us who don't deal with low self-esteem?
I think I do a lot of things well. I try not to say it out loud because it bothers people. Recently I was asked to close a seminar where we weren't sure if *#&$ was going to hit the fan. When people asked how it went, I purposefully minimized it and said - oh, I just spoke for a few minutes, it wasn't really anything. With only a few did I dare to say - I rocked it.
I wish it was more acceptable to be excited and happy about accomplishments and have the freedom to convey that to others. Do I really need to wait for others to say, good job? Isn't that relying on the praise of men?
At the end of the day, I fully believe that any good that came out of me came from God. Whether it's natural or supernatural giftedness, he is the source and I'll proclaim that any day and any time. Also, I don't have much trouble recognizing how far I am from God's perfection. I just happen to do some things better than others. Does saying that count as pride?
With any sin there is a spectrum - pride is an obvious sin. We don't see self-deprecation as being as sinful, but I think it's a twisted form of godly humility. In some ways when we minimize our accomplishments, we also minimize the good God is doing through us.