We are told to be humble. This appears several times in scripture. But people often mistake this to mean that we are to remember we're not good enough, we are not knowledgeable enough, we're not wise enough, we're just plain not qualified. This isn't humility though. This is self-doubt.
Humility is gentleness, patience, respect. It's the ability to see the worth in all people, including oneself. It's the idea of being able to see that worth, and reach out in gentle love to those in need. It is a virtue, and a gift from God.
Self-doubt on the other, is not a virtue. It is not from God. I would say it is indeed from Satan. I see it as one of the greatest tools Satan has to keep the Gospel from being spread. And one of the greatest tools to keep ourselves from God.
How is self-doubt an obstacle? How can it keep us from God, or from the message of the Gospel from being spread?
Self-doubt demotivates us.
If we're on a personal journey to get closer to God and stumble into self-doubt, we believe we're not worthy of God's love. We're not worthy of growing closer to him. And so we quickly lose that motivation to continue on that journey. If we're spreading God's message to others and stumble into self-doubt, we believe we're not qualified enough for the task. We're not worthy enough to be teaching. And so we quickly lose that motivation to continue trying.
Without that motivation, we're unable to be God's vessel in reaching others. We're unable to allow God to fully impact our own hearts, and to allow ourselves to be used in impacting the hearts of others.
How does self-doubt enter our hearts?
As I stated above, self-doubt does not come from God. Instead, it comes from within ourselves, often due to the words and actions of others. It comes from being told we're not worthy or qualified. It comes from lies and slander.
These cause us to doubt our own ability or worth. They plant seeds of doubt in our hearts, and as those seeds sprout and take hold, we begin to withdraw from the calling of God. We begin to doubt that call all together. "I must be mistaken. God wouldn't call on ME."
But God has called on you. He calls on all of us in one way or another. And the purpose of that calling is always to spread the message of God and the Gospel to others and the love of God to others.
There's an old saying... "God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called." This is truth. As children of God, we are worthy to praise his name and speak his truth to everyone. We are worthy to show and share the love of God with all, with humility.
Suggested Lenten sacrifice:
Give up on self-doubt.
Don't let Satan or others plant seeds of self-doubt in your heart and mind. Don't water those seeds if you find them. Pray to the Lord our God to remove that doubt, and to strengthen your faith. Even if you cannot trust in your own abilities or worthiness - trust in God. Trust in his ability to give you the qualities and worthiness.
And, don't be the one to plant those seeds of doubt in someone else. Only God knows who is qualified or worthy. Don't let Satan use you to silence a servant of the Lord. Keep your tongue in check, and always act with humility.