Courageous Humility Builds Lifelong Credibility

Matt Mylin   -  

No one likes being around someone who has an exaggerated opinion of themselves. Arrogance is easy to see in others but a bit harder to see in ourselves. Walking in humility in every situation gets tested.

Daniel is an example for us to follow. He infiltrated godless environments, influenced arrogant kings, and gained promotions to more prominence while keeping himself from becoming arrogant.

How did he do it?

In the book Thriving In Babylon, Larry Osborne makes an excellent case for how Daniel didn’t just survive in a spiritually dark world; he thrived.

Daniel built a lifelong reputation of personal integrity, honorable behavior, godly wisdom, and moral courage that established his credibility.

Here are three ways we can build a lifelong reputation of credibility by following Daniel’s example.

1) Courageous humility

Courageous humility is not low self-esteem or downplaying our accomplishments. It is a lifelong commitment to serving others, whether they deserve it or not.

Courage and humility are not mutually exclusive but serve as a needed counterweight for one another.

“Courage without humility leads to martyrdom. Humility without courage leads to spinelessness.” – Larry Osbourne

Daniel was a perfect example of courageous humility. He honored and served his godless captors so well that he kept getting promoted. He was courageous in speaking the truth to the kings while his humble approach disarmed their hearts to listen.

Courageous humility not only serves those who don’t deserve to be served, but it also serves those who oppose God. Picture Jesus washing the disciples’ feet — including Judas. I want to grow in that kind of courageous humility.

2) Genuine respect

Respect recognizes that everyone bears the image of God (no matter how marred that image may be) and is genuinely concerned for the best interests of others.

Daniel believed that God was in control of who was in control. He was willing to accept God’s sovereign assignment.

Consider how he responded when God revealed that Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom would be eliminated: “Your majesty, I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies and not to you!” (Daniel 4:19)

Daniel was respectful not because the king deserved it but because God commanded it.

Too often, we’re tempted to respond with anger and resentment to those who oppose our values and faith, which reveals the core of arrogance.


3) Consistency builds credibility

Consistency is the slow road.

In his book Leadershift, John Maxwell writes,

“Consistency establishes your reputation and maintains your lifelong message. If you do the right things when you’re young, it mostly goes unnoticed and unrecognized. But if you do the right things and lead well over decades, it becomes recognized, and you get more credit than you feel you deserve. While much of leadership is outward and public, the right motives and the good character traits we need to become leaders with moral authority are won in private.”

The key to sustained influence is consistency. Aligning your internal convictions with your external behavior over a long period forms your reputation and builds credibility.

A friend who leads a successful multi-generational business has a simple phrase that has guided their company for decades.

“When you do the right thing, good things happen.”

Credibility is built on the long slow road paved with small everyday choices of doing the right thing.

May that one big decision guide every other decision.