The Difference Between Discouragement and Humility

Humility and discouragement are not the same thing. Sadly, some Christians walk around discouraged presuming that their discouragement is an evidence of their humility. Nothing could be further from the truth. Humility breeds conviction and joy; discouragement breeds condemnation and moroseness. William Bridge, in his book written in 1649, A Lifting Up for the Downcast, writes the following:

“True humiliation is no enemy but a real friend unto spiritual joy, to our rejoicing in God. The more a man is humbled for sin committed, the more he will rejoice in God and rejoice that he can grieve for sin…Therefore humiliation is said by our Saviour Christ to be an effect of the work of the Comforter: ‘I will send the Comforter, and he will convince the world of sin.’ Because comfort always goes along with true humiliation, it is not an enemy but a friend to our spiritual rejoicing; but discouragement is an enemy to spiritual joy…when a man is truly humbled, the more he is humbled for sin, the more he can rejoice in God; but the more a man is discouraged, the less he rejoices in God.” (82)

The conviction of sin that the Holy Spirit brings will lead one into sorrow for sin, but ultimately leads one into the comfort of Jesus Christ because the Holy Spirit loves to glorify the work of Jesus not the work of sinners. Humility is not being overly preoccupied with sin, but being convicted of sin and preoccupied with Jesus.

“Let Christians carry this rule always up and down with them, namely, that a man is to be humbled for his sin, although it be never so small, but he is not to be discouraged for his sin, though it be never so great. Both these parts are true. A man is not to be discouraged under his sin, though it be never so great; because discouragement itself is a sin, and that cannot help against sin. Sin cannot help against sin…So, then, if you would be humbled and not discouraged, carry this rule up and down with you, and remember it upon all occasions: It is my duty, and I have reason to be humbled for my sin, although it be never so small; but I have no reason to be discouraged under my sin, though it be never so great…

The more you are humbled and grieved by the sight of God’s free love and grace, the more you will be humbled and the less discouraged.” (83, 86)

Christian, are you discouraged and depressed over your sin? This may be due to the fact that you are prideful not humble. Jesus is in the business of forgiving sinners and desires that you walk in the joy of the forgiveness he purchased for you.

1 thought on “The Difference Between Discouragement and Humility

  1. So glad I found you! No one understood how I feel. I admit it’s pride in me and it’s nice to be able to admit my sin without feeling so bad! Please pray that I will be delivered from the weight of pride and experience joy for Gods grace rather than depression for being a sinner!

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