Here's a little bit of my philosophy class for you: according to Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, the virtue of pride, or magnanimity, is defined as being worthy of great honor and knowing that you're worthy of great honor. Whether this pride is compatible with Christian living is debatable (though I'll argue that it is), but it is definite that he's not talking about the kind of pride that we call a sin.
He associates two vices with this virtue - the two extremes - and it's about one of these that I want to write: the vice of false humility. This is the vice that belongs to the sort of people who are so convinced of their lack of worth that they refuse to undertake great things even though they're worthy of it.
This is something that I have struggled with all my life, and continue to struggle with. So many times I've refused to do something because I was certain that I just couldn't handle it. I denied that I had any strengths, and hid this under a guise of true humility. After all, wasn't it better to say it was all God?
But my best friend challenged me on this. "Recognizing what your strengths are doesn't mean that you're denying that they're gifts from God. It means that you're truly recognizing His goodness in giving them to you... in making them yours."
And why, I wondered, is it so important for me to know what my strengths are? Why shouldn't I be more concerned about what my weaknesses are... the things that make me fail?
"Because if you don't know your strengths, then you don't know where you are and where you should go."
It took a long time for this to sink in enough for me to believe it. But slowly I began to realize that this really was true. My insistence on denying my strengths was crippling my ability to serve God. Too many times I had said, "I can't." Denying my strengths had become a good excuse for not doing great things for Him.
Over time I've been learning to recognize my strengths so I can capitalize on them. These have been given to me by God to use for His service.
If we don't know what our strengths are, then we don't know where we stand.
If we don't know what our strengths are, then we don't know how we can use them to raise ourselves out of our weakness.
But if we do know what they are, then we know how to serve God in the way that He meant us to serve Him, and how to do great things for Him.
What are your strengths?