I woke up in the middle of the night last night to a gently scolding revelation. Arrogance is a hinderance from releasing the good stuff inside me. What?!? Yep, when we fail to release the gold inside us because we constantly question its worth, that could be arrogance. Humility is necessary to rightly release the good things in us to bless others.

Here are 10 reasons why humility is an essential character quality for leaders.

#1 Humility is accepting myself and my limitations and not trying be something I am not. Arrogance is trying to appear to be something I am not. Humility supports authenticity, arrogance does not.

#2 Humility submits to crucifixion. Lately, an emerging character trait allows me to steel myself and push through pain when facing needful difficulty. The more battle scarred I become, the easier it is to do this. I am determined to be whole and healthy, and sometimes the process of such is incredibly painful. My natural inclinations are to draw back from hardships and to choose  an easier path. Arrogance seeks to convince me that life’s difficulties are unfair, and that I deserve an easier path. Arrogance uses words like “deserve” and “fair” while humility understands we truly “deserve” nothing and no one’s life is ever really “fair.” Yet another reason I am so thankful for grace and mercy!

#3 Humility allows me to champion unpopular ideas, because it is needful, and its not about me. Arrogance proclaims controversial ideas for the purpose of garnering attention or increasing ratings or readership. Humility is willing to appear less profound, less studied, and less clever in order to simplistically deliver that which is most needful for the situation. Arrogance makes acrostics, rhyming points, and trendy ideas solely for the purpose of impressing the audience. Clever is good, but the mission is communication of vital truth, not clever for the sake of applause.

#4 Humility deflects attention to the One who is more important than I. Arrogance seeks to draw attention to self.

#5 Humility painfully communicates the truth of cause and effect, while arrogance plays to the crowd with harsh and legalistic tones because it wants the applause of the Pharisees. Humility fosters transformation, arrogance promotes alienation.

#6 Humility embraces the necessary path even when anticipating a smack to the jaw. Arrogance obscures truth with candy coating for the sake of its reputation and standing.

#7 Humility allows for celebration. Celebration is awesome. Be proud of outstanding accomplishments. Be celebratory and grateful for the favor of the Father and be ecstatic in his grace. High-five, and shout, and be exuberant over wins. Such behavior is neither humility nor arrogance, it is joyful living! It is sweet. I love it! Humility is not dour or sour or boring or consistently painful or abased. That would be called asceticism… and I think asceticism finds its genesis in arrogance…hmmm…

#8 Humility opens the door to revelation. I’ve never met an arrogant leader who seemed to hear the heartbeat of God. Believe me, I never use the word “never” without thinking long and hard about it. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough, maybe I’m just jaded. I’ve personally never seen humility obsessed with trendiness, though I am certain some humble people might be. I’ve never seen humility draped in plainness with the intent to draw attention to itself. Arrogance, on the other hand, seems to always want to draw attention to itself. I’ve never encountered a leader who was really connected to the heartbeat of God who exuded arrogance. The men and women who have made a difference in my life always exuded humility. Maybe because that’s what I was looking for, maybe because that is how I personally identify wisdom, maybe because brokenness releases the diamonds of the Father more so than arrogance ever can.

#9 Humility enables the impartation of value. I’m suspicious of people for whom everything has always gone their way. I look for people who are figuratively missing a few teeth because they’ve endured blows to the face in the course of life. I look for gray hair and some graybeards who have loved intensely and lost tragically. I look for people with limps and scars who survived something, because if they survived something then they might have something transformational to give me.

When I was a bit younger, I believed anything was possible and that God favored me above all others. I never was a stand out, but I acted like one. My wounds that became scars and my breaks that became limps have taught me more than all of my easy times combined. These things imparted to me a brokenness that instructs humility. And still… believe it or not there are people who look down on others who have survived hard blows. There are those who intimate something was lacking in either my spirituality or the love of the Father towards me. Arrogance is disturbed by such comments, so arrogance is not dead in me yet, but humility understands that the accusers only feel that way because they’ve not yet had their wound or scar, or they simply hide and deny their deepest wounds.

Not every action denotes either humility or arrogance. I do not want to polarize everything as either humility or arrogance; rather, I write these thoughts because I need to regularly remind myself, and the leaders I love, that courage is more often clothed with humility than with arrogance. We do courageous things because they must be done, not because it feeds our ego. At least that is my hope. My arrogance would rather I run away from battles, because I don’t “deserve” the skirmishes, its just not “fair.”

I want to be obedient to my heavenly Father. I am engaged in the lifelong process of the crucifixion of self. I think that I shall only be free from the anchor to this world when I experience glorification on “that day.” Am I arrogant? Yes, I am, too often. Am I humble? From the depths of my soul may I embrace it and grow in it.

#10 Humility is forging forward in obedience to the obvious task without bowing to possible consequences. Oh yes, I do believe in calculating risks, being a good steward, etc., but I’m talking about that moment when we know what we ought to do, what we must do, and arrogance squeezes it out of us. When the Father gives a divine vision, a divine strategy, things to which obedience is required, can I obey without throwing a shield up because I am afraid of opinions and opposition? I hope so.

I do seek to follow Jesus’ example and be clothed with his humility, so that I may simply do my best to be obedient.