Misconceptions About Strengths, Part 1: Pride

God created you and those around you with unique strengths and has placed you together to be more together than you can be alone. But misconceptions can get in the way of learning to lead from your strengths. This series reveals common misconceptions about strengths and the truths behind the myths.

Misconception #1: Focus on your strengths indicates pride

First in a series that addresses misconceptions about leading from your strengths

Scripture tells us, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:6, NIV).

You can’t deny it: you have strengths. But you may fear that you coax along the sin of pride by acknowledging them.

The reasoning goes like this: strengths show how you are uniquely gifted. The concession that you are special indicates self-importance associated with pride. Pride, an inwardly-directed emotion, is an inflated sense of self-importance. Throughout scripture we are warned about the sin of pride, encouraged to identify it, and urged to root it out of our hearts.

woman worshipping

Image: Pierce Park Church

Does focus on your strengths cultivate pride? The issue isn’t your strengths. The issue is your focus.

How do you use your strengths?

The key lies in the second phrase of Romans 12:6 – “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”

Your strengths are given to you by God’s grace. Whatever strengths you possess stem from God’s unmerited favor towards you and have been woven into your life by God to be used to reflect His glory.

To appropriate their origin as your own handiwork is to attempt to steal the credit from Him and use it for yourself. Pride takes credit where credit is not due.

Yet it’s also a sin to ignore your strengths. In fact, to bury your gifts is condemned in scripture, for in doing so you deny both the uniqueness in how God made you and the power of God working through you.

Do you view your strengths as a means of bolstering yourself — or as God’s gift to you to use to build His Kingdom? Take this quick self-check to find out.

  • Do you use strengths to boast?
    Outward pride is noticeable. Rather than recognize strengths as a gift from God to use to build His Kingdom, you may see your strengths as a way to promote yourself. Bragging is mere talk – not the same as using your strengths productively. You can know you’re slipping into pride if you talk about your strengths more than you actually use them.
  • Do you use strengths to boost?
    Maybe your motivation lies in a quiet pride. You may not give audible voice to your strengths, but internally you use your strengths to bolster yourself when compared with others. You may even see your strengths as more valuable than another’s strengths, fueling pride and self-importance. You can know you’re slipping into pride if you struggle to value others’ strengths.
  • Do you use strengths to build?
    Understanding your strengths are a gift from God is a mark of wisdom and godly living, demonstrating that you are willing to put God’s opinion first. Rather than using your strengths to elevate yourself, you use your strengths to elevate God. You can know you have a humble view of your strengths when you acknowledge the Source … and then use your strengths proactively to build the Kingdom.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Paul wrote, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31, NIV). God gifted you with specific strengths. When it comes to acknowledging those strengths and using them, you can address the issue of pride head on when you credit the Source.

Brag about Him – not yourself. Boost others by the strengths you see in them. Then use your strengths to the best of your ability and let their fruit speak for themselves.

Does a focus on strengths indicate pride? Not if you give credit where credit is due: to God.

Leading From Your Strengths Profiles empower Christian leaders, churches, and ministries to take this step – to discover and use your God-given strengths and be stronger for it individually and together.

More Misconceptions About Strengths

Misconceptions About Strengths, Part 2: Some Strengths are More Valuable than Others

Misconceptions About Strengths, Part 3: I Need to Focus on My Weaknesses

Misconceptions About Strengths, Part 4: I Need to Hire People Like Me

Misconceptions About Strengths, Part 5: My Strengths Are My Doing, Not God’s