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Confident Humility:

Becoming Your Full Self Without Becoming Full Of Yourself

"In the spirit of Dallas Willard... Dan addresses one of the most persistent problems that Christians face: Why does our faith in God’s transforming love transform us so little?”

-From the foreword by Greg Boyd, author of Letters From a Skeptic

Almost all self-help books emerge from one of two flawed views of the self, and these mutually exclusive ditches are destructive. The Ditch of Smallness says that people are fundamentally bad and that humanity's greatest spiritual threat is pride. The Ditch of Bigness says the exact opposite: people are fundamentally good, and shame is our greatest danger.

Dan Kent presents a third view, a road between the ditches. He shows how the humility Jesus revealed offers the most accurate and freeing view of the self. Whereas shame and arrogance are dysfunction steroids (making our depression darker, our anxiety tighter, our addictions stickier, and so forth), humility, as Jesus teaches it, counteracts both shame and pride, thereby subverting two major psychological forces that thwart us.

Once we embrace this new way of seeing ourselves--how Jesus sees us--we begin to relate to ourselves, to others, and to the world around us in a way that allows us to overcome a whole host of vices and self-sabotaging behaviors. Furthermore, whereas the ditches both lead to powerlessness and passivity, humility as Jesus teaches it is empowering, fosters proactivity, and serves as a scaffold for true confidence.

Daniel Kent (@thatdankent) was born to a 14 year old mother in the humorless tundra of Northern Minnesota. He went to college to figure out if God exists and taught his first college course when he was 25. He wrote his first novel when he was 12 (a nature adventure story, hand-written on 20 sheets of loose-leaf paper and sent off to New York for publication. Unfortunately, the publishing company was "not considering material of this type at this time").

Due to a chronic tendency to underestimate the difficulty of a task, combined with a spirit of stubborn determination, Daniel decided to learn programming and created 420fables.com. Realizing he was a lousy programmer, he returned to his love of writing and his first book ("The Training of KX12") has been a surprise hit.

He is the editor in chief (and occasional contributor) for Greg Boyd's blog ReKnew.org and is the host of the wildly popular podcast: "Greg Boyd: Apologies & Explanations."

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View Dan's Past Sermons

Today, Dan Kent shared with us some ideas about how having a proper Jesus-centered definition of humility can free us in our relationships, and help us remain centered on Jesus, put people before politics, and create peace during these divisive times.

In this fourth installment in our Take Heart series we explore what it means to be encouraged in our ability to build skills and competence in the areas God has entrusted to us. Discouragement can come externally from factors outside of our control that can be overwhelming, but it can also come from feelings and patterns of passiveness within that keep us from enacting what God has trusted us to do.

We are designed by God to love nature, not just to live in it. This is seen in the fact that God often meets us through nature, as such encounters encourage our souls and enliven our bodies. Therefore, in a world that has little room for nature, we must adopt tactics that will open us up to God through nature.

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Study Guides

Articles

Dan is the editor and a staff contributor at

  • Work-Life Balance is a Lie
    by Dan Kent on August 2, 2018 at 3:57 am

    I swear, there’s a new viral article about ‘work-life balance’ on the internet every day. It’s fine, I guess. Yes, don’t be a workaholic. Yes, enjoy life. The problem with these pieces, though, is that […]

  • How to Get Ideas Into Another Person’s Head Using Only Words
    by Dan Kent on November 8, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Let me share with you the nature of my toil. I’ve got all this stuff in my head that I believe you would enjoy having in your head. That’s why I write.But it’s not as easy as it sounds. There is great distance from […]

  • Today is the Next Monotonous Day of the Rest of Your Life (a motivational post)
    by Dan Kent on October 2, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    The problem with all these THIS-IS-THE-FIRST-DAY-OF-THE-REST-OF-YOUR-LIFE folks is that they emphasize the wrong thing. Their intention (noble and pure) is to get you to realize how special THIS day is, to get you all in a frenzy about […]

  • Good thoughts!
    by Dan Kent on September 18, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Good thoughts!Are people boring or are we easily bored?BOTH. It is my contention that the more self-obsessed and dysfunctional a person is (greed, no emotional intelligence, lustful, etc) the more boring they are and, in the long run, […]

  • Monster hunting in anti-paradise.
    by Dan Kent on May 1, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Bad things are going down all over God’s disintegrating creation. Police shootings, racist politicians, violent oil companies, suffering refugees, melting icecaps, hostile walls, disappearing animals, oppressed […]

  • Was Jesus “Crazy”?
    by Dan Kent on April 6, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    “Do you believe I’m the messiah,” the man asked, in a voice that was part tenor, part nasal-congestion. He was rubbing his robe collar between his thumb and index finger. This detail sticks in my memory because his […]

  • What “Man Gave Names to All the Animals” REALLY Means
    by Dan Kent on March 14, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    “So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field..” Genesis 2:20Through our information-obsessed minds we’ve looked upon this story with dull eyes. We watch Adam […]

  • The Universe is a Crime Scene
    by Dan Kent on January 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I’m conflicted. Most scientists are suspicious of any hypothesis about the natural world that even vaguely smells like “intelligent design.” I don’t blame them! Christian thinkers have historically embarrassed […]

  • David & Goliath Follow Up
    by Dan Kent on December 1, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    So here I come marching onto the stage shouting: “David defeated Goliath because of his skills, NOT because of his faith in God.” But then here comes David, about to throw-down Goliath, shouting to the crowd: “it is not […]

  • Do Counselors Laugh at Their Patients?
    by Dan Kent on November 18, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Yes.Well, no.We definitely laugh at what patients do. But we do not “make fun of them,” like by calling them names. But we do laugh at their words and deeds. Sometimes symptoms present in humorous ways. There are endless […]