Should Assertiveness Be Your Goal? Some people often feel like doormats but struggle with becoming more assertive. However, becoming Christlike, which sometimes involves being assertive, is really the better goal. How do we move toward that goal?
Christ was certainly assertive, but he was also humble. This truth is evident throughout the Bible, especially in the Gospels. His life illustrates the perfect balance between confident aggression and humility.
Knowing Christ more and becoming more like him is the key to knowing how we should live and interact with others. It’s the key to knowing how to be assertive and humble at the same time. It’s the only way to know when to go the second mile and when to voice our plans, preferences, and desires.
If the goal is to become Christlike, not to simply be more assertive, we must first realize that one blog post, book, or sermon (or even 10 or 20 or 100) cannot cover all of how that happens. Instead, we can begin our lifetime journey of progress toward perfection. We can start by looking at a few basics to create a foundation to becoming Christlike even when our flesh or the world encourage us to focus on being self-confident.
Almost any part of the New Testament can guide us in becoming more Christlike. We find a terrific example of how this works in Ephesians 4.
Right away in Ephesians 4 we find a list of how “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called… humility… gentleness… patience… tolerance… love… unity…” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Throughout the chapter, we receive instruction on how to live this out. With just one or two readings through Ephesians 4, quite a few pieces of instruction jump out for how we “learn Christ” and are “taught in Him.” In other words, how we become more like Christ.
- Be equipped. This is why we have pastors and teachers. They help us understand and apply the instructions given in God’s Word.
- Speak the truth in love. This is essential to maturity and unity in Christ as well as a sign of stable growth. Learn to talk through difficult stuff and to do so in a loving way.
- Be angry without sinning. While we can appreciate that anger isn’t forbidden, it’s important to realize that we cannot let it linger whether justified or not.
- Monitor what you say. Avoid saying anything unhealthy and destructive. Instead, words should edify and build up.
- Be kind. Forgive as Christ forgave you. Be tenderhearted, sympathetic, and compassionate. Often, we must show kindness even when it’s undeserved.
You can find these habits progressing in the lives of Jesus’ disciples in the New Testament as they spend time with him during is earthly ministry. They’re even more evident as they spread the Gospel after receiving the Holy Spirit. Even many individuals (e.g., Joseph and David) in the Old Testament provide examples of these principles being progressively lived out.
Most importantly, you can find all of these habits exemplified in the life of Jesus during his three-year ministry as well as implied in his life before then (Luke 2:52). Pick any Gospel and read about Jesus’ life on earth, and you’re sure to spot these habits carried out in perfection.
Jesus was certainly meek and mild. He balanced love and truth with courage. He was also proactive and commanded respect while also being humble and loving. His example shows us how to be assertive without becoming self-focused and overly-aggressive.
As we seek to become more Christlike, a lifelong endeavor to be sure, we can place our confidence in his desire to help us. Not only can we get this help in the pages of Scripture, but we have supernatural help us as well.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” (John 14:16)
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” (John 15:26)
As we progress toward perfection, we can have confidence knowing we have a perfect example to follow. We have imperfect ones too that can also help us in our goal to becoming like Christ.