Just recently, while cleaning out a cabinet, I found a neat memory. A piece I had written several years ago ( I did not put a date on it, but when I say several I know it has not been more than 7 years because I remember the event at my church with the ladies there & we were gathering more regularly to fellowship,worship & pray together). I was given the assignment to speak on the topic of “Confidence”. Not something I “felt” like I had any such thing LOL. I remember As I fought why I wouldn’t speak as I was not a public speaker, I remembered a sermon about 2 kinds of Pride. There is the kind that is more obvious- the one that is puffed up and arrogant and thinks too highly of oneself. Then there’s the Pride of thinking too lowly of yourself and worrying about what others think trying to get approval. So, I humbly prayed to my Father AGAIN and invited Lord Jesus to rescue me from this “feeling” of inadequacy and give me HIS Take on the matter. What turned out is how well this worked out because I was struggling. So,……here is my letter on “Confidence” from the Ladies day event years ago:
After I gave my heart to Jesus in the Spring of 1993, I memorized the verse in Hebrews 13;5-6. It says, “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you, therefore we say with CONFIDENCE, the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what will man do to me?”. It is awesome to know and have the “confidence” that saved us. Many other verses encourage us as well. Like Hebrews 10;19 it says: “We have CONFIDENCE to enter into the Holy place by the blood of Jesus”. Hebrews 11;35 says “our CONFIDENCE has a great reward” and warns us not to throw it away.
Now, there are 2 warnings about “confidence” to be aware of and we need to avoid these dangers. This is what the world thinks of “confidence” and from studying and also from practical experience I can tell you what “Confidence” is Not. I think these 2 areas are what every Disciple of Jesus Christ does not want to do.
#1. CONFIDENCE IS NOT CONCEITED-
Psalm 115;1 says “Not to me Lord, Not to me, but to you be the Glory because of your Love and faithfulness” and 1 Corinthians;21 says ” So then, let no one boast in men, for all things belong to you”. Galations 6;14 says to Boast only in the cross.
What do you say when someone asks you how you managed to stay married to your husband all these years and still be in Love, or how did you bring up such wonderful children or if you have a lot of children-how you did it without going insane. Maybe you went through something traumatic- how did you get through it?
Well, I believe and I hope we all use our personal testimony of Jesus being our complete Joy and helper First thing #1, and we give Him all the Glory and credit for everything He has done in our lives!!! I know if I did not have the Lord I would not have any of these blessings of Peace, Joy and contentment . To think that we can do anything on our own and do it better than God just like the world thinks and behaves ,….well that brings me to my second point:
#2. CONFIDENCE IS NOT RELYING ON YOURSELF OR WHAT OTHERS THINK OF U In Philippians chapter 3, Paul warns about having “confidence” in the flesh. There is a song that Twila Paris wrote- here are the Lyrics: “We put no Confidence in the flesh, we will trust in the Lord our God, we find our strength in Him alone, we have no greatness of our own, and we will shine like the stars in a darkened world”.
I probably struggled with #2 more. We were in Fall River Massachusetts for 6 years in our first ministry before God called us to HCC in Franklin NH. For 5 of those 6 years I was trying too hard the wrong way to figure our who I was, to fit in and to figure out Ministry. For one,….I was still a new believer- a very new disciple of Jesus Christ. I remember being completely on Fire for Jesus, always wanting to learn more but also being so tired from raising a family. I was pregnant every other year and homesick because my family did not live down the road. I was lonely for friends my age as the average age of Baptist Temple church when we got there was 75. Then to add to that, I was also being critiqued by someone who would tell me how I should dress, how to look,…all external qualities and not the internal faith that was growing. I also got a list of Do’s and Don’ts on How to Be a Pastors wife. Most of those expectations were unrealistic. How many of you would like to look and be 30 years older than your actual age? Well,..because basically the expectations this person was suggesting to me was a description of my senior Pastors wife. Someone I had great respect for but I wasn’t going to Be her- and though I wanted to it wasn’t going to be attained overnight. I realized Mrs. Morden was being put on a pedestal. Actually I realized the whole Pastors Wives thing was up there on that pedestal. I thought this is NOT what I signed up for. When I talked to Mrs. Morden about it, she sweetly chuckled and said “Dear, they have no idea what they are talking about, do not worry, you are fine so Be yourself”. Some of the best advice I’ve read about too!!;) So as you can see, my “confidence” was not really that great but I was also not looking at it the right way,….I was too concerned about what others peoples opinions were. Another way I let people beat on me was each time I was pregnant, the same ladies that would critique me on everything else would say “How are you doing this again?” “Are you sure you can handle one more and do you really think you guys can afford it?” Ok…..Do you want to see an ecstatic young pregnant woman”s confidence drop in about 3 seconds?
It was the Last year we were there, God gave me this verse: Galations 1;10. It says:
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ”. There it was. That’s what I needed. I may have read this verse before but seen it applied to me before I was saved because before Jesus in my life, I lived any way I wanted pleasing man and I didn’t care,….but then I realized,..NO, this verse is talking to Me- A Christian(Disciple) and not just to me but to any Christian(Disciple) who was stuck where I was. Then I realized that maybe I had a little problem with Pride and I needed to surrender to God and get his help so I would stop worrying about what others wanted me to be and do and just realize my identity did not depend on peoples opinions of me, but rather on being a child of God. He loved me for myself.
1 Timothy 4;12 says “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (ESV)
Just so you know,…when we left Fall River,….we did have young families with lots of kids and the average age dropped to 50. God blessed me with some girlfriends too.
Before I wrap this up with a conclusion: It is important to make this next point that goes with “confidence”: We all need to be cheerleaders- if we all are on God’s team….we need to encourage each other. 2 Corinthians 3;4-5 says: “Such is the CONFIDENCE that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God who has made us competent”
The NAS version says “Adequate”. I like this one because when someone says they don’t think they are adequate to do a certain job,…you can say “You are right, BUT our adequacy is from GOD”- Again,..HE does it!!! I asked my husband what came to his mind about the confidence of Christians. He said what I was thinking is true too- we are “confident” in our own abilities (if you are good at fixing a roof or planting a garden) but not confident in the Bible or their knowledge for a ministry in the church like visitation or missions outreach or just something that would stretch them out of their comfort zone. Again,…we need to cheer people on and also set the example of change that we want to see by getting excited. My Husband cheered me on for 4 years when I was director for Vacation Bible School and that is something i thought I would never do. However, I prayed and committed it to God and HE made me Adequate for it!! He will make you adequate for anything you commit to Him if it’s His Will. Our license plates say PSALM 37;4, 5&6 “Delight yourself in the Lord and HE will give you the desires of your heart, Commit your plans to Him, Trust in Him and HE will do this,..HE will make your righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of your cause like the noonday sun”. Right now I could say “I’m not adequate for this,…standing up her talking,..because I Felt that way and I know I have said this before,..I am not a Public Speaker and I’m stepping out of my comfort zone”! Well again, Praise God! Another thing,…because of my story about the experiences I had in our first ministry I DO get very excited when I find out who is having another baby and How many this makes -there is something in the water at HCC and I Say Praise God again!!! We need to encourage and build each other up discouragement does not go with a persons confidence very well.
Wrap up: Our CONFIDENCE is in Christ Alone and what HE did for You!! How HE lives in You is OUR CONFIDENCE. Boast only in the Cross so that our confidence is never conceited. Live to Please Him and not man,….This is Your Confidence. Don’t let anyone look down on you but only set an example. Stretch your comfort Zone and try something you never thought you could do before. Philippians 4;13 says “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” Cheer your Co Brothers & sisters in Christ On and Pray for them. “For it is God who is at work in You, both to will and to work for his Good pleasure” Philippians 2;13