"I would never say that;" "I would never wear those pants;" "I would never eat that type of food;" "I would never speak in that tone to my husband;” “I would never ____________.”
Usually, this conversation stays within the confines of my brain, but it creates a dangerous growth deep inside, a growth frequently applauded in our culture: self-confidence.
I oftentimes find myself reeling between two extremes: zero self-confidence, which leads to loneliness and pride, and total self-confidence, which ironically leads to the same end. While I hate to see people who live in the land of zero self-confidence, the answer to this problem is not to pendulum-swing toward the other side. And I honestly believe that the Lord knew that we would frequently struggle to know where to place our confidence.
After all, if we were truly called to have “self” confidence, then the Lord would not have seen it necessary to command that we think less highly of ourselves, that we renew our minds from our original thoughts, that we fear not, that we trust in the Lord, that we have faith and believe. After all, with all this thrust for self-confidence, why would it be necessary for us to believe or have faith in anyone else? Why would I ever feel fear? And you can rest assured that with self-confidence, my thoughts would always be right.
However, I want to be careful not to label all confidence as wrong. The Bible also teaches that we are taught to be wise stewards of our time, resources, money, etc. This requires some amount of confidence for us to move forward believing that we’ve utilized wisdom in each of these areas.
Here’s the answer: our confidence should not be set in self; it should be set in the character and nature of our God - the Almighty One, the Infinite Father, who will fulfill his promises when he sends Jesus Christ to establish his kingdom.
Matthew 25 gives us an excellent picture of what it means to have God-confidence. Jesus shares a story with His disciples in which the first two servants seemed to understand the character of their master, and out of confidence in who He was, they were each able to double their talents. But the final servant, out of complete lack of confidence in the character of the master, was only able to return to the master the original amount that was His.
Therefore, as a believer in Christ Jesus, it’s important to remember that this life is not about growing in self-confidence; it fades as we become increasingly aware of our inability to overcome. But this life is equally not about sitting around, squandering our time out of a lack of self-confidence. I think the whole confidence equilibrium is found here. As we more fully understand the magnificence of our God, we move from self-confidence (of any form) to God-confidence.
In our own strength, we will continue to battle anger. But with confidence in the Lord, we can submit our frustrations to the Lord and trust Him to provide peace. In our own strength we will continue to battle lust, but with confidence in the Lord, we can submit our desire to the Lord and trust Him to provide contentment. In our own strength, we will continue to battle fear, but with confidence in the Lord, we can submit our anxieties to Him and trust Him to bring about love.
Having trouble understanding why God is worthy of our confidence? Meditate on these words:
This God is worthy of every ounce of our confidence.