I don’t know about you but I can sometimes be quite intimidated by really confident people. When I was younger I was incredibly nervous and shy. The idea of meeting new people would send me into a cold sweat and anything requiring up front speaking was my worst nightmare.
To say I lacked confidence would have been an understatement. The older I got though the more I found overcoming my nervousness had very little to do with thinking of myself in a better way. I’m sure it was a part of it, but what I remember and still believe to this day is that my confidence I have now is not placed in me but in someone else.
There’s no doubt when you're fearful of something then doing it alongside trusted friends helps. Whenever I did youth on a Friday night having the team to serve alongside gave me great confidence as I knew what gifts and abilities each of them brought to the table.
Even on Friday nights, however, God would often remind me that it was in Him I can have confidence. By His grace I had an outstanding team and I reckon most situations – from running out of pizza to asteroid hits – we could have handled.
He was the one who was truly holding us up, going before us into each activity and prayer time, ministering to us during worship and speaking through His word. Our great God.
He is still the same God who David went to fight Goliath with such confidence in His Lord, a confidence we too can have – not in our own abilities but in God's!
1 Samuel 17:45-47 says: "'You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues His people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and He will give you to us!'"
As we've studied through the letter to the Hebrews in Stretch Bible studies recently I was massively struck by these verses, especially verse 35:
"But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward" (Hebrews 10: 32-35).
Don’t throw away your confidence!
The writer to the Hebrews is petitioning his readers to not turn their backs on God. Don’t settle for lesser things. Don’t be pulled away by the world. Don’t go back to where you were before you knew Jesus.
Don’t put your confidence in anything else.
When we put our confidence in God there is no safer place to put it. Even in weakness, Paul tells us to have confidence in God:
"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Paul's confidence was in Jesus.
How can we have the same confidence that Paul and David had? I truly believe it is by building our faith.
How do we build up our faith? By knowing God's word.
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17).
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119 :105).
"To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free'" (John 8:31-32).
God's word increases our faith, lights our path so we have confidence to take the next step, and sets us free.
That’s the kind of confidence I want for all of us.