“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Just How Important is Having Confidence?
A person who lives without confidence will always fall short of their potential. When we do not believe that something is possible for us, we will not take the steps required to succeed. I might wish to be a great guitarist, but if I don’t believe it is possible, I will never take guitar lessons or practice sufficiently to get good at guitar. A person may desire to succeed in business, but if they don’t believe they can, they will never take the steps required for success. They will be half-hearted, discouraged, perhaps cynical and definitely unmotivated. This thinking will affect the way they do their work, their attitude, and will work to create the mediocrity that they are expecting. The only time we rise above our actual level of confidence is when someone else helps and encourages us, even prods and pushes us, ultimately showing us the way past our fears into success. Not everyone will get this kind of help though in the things that matter most in life. You are blessed indeed if you have a pastor who cares enough for you to take an active interest in your personal development. Most pastors cannot do this except with a small number of people, and they usually select only the ones who are already showing the greatest leadership potential. So its better, if you want to grow in God and be fruitful as a Christian, to learn how to draw on Christ for life and strength directly.
You may wish to live a holy life, but if you don’t believe its possible, if you have no confidence, you won’t seriously aim for the target. Your condition is limited by the belief that what God says is impossible when you think that way.
God wants us to have faith in Him, and confidence is an important element of faith. When we have strong faith in God, we have a confidence to move out because we have come to know God, to know what He wants, and to know that He is with us to help us and work with us, especially when we have been obedient to His commands.
In Whom Should our Confidence Be?
The world teaches those aspiring to success the value of self-confidence. It says, “You can do it if you believe you can”. There is some truth to this, but it is not gospel truth, and sometimes it fails.
The Bible however, does not tell us to believe in ourselves. It teaches us to believe in Christ, to have faith in God. Though man can and does achieve things in this world aided by self-confidence and a positive self-image, Jesus said to his disciples, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). In one sense this is absolutely true, since Christ is the Sustainer of the Universe, and upholds all things by His Word. But I believe the main thing He is saying is that apart from an intimate relationship with Him, where you draw on His life, you can do nothing OF TRUE VALUE.
What good is it for you if, armed with a positive SELF-image and great SELF-confidence, you achieve a measure of worldly achievement but MISS THE GOAL which Christ has for you? In the light of eternity, it won’t matter how rich or famous you were on earth. What will matter is how obedient you were to Christ’s calling for your life. No one is going to come to the end of their life and regret the fact that they have been so faithful to Christ. No one.
When it comes to the things of God, in following Jesus, self confidence will ultimately fail us. Peter was so sure of his loyalty to Jesus, of his courage, that he said on the night Jesus was betrayed, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be!” and “If I have to die with You, I will not deny you!” (Mark 14:29, 31). Peter was confident in himself, but when push came to shove, and Jesus was on trial, Peter denied THREE TIMES that he even knew Jesus at all. Peter then went out and wept bitterly, utterly ashamed of his failure. Self confidence will fail us where it counts most – in the integrity of our walk with God. God will allow things to come up which will shatter our self confidence, with the hope that we will learn to have CONFIDENCE IN GOD, and not in ourselves.
Deep Crises Prove only God-Confidence is Sufficient – Paul’s Example
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead …” (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)
Paul faced a situation where he was sure he was going to die, so bad were his troubles. Paul does not use this situation to teach us to be confident in ourselves, quite the opposite.
This verse would not be in the Bible if God wanted people to trust in themselves. Self-confidence is an attitude that you have got what it takes to make it, come what may. God showed Paul that he didn’t have what it took in himself. He needed to trust in God who raises the dead. That is a big part of what it means to have the kind of faith that pleases God.
We can become self-confident through education and experience, but God wants us in a place where we know we need to depend on Him. If you are a genuine child of God seeking to follow Him, be assured that you will face situations which require God’s concrete intervention from time to time. When we face circumstances that look hopeless, we need to look PAST those circumstances, and see God, who is more than enough for any challenge we face.
Living Out of the Life of Christ
When we look to God, we must realise that He is both above all things and yet simultaneously within us (2 Corithians 13:5, Galatians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 6:17,19). Now, if we choose to live out of Christ and not out of our old self-life, we can have confidence that what God has put within us is enough for what we face. “Faithful is He who calls you, WHO ALSO WILL DO IT”. Christ will do it, and many times do it through us! We have the Holy Spirit within. If we listen to Him, we will ultimately prosper. We have the nature of Christ. We need to live out of that nature, by taking an attitude of humility and waiting upon God in our daily life. It does not mean being passive or lazy, but it does mean looking to God for wisdom that He will communicate to us through our human spirit which is in union with Christ. When God speaks, we need to receive His Word and launch out with bold faith.
Paul said that he had been crucified with Christ, and he no longer lived. God put the old Paul to death, so that Christ might live in him. As I understand this, it is not saying that Paul no longer existed, but that he was made new, remade on the inside through Jesus Christ, with the nature of Christ and the power of God within. His old life was dead because he considered it dead (Romans 6:11). As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7). Paul’s new life was lived in union with Christ through faith in Him.
Because that Mighty Christ lives within us also (2 Corinthians 13:5), we can have great confidence to move forward boldly in His name and slay all giants that come against us. Yes, serious obstacles will be faced, threatening circumstances will loom, but God will carry us through victoriously. Jesus Christ is our wisdom, strenth, sanctification, life and power. As Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, He is NOT worried! He takes delight when we learn to trust Him, and thereby stop worrying. That is what we are called to grow into.
God wants us to operate in the faith of Jesus. If He is in us, His faith is also in us, somehow. We can learn to live out of Him more and more. Its a question of trust. We need to let Him take control of our thoughts and emotions, but we can put the brakes on this through fear if we so choose.
What Are the Benefits of Having Confidence in God?
“If you can believe, all things are possible to those who believe.” (Mark 9:23).
A lot of people say they believe, but the truth is that there are certain promises they don’t believe. When people say the opposite of what God’s Word says, there is unbelief and ignorance present, and it limits the working of God in their lives. A vicious circle can begin, where the absence of God’s working promotes further unbelief, doubt and negativity concerning the things God’s word declares. To break out of this, we need to make a commitment to change our thinking and learn from God.
God says that ALL things are possible to those who believe. If this is true, its good news. If we consent to the renewing of our minds, and feed our spirits with the Word of God, and walk in obedience to what the Spirit of God shows us, faith will grow and amazing things can happen.
In another lesson I talked about having a “Definite Chief Aim” in God. If we are blessed to know from God what this is for our life, it will still take faith in God to accomplish it. The Life Goal God gives you will require God Himself for its accomplishment. If your life goal could be achieved by a non-believer, or in your own power, then I question whether it is really the Higher Calling that God has for you. It might be just a step on the way, or it might be just your own imagination. “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Can we reach our generation with the knowledge of God? Yes we can. All things are possible to those who believe. Can we get demonic oppression off the Body of Christ? Yes we can. All things are possible to those who believe. Can we get out of debt? Yes we can. All things are possible to those who believe. Could God supply you with $100, if He stretched Himself? I believe He could. All things are possible to those who believe. Take a look into the sky on a cloudless night. Conside the power and understanding of the One who made it. Could that One look after you? Could He work through you, in your life, to fulfil the Goals He gave you? I believe you will say, ‘Yes’ to this.
Confidence in God makes things possible, it relieves us of worry and mental torment, it brings physical healing into our lives, it enables us to move in the spiritual gifts, to hear the voice of God and to fulfil our calling. Confidence in God opens the door for all the promises of God to come to pass in our lives.
The benefits of confidence in God are incalculable.
How To Develop Confidence in God
Please see my lesson on faith which gives answers to this important question.
Confidence in God will develop in three main ways. The first is to force yourself to think on God and what God has already done for you and for others. The second is to trust in the blood of Jesus for cleansing of all your past sin. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, God legally exchanges your imperfect record for the righteousness of Jesus. Its done through a gift you receive by believing in the Love of God. The third way to develop confidence is to be obedient to God as He speaks to you and step out. Your confidence will grow as you see how God works in your life.
I will explore these aspects in greater detail in other lessons. May God richly bless you as you consider just how confident you can be now that Christ lives in you, from the day you surrendered your life to Him.