I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray
Find in me thine all in all.”
–Jesus Paid it All, by Elvina Hall
I remember him talking about confidence, or talking about a thing like confidence that made him breathe life into conversations and shatter the stillness of monotony with laughter.
But it was fabricated.
It was all a show.
Because when he was not around other people, his confidence dissolved into numbness. He propelled himself through every disaster with pure resolve but little to stand behind it. Little to keep it going when hope waned.
I remember someone else telling me that I needed to have more confidence when talking on the phone. More confidence when stating my opinion. More confidence when saying “this needs to happen,” and “this is what I want to do.”
But how do you have confidence when you feel inadequacy gnawing at you like the flu?
How do you shift a misplaced confidence in appearance and mental capacity onto something that can sustain?
What makes a confident person keep marching into a battle, into a day they know they cannot win, even with bloodstains on their chest and dirt on their boots and the very best of the best soldiers around them?
Today I read a verse from Ephesians (3:11-12 ESV) for a Bible study that I am in:
“This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”
I looked up the word “confidence” and found three different definitions of a word that I thought I knew the heart of all too well.
And this is when it all changed.
According to the Google dictionary (or the dictionary definitions that come up when you type “confidence definition” into Google), one of the definitions of confidence is the one that I am most acquainted with, that is:
“a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”
In my opinion, this has become the most common definition of confidence–in the workplace, on the personality assessment, in interpersonal relationships.
But there is another definition of confidence:
“the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust”
“the state of feeling certain about the truth of something”
Have you ever thought about the fact that confidence isn’t necessarily self-based? It’s a revolutionary concept!
In terms of the verse I was reading, this switch in the definition of confidence is a shift between works-based righteousness and saving faith–a switch between destruction and life.
It is a switch between me walking through every day thinking that I have to muster up a false courage in order to be strong, thinking that I have to dig deep into the depths of my own self in order to discover life, love, and redemption.
The world will lead us to think that confidence comes from us–and this “truth” will only lead us to arrogant self-reliance or to painful despair when we realize our weaknesses.
Instead, God wants us to base our confidence in Him and in His truth–and the beautiful thing about both of these things is that they do not change.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
This confidence–in Christ rather than ourselves–leads to assurance rather than uneasy wanderings. It gives hope even when we are a failure.
It is eternal, and by the grace of God working in our lives, it leads to a glorious eternity.