A Look Inside Yourself – Part Three

We are looking at questions we might want to ask ourselves several times a year when taking a good look inside our heart; when taking a spiritual inventory. A practice that all believers should adopt and implement in their lives. 

1> Is my personal walk with God up to date?

2> Am I keeping my priorities straight?

3> Am I asking myself the difficult questions?

4> Am I accountable to someone who knows me well and who can ask all the hard questions?

5> Am I sensitive to what God is saying to the Body of Christ, the Church?

Are you sensitive to the fact that God speaks to others too? If you can’t answer an unqualified yes, you’re skating on thin ice. In the checks and balances of Christian integrity, the Spirit speaks to others in the Body who compliment and make up for our weaknesses.

Paul beautifully portrays this principle in 1 Corinthians 12 when he speaks about how one member of the body is not to despise another; rather, we are to compliment each other. Not one of us has the corner on God’s gift of hearing what the Spirit is saying to us as the corporate body of believers. And what we think He is saying to us should be in line with what He is saying elsewhere in the Body. 

6> Am I overly concerned with image building?

Too many believers have become more interested in image-building than in kingdom-building. Pretence has replaced passion in our lives. How we deal with the following four areas will reveal our authenticity, both when with other believers and when with non-believers; inside the church and in the world.

      • Character. Do I make decisions based what is right or what is most easily accepted? Do I follow the general flow of society ( or the Church in general) or do I flow with what the Spirit is saying?
      • Change. Do I change my personality, speech, or actions according to the people I am with?
      • Credit. When I do something for theLord, do people see me or do they see my God? And do I care who receives the credit?
      • Channel. Does God work through my life to touch others? If other lives are not changing as a result of mine, this is a good indication that the image I’m building is my own, not God’s. Only if you are open, honest, transparent, and vulnerable with others can God use you to change others.

7> Am I overly impressed by signs and wonders?

We all seek to experience revival. But more than seeking revival, we need to seek God. Then we will experience revival, healings, and miracles. But if we pursue revival for revival’s sake, we are seeking secondary results.

Luke 10:17-20 speaks to this. “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

God is not in the entertainment business. When He works miracles it is for one purpose only — the ultimate good of His Kingdom. A wise old minister once said to a younger one, “God can work miracles through anybody. If He made Balaam’s donkey speak by a miracle, don’t get puffed up if He decides to work a few through you.”

When God does a great work through you, does it humble you or does it feed your ego? The appreciation and fascination for God’s moving should never dim or replace our desire for holy living and righteous character.

A Look Inside Yourself – Part Two

We are looking at questions we might want to ask ourselves several times a year when taking a good look inside our heart; when taking a spiritual inventory. A practice that all believers should adopt and implement in their lives. 

1> Is my personal walk with God up to date?

2> Am I keeping my priorities straight?

3> Am I asking myself the difficult questions?

What are the difficult and critical questions? The first one is, “Why am I doing this? Why am I spending time on this project, looking at this web site, or with these people? What are my motives? Did the Lord lead me here or did I just come on my own?

The second question is, “How should this be done?” In other words, whatever your life today brings your way you should be asking the Lord how to deal with it, handle it, accomplish it? This question is dealing with presumption. The danger of presumption is ever-present especially for those who are suppose to be guided and directed by the Holy Spirit. Moses strikes the rock to produce water on one occasion and them presumes quite wrongly that this is to be God’s method on a later occasion.

The third critical question is, “When should I do it?”  This question obviously deals with timing. When does God want His task accomplished? When is the best time to move forward on that decision you just made (to build a friendship, to buy a house, to switch jobs…. Again, aggressive believers have a tendency to run ahead of God’s timetable for their lives. Many Bible characters had this tendency. We have a tendency to want short-term success at the expense of God’s long-term will. 

4> Am I accountable to someone who knows me well and who can ask all the hard questions?

In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 we read, “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.”

You are at peace in yourself when you are walking with someone who knows you well, has permission to ask you the tough questions, and to whom you have willingly submitted your life and are thus accountable to. This can be someone in official authority such as a pastor or a team leader. But it can also just be a friend or family member who sees and knows the real you and to whom you have given permission to check up on you and the way you are thinking and living and do so on a regular basis. 

One of the reasons I believe in the local church is because this can be a safe place to be open and accountable. Every Christian should be a member of a local assembly and should submit to someone in the group who they relate to and trust. In other words, someone you have a healthy and open relationship and connection to.

Here are the accountability questions I have adopted in both my life and my ministry…

  1. Have you spent daily time in God’s Word and in prayer?
  2. Have you flirted, or had lustful attitudes, tempting thoughts, or exposed yourself to any explicit materials which would not glorify God?
  3. Have you been completely above reproach in your financial dealings?
  4. Have you pursued the hearts of your wife and kids?
  5. Have you done your 100% best in your job, school, etc.?
  6. Have you told any half truths or outright lies, putting yourself in a better light to those around you?
  7. Have you shared the Gospel with an unbeliever this week?
  8. Have you taken care of your body through daily physical exercise and proper eating/sleeping habits?
  9. Have you allowed any person or circumstance to rob you of your joy?
  10. Have you lied on any of your answers?

A Look Inside Yourself – Part One

Too often believers don’t take the time or make the space for personal reflection and self-examination. I call this taking a ‘spiritual inventory.’ It means actually scheduling the time to take a deep dive inside your own heart or spirit and being honest with yourself about the condition of your inner life. This is important for many reasons but especially because Jesus stated clearly that “out of the heart the mouth speaks.” And, the Bible teaches that your heart defines how you live and who you are. It is from the heart that life flows. This then plays a major influence on what you accomplish in life.

Over the years I have practiced taking a ‘spiritual inventory’ during the New Year’s break from my regular routine and again during my summer slowdown from ministry. And, I have collected a series of questions that enable me to focus on my inner life and take an honest look at the condition of that “life.” Let me share them with you.

1> Is my personal walk with God up to date?

This question should prompt a quick and positive answer. If not, you are getting too close to the edge, too close to trouble. Each day you need to be hearing the voice of the Lord for yourself. His Words are spirit and life (John 6:63) and without hearing directly from the Lord regularly then you are drifting and in danger (Hebrews 2:1). So, the question you should ask yourself (or have an accountability partner ask you) is:

“Do I have a word from the Lord for myself that is current and up-to-date?”

“What have I been learning recently in my time with the Lord?”

“What aspect of my life has the Lord been speaking to me about in the last few months?”

The most active and alive believers are those who have a disciplined daily walk with the Lord. This walk is the best protection to keep us from falling into sin.

Why is this so essential to the believer? Because the Word of God convicts our hearts. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you …” It also helps us think like God. The things that we think on are the things that we become (Proverbs 23:7). 

If we are not spending time with God, we are spending that time with whatever it is that has become more important to us. When this happens we quickly become insensitive to His Spirit and therefore, we no longer have the strength to resist temptation. It boils down to the simple fact that I first learned when saved many decades ago: “Sin will keep us from the Word or the Word will keep us from sin.”

A person of integrity is one who has established a system of values against which all life is judged. The system of values is determined by a person’s walk with God. When we attempt to “talk the talk” without “walking the walk,” we are destined to failure. We can avoid this pitfall by keeping our walk With God vital and daily, close and consistent. 

2> Am I keeping my priorities straight?

Priorities have a tendency to sneak out of position when we are not paying attention to them. Countless number of believers have become busy living life only to discover the tragic price of their being so busy was a broken marriage, the loss of personal health, or the failure of their walk with God. At some point along the road, their priorities shifted and their journey changed. 

The first priority of any Christian should be his or her relationship with God. That means growing closer to Him, worshipping and loving Him, and being obedient to Him. The careful maintenance of this relationship is the surest safeguard against life ending up where it should not be. 

One of my favourite passages is John 21:15 where Jesus asks of Peter, “Peter, do you love Me more than these?” The question the Chief Shepherd most wants us to answer is not, “How much do you know about Me?” Or even, “How much are you telling the world about Me?” It is, “How much do you love Me?” Our relationship with Him must be a priority. 

Our second priority should be our family responsibilities and our third concern should be touching others with the love of God and the message of the Kingdom and salvation. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 5:8, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 

Such sober warnings in the Word of God should impress upon us the important of keeping our priorities straight: God first, family second, career and ministering to others third. 

Feeling Confident In Life – Part Six

As you grow more self-confident you will find your confidence has a contagious quality. It will spread throughout your sphere of influence. The Bible provides some interesting examples of “confidence contagion.”

For instance, how many giant-killers are in Saul’s army? None. When Goliath defied the armies of God, they quaked in fear (1 Samuel 17:11). David, who came to bring food to his brothers, sized up the situation, went out in faith, and killed the giant. After David the giant-killer became king, how many giant-killers arose in Israel? Quite a few. They were almost a common commodity in the army under David’s leadership. 

1 Chronicles 20:4-8 “And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, struck him down. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.”

Why do you suppose there were no giant-killers in Saul’s army? Surely one reason is that Saul himself was not a giant-killer. However, under David’s leadership they were numerous, because David was a giant-killer. This illustrates a tremendous principle, a principle that runs throughout the Bible — it takes one to make one! When you develop confidence, those around you – friends, family, fellow church members – will increase in their own confidence levels. Confidence breeds confidence. 

Everyone needs to be affirmed both as a person and as a believer. Affirmation allows our self-confidence to grow. It is easy to give a generic compliment such as “You’re great to work with.” But a comment that really means something to a person is specific and mentions a certain quality: “I appreciate your efficiency in relational skills, and this is very important to the success of the group.” We don’t help others by passing on empty compliments or avoiding the necessary task of sharing needed constructive criticism. Unfortunately too often we are stingy with honest praise. Built up those you relate to and encourage them by verbalizing their worth and value in front of others. Remember, praise in public and criticize in private.

Confidence can provide the momentum you need to be the person God meant you to be. It cannot substitute for character, or skill, or knowledge, but it enhances these qualities so that you can be a person who makes a difference in the life of others. When you have people knowledge and skills and the momentum that confidence brings, then things begin to happen in your relationships.

The largest locomotive in the New York Central system, while standing still, can be prevented from moving by a single, one-inch block of wood placed in front of each of the eight drive wheels! The same locomotive, moving at 100 miles-per-hour can crash through a wall of steel-reinforced concrete five feet thick. The only difference is momentum. Confidence gives you the momentum that makes the difference.

You remember the childhood story about the train engine that did because he thought he could. Some of the larger engines were defeated when they saw the hill. Then came the little train hustling down the track repeating to himself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” and he began to pass al the other locomotives who were saying, “It can’t be done.” As he got closer to the top his speed got slower and slower, but as he reached the crest, he said, “I though I could, I thought I could, I thought I could….”

The little engine made it, but not because he had more power or more skills. The little engine made it because he thought he could; he had more confidence. Many times we feel like little insignificant engines. But if we hone our skills and talents, then add a good dose of confidence, we can climb hills and overcome obstacles and barriers that could have stopped us dead in our tracks. Why pull off the track and stop when we can conquer those mountains with the momentum of confidence in our engines? 

Sometimes I Don’t Enjoy Praying

https://rhm.podbean.com/e/sometimes-i-dont-enjoy-praying/

Before I was born again prayer was non-existent in my life

Oh, I prayed the prayers along with everyone else from the book of prayers during the Sunday morning service

Prayers that 50+ years later I can still repeat by memory (head) – but not from my heart

Then I met Jesus and prayer took on whole new dynamic (November 9th, 1976)

It was a very personal and private conversation between Jesus and me 

A time for solitude and stillness when I reconnected with my own heart and the heart of the Father who loves me unconditionally

A very special – and sometimes quiet – time when I experienced God’s peace and His presence that was different than what I experienced during any other time  Read more

Feeling Confident In Life – Part Five

We have seen that to feel confident and appear confident in relationships and in life in general we need to:

1> Establish your worth according to God’s value system.

2> Focus on God and not on our situation

A> Confidence is not the result of an absence of problems.

B> Confidence is a result of trusting God in our problems.

C> Victories yesterday give more confidence for today.

3> Develop friendships with confident people

4> Put a few wins under your belt

5> Quit comparing yourself with others

6> Find something you’re good at and then specialize until you are special.

It could be a sport, a task, a natural ability, or a personally developed talent and ability. Use that strength as much as you can to build your level of assurance and specialization. As you do a confidence will arise inside you. A successful person will play to their strengths and not focus on their weaknesses. And this is true when building solid, long-term relationships as well. Confidence comes from knowing what you are designed and wired to do and doing it to the best of your ability. 

6> Begin to develop a knowledge of people. 

Here is a humorous old story which points out the importance of knowing who you’re dealing with. A Baptist deacon had advertised a cow for sale. “How much are you asking for it?” Inquired a prospective purchaser.

“One hundred and fifty dollars,” said the advertiser.

“And how much milk does she give?”

“Four gallons a day,” the deacon replied.

“But how do I know that she will actually give that amount?” Asked the purchaser.

“Oh, you can trust me,” assured the advertiser. “I’m a Baptist deacon.”

“I’ll buy it,” replied the other. “I’ll take the cow home and bring you the money later. You can trust me. I’m a Presbyterian elder.”

When the deacon arrived home, he asked his wife, “What’s a Presbyterian elder?”

“Oh,” she explained, “ a Presbyterian elder is about the same as a Baptist deacon.”

“Oh, dear,,” groaned the deacon, “I have lost my cow.”

The deacon knew his product; he knew his cow. But his lack of people knowledge defeated him. To have confidence you will need to take the time to study people (be a people watcher), learn necessary relational skills, and develop a well-rounded personality so that you can confidently enter into any relationship within your season of life. 

So, you have developed confidence – what do you do with it now? Now that you have all this confidence, what should you do with it? Keep refuelling it! Confidence is not a constant; it fluctuates according to your success / failure ratio in life. We all have defeats and failures which occasionally and temporarily lower our level of confidence. If you accept the fact that you will not be outstanding in everything you attempt nor in every relationship you work to establish, you will not be devastated when your best is not good enough.

You will also find your confidence has a contagious quality. It will spread throughout your sphere of influence. The Bible provides some interesting examples of “confidence contagion” which we will look at next time. 

Feeling Confident In Life – Part Four

We have seen that to feel confident and appear confident in relationships and in life in general we need to:

1> Establish your worth according to God’s value system.

2> Focus on God and not on our situation

A> Confidence is not the result of an absence of problems.

B> Confidence is a result of trusting God in our problems.

C> Victories yesterday give more confidence for today.

3> Develop friendships with confident people

4> Put a few wins under your belt

Another way to develop confidence is to put a few wins under your belt. Start with building on small successes and little by little you will tackle bigger and bigger challenges. 

A few successful victories under your belt gives you the impetus to keep starching your abilities. If you keep winning, you may see yourself as a no-limits person. Repeated failures produce the opposite effect. You begin to see yourself as a hopeless loser. The best way to develop rational, well-balanced confidence is to go after a few victories immediately following a failure. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of wallowing in self-pity.

A great confidence booster is a personal victory list of past successes and achievements. This is a biblical concept. There are two Bible characters who practiced this: Samson, who became a total failure, and David, who became a great success.

In Judges 16:20 we see Samson’s victory list:  “And she [Delilah] said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had left him.”

Now let’s read David’s victory list in 1 Samuel 17:37: “And David said, ‘The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you!’”

There are two strong similarities between these two men. They were both chosen, ordained, and anointed by God, and they were both leaders of Israel at a time when Israel was battling agains the Philistines. But this is where it stops; Samson and David also had three distinct differences. These differences made one a winner (and confident) and the other a loser.

The first thing we notice about Samson is that he wanted to please himself. He lived life in the flesh, depending on his own strength and felt no need to rely on God, even when going into battle. He chose the road that always leads to ultimate defeat. Unlike Samson, David desired to please God. He knew that, left to his own resources, he was already defeated. So he called upon the Lord and went to battle with divine help. His weakness became God’s strength and he was assured victory.

Samson’s alienation from God not only led to his defeat, it ended his leadership. For David, however, this episode with Goliath was the beginning of his leadership. It was the incident that brought him into a position where God could greatly use him. Victory lists should give us confidence, not cockiness.

5> Quit comparing yourself with others

Another way to increase your confidence is to quit comparing yourself with others. Comparisons always leaves you found wanting. If you are better than the person you are comparing yourself to, this makes you proud — not more confident. If you are not as good as the person you are comparing yourself to then you become depressed and, again, not more confident. 

The following little story illustrates the point. A milk truck passes two cows grazing in a pasture. On the side of the truck are the words, “Pasteurized, homogenized, standardized, Vitamin A added.” Noticing this, one cow says to the other, “Makes you kind of feel inadequate, doesn’t it?” I think we have all known that feeling of inadequacy when we compare what we can offer with what someone else offers.

Feeling Confident In Life – Part Three

To be comfortable with others and thus build great relationships that have depth and substance we need to be confident in who we are and what it is God has called us to accomplish for Him. So, how can we become confident and thus able to be transparent and vulnerable when building relationships with others?

1> Establish your worth according to God’s value system.

God demonstrated our importance to Him in two great acts. First, He created us in His own image, and second He — through Jesus Christ — died for our sins. God thought so much of you, believed in you, and saw you as a person of such worth, that He allowed His Son to die so that you could live. When we begin to see ourselves in light of God’s actions on our behalf, then we immediately begin to have more confidence. There is nothing more humbling than the realization that if you were the only person on this earth, Jesus would have died for you. That makes you priceless. 

2> Focus on God and not on our situation

Focusing on God — what He has done, is doing, and will be doing — brings you personal confidence in life. Try living according to Psalm 27:1-3…

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.”

We can make three observations from these brief verses.

A> Confidence is not the result of an absence of problems.

It is very clear that the psalmist encountered many problems and difficulties. He mentions his enemies, evildoers who want to devour his flesh, adversaries, and a host encamping around him.

B> Confidence is a result of trusting God in our problems.

In the midst of his difficulties, the psalmist kept focusing on God and not on his difficult situation. “The Lord is the defence of my life.”

C> Victories yesterday give more confidence for today.

In verse two the psalmist speaks in the past tense. “When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” He’s talking about yesterday. In verse three, he talks about today: “Though an host encamp against me, my heart will not fear.” Confidence today is a result of victories yesterday.

3> Develop friendships with confident people

The old cliché is true: Birds of a feather do flock together. A big man is one who makes us feel bigger when we are with him.

Many people are doomed to suffer the “Charlie Brown complex.” It seems that Charlie Brown just can’t do anything right. But notice that one of his problems is the fact that Lucy is always around him. Lucy does not make it any better for Charlie Brown because she is always quick to point out the error of his ways.

On one occasion Lucy puts her hands on her hips and says, “You, Charlie Brown, are a foul ball in the line drive of life! You’re in the shadow of your own goal posts! You are a miscue! You are three putts on the eighteenth green! You are a seven-ten split in the tenth frame! You are a dropped rod and reel in the lake of life! You are a missed free throw, a shanked nine iron, and a called third trike! Do you understand? Have I made myself clear?”

Do you have a Lucy around you? It’s safe to say that if you surround yourself with people like her, you will have a difficult time developing a sense of confidence. Every time you start out there will be someone to remind you what you aren’t, haven’t been, and never will become. If we want to be confident, we must surround ourselves with confident people, people who believe in us and will be encouragers. 

Feeling Confident In Life – Part Two

So, why do we need confidence?  Why do you need confidence in yourself as we saw yesterday from Hebrews 10:35?  “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” 

First of all, it will give you stability in every area of your life. Confidence equals contentment with self; contentment is knowing you have all you need for the present circumstances. This leads to confidence.

Philippians 4:11-13 provides the basis for this thought. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

These verses cannot be separated because there is an absolute relationship between experiencing life’s lows and enjoying its highs. The apostle Paul is resting on the assurance that his strength is in God alone. And, he understood that confidence and contentment gave him stability in every situation he encountered in his tumultuous life. 

Contentment is taking your present situation — whatever obstacles you are facing, whatever limitation you are living with, whatever chronic condition wears you down, whatever has smashed your dreams, whatever factors and circumstances in life tend to push you under — and admitting you don’t like it but never saying, “I can’t cope with it.”

Contentment means you may feel distress, but you may never feel despair. You may feel pressed down, but you may never feel defeated. Paul says there are unlimited resources, and as soon as you say, “I can’t cope, “ you are failing to draw on these resources that Christ has readily, by His loving-kindness, made available to you. Contentment, therefore, is being confident that you measure up to any test you face because Christ has made His strength available within you.

If the first thing confidence does is to stabilize you, the second thing it does is to stretch you. The moment that I have my foundation strong and stable, I am in position to begin stretching. Insecure people and those who lack self-confidence seldom stretch because they are not willing to live on the edge of adventure in life. They are too insecure to risk what they have for what they might achieve and gain if only they let go and stepped out in faith. 

Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” 

Think about a rubber band which is totally useless unless it is stretched. When insecurity and lack of self-confidence keeps us from stretching and growing, we end up with a life that is as unexciting and useless as a limp rubber band. 

We need confidence so that we can be stable in life not allowing neither want or abundance to control our response to daily circumstances and situations. Secondly, confidence allows us to risk stepping out in faith and in the process stretching and growing. 

Transferring this truth to the leadership level we see that confidence helps a leader to believe in other people because they are secure and confident. I mean, don’t we see others as we see ourselves? Show me a leader who believes in other people, and i will show you a leader who has a lot of confidence in their life. An insecure leader, on the other hand, believes neither in themselves nor in others. Insecure people are afraid to risk building up others with compliments, because they are constantly in need of compliments themselves.

A leader with confidence is a leader who brings about positive change in people. People must have affirmation, praise, and encouragement in order to believe in themselves, move forward, and maintain a high-level of excellence in the things they are called to do. Withholding negative or critical comments is not nearly as important as giving positive input through complements and praise. Again, the only people who can do this are those who feel positive about themselves. Work plus praise increases energy, but work without praise drains energy.

If you study the life of Paul, you will note he uses the word “confidence” in three distinct but related ways. Six times Paul refers to confidence in his relationship with Christ, six times to his confidence in himself, and six times he mentions his confidence in relationships with other people. There must be a balance because all three areas are related. Without confidence in Christ we could be tempted to become egocentric and cocky. Without confidence in ourselves we are defeated, powerless Christians. Without confidence in others we are suspicious and untrusting. 

Paul learned this lesson and it made him a successful motivator, leader, and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself. The price tag the world puts on us is just about identical to the one we put on ourselves. Self-confidence is the first prerequisite to doing great things for the Lord and the Kingdom of God. 

Feeling Confident In Life – Part One

Have you ever noticed that some people simply stand out in a crowd? What is it about them that sets them apart and that draws them to your attention? 

    • Their sense of direction — the assurance that they know where they are going?
    • Is it an awareness that they have certain abilities?
    • Maybe it’s because they have good people skills?
    • Is it their sincerity?
    • Their past successes?
    • Their ability to use eye contact and body language?

What do they have that draws people to them and that people appreciate, apparently feel comfortable around, and even want?

I believe it is “confidence!” Self-confidence carries a conviction, a strength, and it draws others to you. It allows you to stand out in a crowd. And, it helps people to feel comfortable around you. But most importantly, confidence allows you to feel comfortable and even relaxed around others. You know who you are. You understand your purpose at this stage in your life. You are good at what you do – having sharpened your talent and learned important skills. You feel strong and secure, self-confident. The result: you live with conviction and as a result others will feel comfortable around you. 

A story I read back in September, 1989 goes like this:

A five-year-old boy was intently working with his crayons at the kitchen table when his mother walked in and questioned what he was doing. Her son replied, “I’m drawing a picture of God.”

“But honey,” she responded, “no one knows what God looks like.”

With great confidence the boy boldly stated, “They will when I’m done.”

I like that sense of self-confidence, boldness, and positiveness. And, believe me, this confidence is powerful. And, confidence is also contagious. 

The writer of Hebrews recognized the value of confidence:

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35)

The author of Hebrews is letting us know that confidence is not set in cement; it’s possible to lose it. And one of the key elements that removes confidence from the way we live life is those that we hang out with. Most people fall into two categories: confidence builders and confidence shakers. If you are unsure of yourself, a confidence shaker can do you in. 

The following story provides a great example of confidence breakdown.

A man lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. He was hard of hearing, so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes, so he read no newspapers. But he sold good hot dogs.

This man put up signs on the highway advertising his wonderful hot dogs. He stood on the side of the road and cried, “Buy a hot dog, mister?” And people bought his hot dogs. He increased his meat and bun orders, and he bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade. He made enough money to put his son through college.

Unfortunately, the son came home from college an educated pessimist. He said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio? Haven’t you been reading the newspaper? There’s a big recession on. The European situation is terrible, and the domestic situation is worse.”

Whereupon the father thought, “Well, my son’s been to college. He reads papers and he listens to the radio; he ought to know.” So the father cut down his meat and bun orders, took down his signs and no longer bothered to stand out on the highways to sell his hot dogs.

Of course, his sales fell overnight. “You’re right, son,” the father said to the boy. “We certainly are in the middle of a big recession.”

Confidence shakers see the negative side of everything. When they get you to buy into it, the very thing that was helping you be successful becomes your downfall. 

Unfortunately, this negative process can and too often does happen in the lives of Christians. We all go through periods of testing, wondering if God really can meet our every need. With a little discouragement from a good confidence shaker, we begin to doubt His ability and our own. This can begin a downward spiral which ends in the pit of failure and frustration. Our confidence has not only been shaken but uprooted.

The positive message from Hebrews 10:35 is that our confidence has a great reward. If we keep and build on it, we will be more than recompensed. Confidence in oneself is the cornerstone to inter-personal success ad healthy relationships that last. It is difficult for those who do not believe in themselves to have much faith in anyone else. Self-confidence breeds confidence in others.