In the first post of this series on humble confidence, we explored the humble, meek and gentle side of the Christian life. This post highlights our call to live boldly and confidently.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
There is a special need for confidence when your spouse does not share your faith. A spouse is the person with whom you normally discuss important plans and issues. But if they don’t share your faith, they may have a different definition of “good” and so you may face spiritual decisions without a sounding board and loving support. Your spouse may even be watching to challenge whether your actions align with your words. My husband shows embarrassment when he sees me talking to a homeless person or praying with a neighbor. (However, he usually tells me later that it was a nice thing to do.)
Humble not arrogant
This post started when a fellow SUMite and I discussed how humility and confidence go together. At first glance, they seem to be opposites. But I’ve come to understand that they are very well aligned. It helps to be clear about what these words do and don’t mean. See the last post for a discussion of humility.
The confidence I am talking about has to do with trusting God and his promises. It does not mean to have an excessive amount of trust in ourselves. That would be arrogance and the opposite of humility.
For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh— Philippians 3:3 (HCSB)
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:17
I find that when I am humble and realize how much I trust in God, I can be bold. It takes the pressure off.
How can I be confident that this is the right thing to do?
What if you have something on your heart to do but are not certain that it is from God? How can you be confident in it?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -- Romans 12:2
First, we are to constantly renew our minds to align with God’s will. We study the scriptures and focus our thoughts on joyful and loving things. But scriptures aren’t so specific to every decision that they say whether to lease or buy that new car, for example. There are scriptures about paying your debts. So if you can afford either option, just make a choice. Make a choice without fretting so much that you lose your joy.
What if I’m naturally shy?
We all have different talents and face different situations. Your need for confidence may be very different from mine. You may express it differently. But leaning on The Lord and stretching beyond yourself is a sweet thing. It is one way we can mature in faith and draw closer to God.
My Mother was naturally a shy person. Yet, she made a point to welcome visitors to church and to sit with them. For me, talking to strangers is not a big deal. But I know it took effort for Mom and I admired that in her.
Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame – Romans 10:10 (HCBS)
Hebrews 11 is referred to as the Hall of Faith. It lists people who are the superheroes of our faith – Abel, Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Rahab and others. Read that chapter slowly and reflect on the background that the Old Testament gives about these people. Except for Enoch, none of them really had picture perfect lives. Look at Gideon, for example. Hebrews heralds him as a conqueror. When we first meet him in the book of Judges, an angel called him to battle. His response was basically “Who me?” accompanied by excuses. But he got over it and led Israel to victory. He was shy about his own abilities, but drew confidence from God. A lesson that I take from this is that stretching ourselves and stepping out in confidence builds faith.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
What if things backfire or go horribly wrong?
The second part of the Romans 12:2 verse says that we are to test and approve what God’s will is. Sometimes we have to try things and see what happens. If it didn’t turn out well, then next time you are in a similar situation, make a different choice. I don’t mean to sound flippant, but it can be that mathematically logical. Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the working telephone, among many other things. On a recent visit to his museum, I was impressed with the number of failed inventions on display. When an experiment did not give the result he wanted, his attitude was that he learned one more way not to do it. We can learn from that. So, go ahead… witness to that neighbor, teach that class, post a scripture on Face Book, or whatever is calling on your courage today.
What if I struggle more with pride than shyness?
Some of us don’t struggle with shyness. In fact, we can forget to check in with God and take things in our own hands. This is where we need to develop humility to blend with our confidence. Remember to give God the glory.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, -- Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5b (NIV)
Lord, I want all that you have for me in life. Help me, nudge me, if I am holding back from anything you want me to do. When I step out in faith, let me feel good that I obeyed and not to worry about the outcomes. It is all in Your hands. When I celebrate successes, let me give the glory to You.
Where do you need courage today? Can we pray for you? There are so many scriptures about courage. Do you have a favorite to share? How do you feel about being both humble and confident?