I get the impression people think I’m self-confident. I’m not.
At least, I don’t have confidence in myself when it comes to being able to do what’s right. Quite the contrary. Going by my track record I am confident that I will often do what’s wrong, both in words spoken or unspoken and in actions known or unknown.
I know me. And if you knew the things I think and say and do as well as I know these things, you’d understand why I have little confidence in myself.
Perhaps you see yourself the same way.
The book of Nehemiah tells the story of the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exile. The Israelites had been conquered, stripped of their wealth and carried off to faraway captivity by a cruel king. But as years went on a new king and kingdom came to power, one God used to restore his people. Nehemiah, one of the exiles and an advisor to this new king, led a group of his people back to Jerusalem.
On arrival, he saw the sorry state of the city. It was still in ruins, and foreigners who moved into the area after the Israelites were banished wanted to keep it that way. Nehemiah and the people pressed on despite opposition – including death threats and political intrigue – and completed the restoration of the city walls.
And their enemies? The enemies lost their confidence.
So the wall was completed … in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. (Nehemiah 6:15-16.)
I can understand why, if their confidence was merely in themselves. After all, note where Nehemiah and the Israelites got their help from.
Confidence must be hard to come by.
People speak of building confidence, instilling confidence and losing confidence, giving the impression that confidence is hard-won and slippery to hold onto. It’s as if confidence were your responsibility.
In a way, it is. You have a responsibility to confidence itself.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Hebrews 10:35.)
What is this confidence you are to hold onto? It is the Lord God, your Savior.
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13.)
It is also confidence in the work he has done and is doing in you for the sake of his gospel of good news.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 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 1:4-6.)
One aspect of this good news about Jesus and his work in you is that the confidence is not of your own making. You don’t have to come up with one stitch of confidence. It is a product of God’s righteousness, not of your own will.
The fruit of [the Lord’s] righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. (Isaiah 32:17.)
This is God’s blessing for his people.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him. (Jeremiah 17:7.)
This confidence in God is a gift from him. This is the confidence you are not to throw away, the confidence that will be richly rewarded as you continue in your life in God, as that verse above from Hebrews promises.
He is the One you need never lose confidence in. He is the One you can be eternally confident of.