Category Archives: Confidence

Confidence – how God develops our, Part 5

“O LORD, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed” Psalm 30:7.  God’s presence in life being the difference between confidence and dismay.

Moses as an unwilling but obedient servant discovered that truth.  In exile at Sinai, he felt God couldn’t use a man like him.  Before the Sea of Reeds, with disaster behind and apparent catastrophe ahead, he knew God had already resolved the problem.  God in his people means they succeed because he lives in them.  True today.  True tomorrow.  True forever.  Face all challenges confidently, Christians, because Jesus Christ lives and his Spirit lives in us.

Now…a warning…remember that God called three men to service:  Moses, Gideon and Saul.  Of the three only Saul failed his calling, because he never learned to trust God.  Moses trembled at his prospects but went forward on faith.  Gideon shivered, shook and quivered at his, but obeyed.   Saul, originally humble in fear became proud once in leadership.  In his egotism he didn’t advance in faith because he trusted himself, not God.  Unlike Moses and Gideon, Saul had his best days at the beginning of his rule, and never again.  His example warns us that even our strengths will become weaknesses if not surrendered to God.  Moses and Gideon encourage us that even our inadequacies become strengths by obeying God.

People today spend thousands of dollars hoping that motivational gurus can build their self-confidence—and all the while God does it for a mere confession of Jesus Christ as Lord!  Why do we continue to SEEK what has already been FOUND?  Why do we tirelessly look where no help exists and ignore the Source of all help and comfort?  For confidence is the natural consequence of belonging to Jesus Christ, the result of accepting him, the mere by-product of the forgiveness he offers and of his personal presence in us.  When we have that essential we’ll naturally possess self-confidence and self-esteem.

If we’re sure that God is calling us to serve him, and we’re reluctant or refusing because we’re afraid we can’t do it, DO IT anyway—and we’ll find fear changed to an equivalent confidence because God’s Almighty Presence floods our soul!  Remember:  we don’t need to know WHERE we’re going, but only that God is LEADING us there.   FINI.

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Confidence – how God develops our, Part 4

Health issues interfered mid-week.  Now gone, back to blogging.  Three men agreed to accept God’s call to leadership after enumerating the unfitness.  God bolstered their confidence by reminding them of the innate capacity he built in them AND by assuring them of his Indwelling Presence as they served.

Moses offers a prime example of a person overcoming his feelings of inadequacy by experiencing God’s presence.  That spiritual education changed him from the intimidated shepherd of Sinai into the intimidating leader of Israel at the Sea of Reeds.

While he had reluctantly accepted his commission, he didn’t divulge its content to his father-in-law.  Learning it left Zipporah a seething opponent, leading to her banishment from Moses on their way to Egypt Exodus 4:24-26, 18:1 ff.  And Moses hardly seemed a formidable opponent of Pharaoh in their initial encounters.

Then, as God worked his plagues, a growing confidence marked Moses as Pharaoh’s confidence declined.  This is seen dramatically in the contrast in Moses at Sinai and before the Sea of Reeds.  At Sinai he felt reluctant; at the Sea fearless.  At Sinai tentative; at the Sea resolute.  At Sinai lethargic; at the Sea dynamic.

What happened in the interim?  This…in that year of plagues Moses GREW spiritually.  His self-confidence became explicit because his faith in God became absolute.  Again…the Christian professor said self-confidence comes from the positive evaluation of others, but the Bible says it comes from the Presence of God within his servant.

Do we believe a mortal or Almighty God?  Moses had no doubt.  He was the same man with the same gifts, at Sinai and at the Sea, but at the Sea he had a different relationship with God.  At Sinai, faith in God was a possibility, at the Sea a reality!  And faith that God would overcome all obstacles inspired Moses.

General Harold Alexander once said of a British officer in his command, “as a soldier, he is a good…military cook.”  Moses and Christians make very good sinners.  That doesn’t matter if we continue serving.  For if we do not quit, God will continue to use us.  But he expects us to face the Enemy, not run from him.  There will always be something we fear as we serve God.  Let us be very sure that our greatest fear is the fear of saying NO to God when he calls us to follow him, obey him, serve him.  That supreme fear inoculates us against lesser fears.  It emancipates us where other fears imprison us.  End Part 4.

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Confidence – how God develops our, Part 3

God called three men to serve.  They reluctantly obeyed but only after citing shortcomings they felt disqualified them.  God bolstered their confidence by reminding them of his giftedness in them.

The second, and more important, way God developed their confidence was to remind them of his continued presence in them.  To Moses:  I am sending you…I will be with you…I will help you speak…I will teach you what to say.  To Gideon:  The Lord is with you…am I not sending you?…I will be with you…I’m going to give Midian into your hands.

God’s presence, then, is the ultimate source of our self-confidence.  It doesn’t come, as one Christian psychologist said, from other people’s evaluation of us.  They can at best affirm what God gives.  Nor does it come from education, family lineage or wealth.  If it had, Moses would have been an Atlas and Hercules.  Instead, his Egyptian connections and education gave him a false sense of values.  It led to a mission that led to the loss of self-confidence and to an exile that destroyed what little was left.

The late Heath Ledger, world-famous as he was, regularly took anti-anxiety pills to help him stay calm during the day and sleeping pills to rest at night.  His meteoric rise to stardom hadn’t built his self-confidence.

Nor is self-confidence based on ego.  The Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump of his day, William Pitt the Younger became Secretary of State after a year of disaster’s threatened England’s sovereignty.  On his accession he boasted that he could save England, and no one else could.  When Oscar Wilde arrived in New York for a lecture tour, he declared at customs that he had nothing to declare except his genius.

Arrogance.  Ambition.  Egotism.  And other humanistic bombast.  All enemies of God and of personal confidence.  But God’s presence in life—that’s what God honors and fuels our self-confidence.  It rushes through us at warp speed and in torrential measure.  God’s presence shackles inferiority into a manageable fault as it enlarges our awareness of his Grace and Strength.  End Part 3

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Confidence – how God develops our, Part 2

God called three men to serve him.  Each reluctantly accepted God’s summons, pleading inability vis à vis the task.  From Old Testament texts we find two ways God increases our self-confidence.

The first way is to remember the potential he builds in us.  Moses’ first question to his call was, “Who am I that I should deliver Israel?”  He needed only recall the event that brought him to Midian.  He had 40 years earlier felt confident that Israel would appreciate his effort to defend them.  They didn’t, but in fact he had been willing.

It’s possible that the experience had shadowed him since.  The loss of Sir John Franklin’s Arctic Expedition in the middle 19th century halted European exploration of earth’s northern extremities.  Failure may have dealt that kind of knock-out blow to Moses.  He never thought of it without vowing, “I’ll never do that again.”

Nevertheless, he had been a leader.  Back to his former role God called him.  God revealed the same latent capability in Gideon, calling him “mighty warrior.”  He may not have known it, but he possessed martial giftedness.  Both men possessed capabilities they allowed to exist in them overlooked and underworked.

From these accounts we learn to identify and develop our personal strengths while tolerating our personal weaknesses.  If we’re like Thomas Jefferson, we concentrate on writing eloquently; we don’t bemoan our inability to be heard in the second row of chairs when speaking.

In short, we emphasize our strengths, which increases confidence; we don’t stress our limitations, since that diminishes confidence.  We also learn to pencil in all our plans to serve God—and keep an eraser handy.  God may have other plans for us, completely outside our comfort zone.  And if he does, OBEY, don’t quibble!  Even if it makes us uneasy or brings pain.  God won’t hesitate to make us uncomfortable if by doing so it increases our fruitfulness for Jesus.

This latter point reminds Ministers that their primary role as Pastors is helping members identify, understand and employ their spiritual giftedness.  We’re each God’s child; that’s who we are.  God has gifted us to serve; that’s what we do.  Each serves him specifically; that’s how we discharge our discipleship.  End Part 2

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

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Confidence – how God develops our, Part 1

In three crises God called men to service:  Moses, a shepherd, to deliver Israel from Egypt; Gideon, a farmer, to deliver Israel from Midian; and Saul, a tall farmer, to deliver Israel from Philistia.  While God called them, none excitedly responded.  Instead, they uniformly unleashed torrents of self-debasing excuses why they shouldn’t comply.  Marked by what we call an inferiority complex, each in essence clamored, “I can’t; it’s too hard; it isn’t possible; get someone else.”

Sociologists might explain that Moses reacted from natural insecurity begotten by his slavery background.  (Don’t blacks still excuse their dependence on welfare by the ghosts of slavery?)  At least two problems contest that view.  One, ex-slaves like George Carver, Booker Washington and Frederick Douglass disprove it. Two, after age three Moses lived in privilege as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, not in slavery as Jochabed’s son.  That same sociologist would also excuse Gideon and Saul’s reaction as the little man’s fear facing the impossible challenge.  Except that peasant Joseph, the Savior’s step-father, readily accepted a far greater call than Gideon or Saul ever faced.

Naturally, if the trio had found time, they would have created other excuses as their rationale.  Like us, they expertly side-stepped responsibility instead of rising to leadership.  God’s call to servants, and their reluctance to obey, resonates throughout scripture.  From texts in Exodus 3, Judges 6 and I Samuel 9 we find two ways God develops our self-confidence.  End Part 1

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)

Books also at www.amazon.com