It is amazing how much I have changed from my youth. As I get older and I guess as life beats me through the years I begin to change in certain areas. When I was a youth, confidence was not something that was in short supply. In fact, most would tell you that confident was not the right word to describe me, perhaps conceded would fit better. The truth is that there was no one better in my eyes. There was no one better looking, no one better at anything I did, I was just the best. I can remember when someone would tell me that I was not capable of doing something there was this little switch inside that clicked. When that switch clicked it was like if there were any doubts whether or not I could do something they would at that moment be gone and it was now guaranteed that I was going to succeed. Being the “hot head” that I was, and looking back now it is strange to me that it didn’t upset me like everything else did. It was quite the opposite, I actually got happy when someone said that I couldn’t do something because at that moment I knew it was going to happen.
As the years pass by and life keeps hitting hard my confidence level has dropped significantly. To be honest, it is really kind of stupid considering that in my youth my confidence was in myself, but today I live in Christ so my confidence should be even greater. Anyway, the point is that I have been changed into someone different. I have gone from overconfidence to absolutely none. As a leader, this is damaging not only to myself, but to those who follow me. I guess it’s kind of natural, after all, God has allowed me to recognize that I am really nothing without Him and how much I need Him. The problem is that I sit too often in the chair of despair, focused on how insignificant I am in the eyes of God instead of how great I am in Him. Things might be a little different for me, and for those I lead if I could live in the confidence that comes from a life in Christ.
I could probably write a book on all that the confidence in Christ entails. I am sure that someone has already written that book, so I won’t go into it. I think at the root of it, however, lies a confidence in Christ’s plan and His ability to work on our behalf. I was reading 1 Samuel 14 this morning and noticed something pretty interesting in verse 6. “6 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It MAY be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.”(emphasis mine)
It was as if God bolded and italicized the word in my bible. The word “may”, Stopped me in my tracks. I kept going back to the same verse over and over again. For my purpose what happens after this is really not that important, even though it is important, this word is huge to me. Jonathan tells this guy to come with him into the enemy camp because there is a possibility that God will act on their behalf. So Jonathan says that he is certain that God can act on their behalf, but doesn’t necessarily know that He will. We find it difficult to do something as small as talk to someone about God much less go into enemy camp putting our lives on the lines on the idea that God may act on our behalf. This isn’t the only place where this is happening in scripture. Take Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego for example. Nebuchadnezzar brings them in and tells them to bow down to an idol. These three say that there is no way they are going to do it. Nebuchadnezzar says that He is going to throw them into a fiery furnace. Look at what they say next; “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.” Faith to answer and stick to their guns in the face of life or death. These three guys know that God will deliver them right? NO, check out what they say next; “18 BUT IF NOT, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
These guys didn’t have faith that it was going to happen, but that it could happen, and if it didn’t happen it still wouldn’t change anything they won’t submit either way. I love this! I need this! Having the confidence that God can act on my behalf if He desires, and the willingness to go out and do what He asks knowing that He can act on my behalf, but also being okay with Him not. I don’t fully understand it, but that is the faith that I want. That is the confidence that I need! I need to be able to walk out to do what I know He is calling to do, confident that if He wants to He can do His thing, but if He doesn’t then it is exactly what is supposed to happen. What an empowering thought.
Today this is my prayer. I pray that God will grant me the confidence and boldness to face the furnace and know that if He wills, He can save me from it, but if He chooses not to I will still be faithful and take the burn with pride in Him. I pray that for you also. This is the kind of leadership that I pray for. I pray that when I tell them to follow me to the enemy’s camp they will do so knowing that I have faith in the fact that God can work on our behalf.