Julie Andrews sang a fun little song about confidence in The Sound of Music.’ Click the link:
Here’s a thought for us today. How’s your confident going? Are you confident? If so, confident in what? As an author and speaker I have the honour of standing before groups and communicating, I’m keenly aware that I give impressions. It’s my passion to communicate well, yet, one possible impression I can give is that I’m a self-confident person. Actually, I’ve never been a particularly confident person. This may have been due to illness or learning difficulties growing up. Dyslexia disabled achieving academically while chronic Asthma spoilt sporting endeavours. As a mature age student I remember sitting down to start my first essay as I embarked on a Theology degree and having all the fears and memories of failed schooling flood my mind. Education was my Achilles heel, the classroom my kryptonite. I’m inspired by the Apostle Paul who truly was what I’d call a ‘best of the best’ type student. He said of himself in Phil 3:4-6 that he was ‘the best of the best’ according to the things that would give someone outward confidence. Yet this brilliant man, who God used to write a large portion of the New Testament, and whose legacy continues to breathe life into people today, regarded ‘self-confidence’ as rubbish. It’s interesting that Paul when describing his reasons for self-confidence uses the word ‘σκύβαλα.’ English translators have traditionally taken a ‘user friendly’ approach to selecting an interpretation. They have used words like, ‘Rubbish, trash, refuse’ and probably the most accurate ‘church language friendly’ translation is ‘dung’ or ‘dung heap’. It’s worthy of consideration that if Paul were writing this letter today in English the equivalent would be the ‘S’ word (like shirt just a little different) or the ‘C’ word (sounds like clap). We could think- that’s shocking; would a super spiritual leader like the apostle Paul use profanity to express his point? Well he did! Such was his disregard for what produces ‘self’ confidence that he used the most ‘colourful language’ possible at the time. It’s shocking, but perhaps that was the point. Paul had reason to be confident in himself. He had more reason than most, but he also knew that ‘Christ-confidence’ is how to be effective in this life. In fact, shouldn’t those who are connected to Christ be the most confident people of all? Recently I was asked to speak to a large group who collectively were suffering from a recent trauma involving loss of life. In this room packed with people and every stage of the grief process was evident. Anger, sadness, guilt, shock, silent, denial and acceptance were all there and I was thinking, what am I doing here. I could not be self-confident in this situation however I could draw on a God-confidence and it was this higher type confidence that made all the difference. ‘Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.’ 1 Corinthians 10:12b (The Message)
Why is God-confidence so much better? Because it doesn’t rest on our frailties but rather God’s faithfulness.
Therefore, may we be those who live confident in Christ. If this little note finds you lacking self-confidence, that’s ok, choose God-confidence today.
You don’t often hear too many pastors talk on the topic of mental illness, anxiety and depression. Yet Gary Blackford tackles these topics head on with vulnerability & honesty, as he weaves his own personal story and the truth of the scripture into a powerful and challenging message.
York Street Church of Christ Ballarat
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