Most people who know me, I think, would describe me as a confident person, maybe even cocky. Today after I listened to the sermon at All Souls, Langham place, I questioned the source of that confidence.
I am a well-educated, erudite, intelligent person who knows something about most things. I had a fairly innocuous upbringing, although there were challenges in my childhood, as there inevitably are, I wasn’t beaten with a hanger, ignored by my parents or hated by my siblings. On the contrary, I learned valuable lessons on parenting from my parents, which I alluded to in my last post.
A consequence of my confidence and self-belief is that there are not many situations that overwhelm me and being a person of faith also helps with that. Recently though, I find myself struggling to cope with the many challenges thrown my way, buckling under the pressures of life, faith and future. Again, as I alluded to last week, my church family have been a great support, so much so that if it hadn’t been for friends and family, I might have been totally engulfed in these challenges.
Paul the Apostle talks about this kind of pressure in his second letter to the Corinthians. He says, ‘We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.’ This describes exactly how I feel, hard pressed on every side – lacking in health, wealth and well-being; perplexed – why has God not come to my rescue? Persecuted – it feels like I am being persecuted by my landlord, with the constant threat of homelessness.
So under this pressure, my confidence disappears and I’m a quivering wreck who cries at the drop of a hat and scurries away to lick my wounds. Then I went to church and heard Paul, speak through the sermon, about confidence. For after he spoke about being pressed on every side, he then says, ‘….God….. has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident….we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident I say,…’
Then I realise that my confidence isn’t in my ability, knowledge or strength. The only reason I’m not totally engulfed or overwhelmed is because of my confidence in Christ, in the work he did on the cross, for me and for all men, that when this journey is done we might have eternal life. Not a popular message to talk about heaven and hell, but the reality of it, if you live by faith, gives you confidence that whatever may be plaguing you in this life, will be left behind for a greater glory, because of Christ on the cross.
Nothing in this life, no money, no house, no car, can give this kind of confidence only Jesus Christ. ( I knew there was a reason I’ve had that song stuck in my head all week!) . Nothing is real, but the love that made Christ die on the cross for our sins, rise again to give us victory ( and Easter) and this is the confidence I have.
So this week I’m allowing my faith to build my confidence. If you read this and know anyone needing a confidence boost, send it to them, whether or not they are Christian (because it only takes a simple prayer to become a Christian, ‘Lord Jesus I give you my life’) and watch faith build their confidence.
‘Nothing’s real but love’ God is love, so God is real!