Thursday, April 6, 2017

Confidence in Christ

Chuckle: Teacher: “The law of gravity explains why we stay on the ground.” Chloe: “How did we stay on the ground before the law was passed?”
Quote: “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” --Michael O'Brien

"And because of my imprisonment, many Christians here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ" (Philippians 1:14 NLT).
The American painter, John Sargent, once painted a panel of roses that was highly praised by critics. It was a small picture, but it approached perfection. Although offered a high price for it on many occasions, Sargent refused to sell it. He considered it his best work and was very proud of it. Whenever he was deeply discouraged and doubtful of his abilities as an artist, he would look at it and remind himself, “I painted that.” Then his confidence and ability would come back to him. (Bits and Pieces, September 19, 1991, p. 9)
The dictionary defines confidence this way: "Strong belief or trust in someone or something; a belief in oneself -- self-confidence." Normally we would say that when a person loses self-confidence he or she will likely not do well in accomplishing a task or reaching a goal. But for the Christian the critical thing is not self-confidence but Christ-confidence. Do you need something today to restore your confidence as a Christian? I don't know a single believer who hasn't drawn inspiration from the experiences and writings of the apostle Paul.
The setting for our passage is Paul's imprisonment in Rome. Even in prison, Paul's attitude inspired others to have renewed confidence in their Savior and boldness in telling others about him. How you handle adversities in your life can serve to encourage, inspire, and motivate others to be faithful in their Christian service. As we gain confidence, we are much more excited about striving to reach a goal or to accomplish a task. Perhaps you can think of someone like Paul who is enduring extreme hardship but their attitude is one of joy, confidence, and determination. If so, your own confidence is likely to have been increased by their example.
Like Paul, we as Christians can have joy in the present and confidence in the future whether we live or die. He was so confident in his salvation and his ultimate prize of eternity with Christ that he said; "I'm torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be better for me, but it is better for you that I live" (Philippians 1:23-24 NLT). Wow! What a beautiful attitude of unselfishness, self-sacrifice, and confidence in his Lord was revealed by Paul.
We all need a purpose for living that goes well beyond just our own physical comfort and needs. Do you know someone who needs your encouragement and support? Do you have a well-defined purpose for you life? Are you allowing your Lord to give you the confidence and strength to fulfill that purpose? If you lack confidence, your are trusting in your own strength, wisdom, and abilities. Confidence comes from trusting Christ to give us His strength, His wisdom, and His abilities - by the power of His Spirit.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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