The mantra of the world is all about building confidence: “You are enough,” “You can do whatever you set your mind to,” “You can manifest your own destiny,” “You are worthy & entitled.” But this pursuit of self-confidence is like building a house on quicksand – it won’t be long-lasting or stand up under the weight of reality. It’s bound to crumble. But it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have any confidence at all. The problem with confidence is when it’s misdirected and built on the wrong foundation.
The gospel, as it always does, flips the world’s values on their head. God’s redemptive purposes give us a very different perspective. His Word teaches that we are weak and He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). We are vessels of clay, and the power comes from Him (2 Corinthians 4:7). Without God’s grace in Christ, we are rebellious and dead in sin, deserving only of judgment. We must abide in Christ, for apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:1-11). Our sufficiency is from God (2 Corinthians 3:4-6), and it is He who equips and enables us. Because God created and redeemed us, our lives belong to Him and we exist for His glory, not to build up our own kingdom (Ephesians 2:1-10; Colossians 3:1-4; Hebrews 12:28-29).
So then, if we are weak and dependent, what do we do with this idea of confidence? Does it mean that we must cower through life in shame and fear? Not even close!
As followers of Christ, our confidence has a different foundation than the world offers. Our confidence is rooted in the grace of God, the redemption and righteousness provided by Christ, and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to teach and change us. Most importantly, our confidence is marked by humility – knowing that we are sinners in need of a Savior and fragile vessels in need of a greater power. We recognize and surrender to the reality that our lives belong to God, and that He will accomplish His purposes in and through us. God’s forgiveness covers our shame, and His presence and strength calm our fear. Confidence does not have to be synonymous with arrogance. We can walk with God with boldness AND humble dependence.