Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Confidence

Confidence.....the very mention of the word evokes thoughts of fearlessness, boldness, resolution, firmness, sureness, tenacity, fortitude, and certainty. This word, confidence, is what I had in my dodgeball playing days in Grand Island, New York. Often when a person speaks of confidence, he or she is talking about a confidence in their self. A confident person has faith in his or her abilities to accomplish a given task. This kind of self-confidence is not what I had as a member of my dodgeball team back "in the day", no sir, but it was confidence none the less. You see, there was a "kid" on our team known to me only as "the bear", we called him "T-Bear" for short. In 7th grade, he was already close to six feet tall and two hundred pounds, I am sure he could have grown a beard if he wanted to. He threw the ball so hard that if the ball hit the unpadded part of the gym wall it might burst from the force (I saw him do it once with my own eyes!). I had a very simple strategy in our games- hide behind T-Bear at all times. I cannot tell you how many games we won with T-Bear throwing balls at the other team. Bear actually liked me hiding behind him because I would fetch loose balls for him to gun down more opponents. I became a confident fixture behind the mighty Bear. You see, winning the game was not ever a question to me as long as T-Bear was on our side. Everyone on my team knew the power needed to win games belonged to T-Bear. As I read the Word of God, the specific words of Jesus, and am honest about all my shortcomings and failures when I try to accomplish things in my own strength, I am reminded how I can do nothing without Christ. It would have been an unwise dodgeball tactic for me to self-confidently leave the protective cover of the Bear, I would get pummeled by our opponents, no doubt. Self-confidence in life and ministry is my biggest challenge. I am so glad Jesus is straight up with us when he says to us (me)-

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. -John 15:4-5

Now, my strategy in life and ministry is simple like my strategy in dodgeball was- I hide behind Jesus!

1 comment:

Frontier Forest said...

A powerful, practical paradigm to ponder!
Pastor, I really appreciated your youthful humorous solution to victory, “I had a very simple strategy in our games- hide behind T-Bear at all times!” followed by your Pastoral pontification towards spiritual conquests today, “Now, my strategy in life and ministry is simple like my strategy in dodgeball was- I hide behind Jesus!”

All of this leads me to reflect on Paul’s confidence through primary principles and preparations for practical spiritual warfare spoken forth in Ephesians 6:10-17. I am sure we are all very familiar with the vivid word picture Paul paints for us about spiritual confidence, spiritual warfare, and the promise of Christ’s continuing support in every victory!
But Christians must put away all of the world's evil weapons. We fight our battles by “making every thought captive and obedient unto Christ.” Christ’s weapons become “divinely powerful, for the destruction of every fortress set against us!” (II Corinthians 10:4-5)
But our spiritual Confidence is only secure, when we know who we are and what we are in Christ Jesus. Humbly knowing this kind of authority gives us His Confidence! Confidence in the victory already won, confidence in our armor, confidence through prayer, and when properly used, we have confidence in the limitless powers of the SWORD of the Spirit!
We read in Ephesians 6:10,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of HIS MIGHT!” We are never strong for the sake of being strong. We are never strong in our own flesh. We are only strong in Christ. And we become stronger in Christ Jesus by understanding the simplicity of verse 10! “Being strong in the Lord and in the strength of HIS MIGHT,” simple means having a Biblical concept of who God is and knowledge of what He was done for us! Only then we can be assured of His Confidence!
Facing any enemy, while wearing His armor, we know this: “Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and you righteousness will go before you. And the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard!”
Isaiah 58:8