C O N F I D E N C E
Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. - Hebrews 10 NRSV (Click for full chapter)
“Do not abandon that confidence of yours.” How many times have I heard similar phrases from my loved-ones and mentors? If you’re like me, confidence is easy in the beginning when your dreams are just ideas. I can have a lot of confidence in an idea, but when those ideas start to turn into realities and things don’t go as smoothly as I imagined, my confidence in the idea and in myself quickly wanes. It seems the audience in the book of Hebrews had the same problem.
When they first came to faith, enduring struggle wasn’t a burden and it seemed easy to stand in solidarity with their neighbors who were struggling too, but the author wouldn’t be writing to them if things had stayed that way. The book of Hebrews seems like one long pep-talk from a pastor trying to get his or her community back on track, to remind them why they’re here in the first place. It’s a pep-talk that we all need at one time or another in our lives, and if we’re people of faith, what we really need to be reminded of is that our confidence and hope are not meant to be built upon our human abilities. Our bodies will fail us, other people will let us down, the wifi will crash at the most inconvenient moment, and nature will thwart of our best laid plans. We can’t build the foundation of our confidence on these temporary, fallible things, and life will become a lot less painful when we can accept that. The good news though is that there is someone greater than us worth placing our confidence in, someone who overcame even death out of love for us and this fallible world we live in. That person is Jesus, and his profound love truly makes the impossible possible.
So our dreams and goals- if they’re grounded in what is good for ourselves, others, and our
world- will not be accomplished because we’re super amazing and have massive confidence in own abilities, but because we placed our confidence in The One who is greater than we can even imagine and because we humbled ourselves enough to let the Spirit work through us. A speaker I once heard put it this way, “It's not about how I'm going to do it, or how we're going to do it. It's about how God's going to do it through, with, and despite of us.”
So when we stop chasing that elusive super self-confidence that every shampoo or car commercial tells us we should have, we can rest instead in the confidence that The One who created the world is working all things for good. When you have confidence in that, then you can experience all those things we humans really want and need: peace, hope, love, freedom, and so much more.