Nathan sits staring at the phone. With sweaty palms, he has already dialed the first six digits of her number eleven times. Each time he hangs up, goes to the mirror, and rehearses his introductory remarks. He knows she asked her friends to ask his friends to ask him to call her, but still it seems so “risky.” If only he had the nerve to call and ask her out.
Emily has the resume and qualifications to secure a much better job than the one she is currently in. Yet every time she reviews a new position she begins to imagine the more qualified people who must be applying for this job, becomes intimidated, and decides to wait for something that is a “better fit.”
Jerry has never struggled with a lack of confidence a day in his life. Actually, his lack of appropriate inhibition has gotten him into trouble on more than one occasion. Risks are no big deal. He enjoys the thrill. Jerry assumes that if something goes awry he is smart enough, articulate enough, athletic enough, or well-connected enough to get himself out of it.
Nathan, Emily, and Jerry’s struggles appear different: social awkwardness, professional reticence, and flamboyant pride. They vary in ages, gender, and have different roles in life. Yet each needs to understand biblical confidence. In each case an excessive focus on self (either in deprecation or aggrandizement) contributes to a dysfunctional approach to life. Their solution to distorted confidence will involve a shift in focus from self to Christ.
Defining “Biblical Confidence”
Biblical confidence is the demeanor that exhibits a positive expectation that God will enable us to accomplish any good work He has calls for us to do. This demeanor results in an increasingly shorter period of hesitation and level of anxiety when attempting a task; and a greater degree of peace and fulfillment while planning, carrying out, and evaluating a task. After the task is complete, biblical confidence reduces the degree of pressure to repeat or exceed the accomplishment and the temptation to pride.
This chapter focuses on how to develop this demeanor in a Christ-centered fashion. Your goal in reading the rest of the chapter is to identify beliefs, fears, values, expectations, and interpretations of life which prevent you from experiencing biblical confidence. Questions are provided at the end of the chapter to assist you in reflecting on the material and gaining personal insight into your struggle with confidence.
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