I can see my young self so clearly…walking to the board with my new pink and blue glasses. It is third grade, and Miss Melton is teaching us to multiply. No one else knows the answer. But, me? I know it. I (almost) march to the board, proudly writing the correct answer, basking in Miss Melton’s accolades.
Suddenly, I know…I can do the work IF I want to. I am capable.
So, I begin trying a bit harder in school. And like a duck to water, I become a learner. (In fact, my Strengths Finder lists my greatest strength as”Learner.”) Something about learning and knowing generates a new self-confidence in third-grade Sarah. She’s chubby. She’s teased about it. She recently did a forward roll in gym class and ripped her hunter green corduroy pants straight up the crack and had to wear her jacket tied around her waist for the rest of the day. But, still…she’s smart.
And I carry “smart” through middle school, high school, and college. I am not the prettiest; I am not the skinniest. I am not the anything-est. BUT. In most cases, I am one of the smartest. I set my sights on valedictorian and do not give up until I cross the graduation stage. I set my sights on top scholar at the School of Journalism at WVU, and by golly – DONE.
From this, confidence grows, branching and blooming in all endeavors. I take on problems with books and (later) Google. Jesus. Faith. Marriage. Childbirth. Child rearing. Weight loss. I read all about it. I am sure of myself. Give me a task, and I know I can do it – or at least learn to.
Parts of that girl remain in me. Thankfully, she’s lost her need to be the brightest bulb in the room and the arrogance that accompanied it.
In some areas of life I am still what culture would define as confident. In other areas? Not so much. Learning is now my hobby, not my measuring stick. I love it just as much, but the pull and motive are much different.
How did I lose this “confidence”? What even is confidence? Where does confidence come from? I ponder these ideas as I study Hebrews because it keeps coming up. The author is writing to a group of “newer” Jewish converts. The audience is well-versed in all things Jewish, temple, and Old Testament, but the idea of a Messiah named Jesus is new to them. They grapple with relying on the old when there’s a new way. So, the writer of Hebrews keeps reminding them…Jesus is better and above the rituals, the angels, Moses, Abraham, etc.
The author mentions having this confidence in at least six verses…
Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear, what can man do to me?”
See? They – we – need to hold fast to this confidence – the confidence with which we originally answered Jesus when he called us to him. That confidence we felt when he placed a call on our life to follow him no matter the cost. A confidence that spurs us toward his throne of grace and has great reward. A confidence in what we do not see, saying boldly and surely: I will not fear.
Wow. What a word. It seems our relationship with Jesus hinges here, huh?
It’s important for the audience – for us – to place full confidence in Jesus and nothing else. Not brains or beauty. Not wealth or wisdom. Not others or offices. Nothing but Jesus.
Nothing but…a certainty and assurance of one’s relationship with God, a sense of boldness that is dependent on a realization of one’s acceptance by God, and a conviction that one’s destiny is secure in God. (from biblestudytools.com)
Sister, what if we lived fully confident of our Jesus? Assured of our relationship with him with a sense of BOLDNESS that can only come from knowing deep, deep down that we are accepted and loved by Him. With conviction that our futures are secure in Him.
What would THAT look like? To live with God-confidence, not self-confidence?
I can’t imagine. I am so conditioned to place my confidence in myself and in books and learning that I often struggle to let go and let God. To say….I can NOT do this, Lord. You’ll have to do it through me. And even more than that, Lord? I confidently believe you can and will.
It’s new for me this kind of confidence. But I pray for you and for me that we get it. That we listen to the author of Hebrews and hold fast to our confidence in Him.
Confidently and with Love,