Self-confidence is inherent within us. It is something we were born with, a gift we have from God. But that kind of confidence can be abused—when we give into our pride. A better, more reliable source of confidence, and what I want to talk about now, is God-confidence. This is something a bit different. When we are confident in God we are not confident in our strength, rather in our weakness, so that He is made strong in us (2 Cor. 12:9-10). We could also say that a God-confidence will serve to help our self-confidence—to help us not to abuse our self-confidence.
So, with that said, how do we get this God-confidence? I want to suggest four ways: by repentance and trust, by obedience, by meditation, and by fellowship.
Repentance and trust. The first step on your way to confidence is to admit your spiritual need (admit that you are a sinner and need forgiveness); then repent of your sins (that is, turn away from your sins) and trust in God.
When I say trust in God, what this involves, first of all, is that you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins. Secondly, it means that you must receive Him into your life.
The happy result is that when He comes into your life He will give you a brand new life, with new confidence!—a confidence not in your old self but in God who reigns within you.
Now, in order to continue in this God-confidence, you must continue to abide in Jesus. This implies that you will read His Word, pray, and trust in Him every day with all your heart. Do this and He will continue to be your confidence.
Obedience. If you are careful to reverently obey God He will bless you with a promise: He will give you a strong and wonderful sense that He is keeping you safe and secure. Here is that promise from Proverbs 14:26-27: “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.”
Now if at some point doubts creep up in your heart, fears take over your life, God does not answered your prayers, and you feel that you have lost your confidence in God, do nothing more than repent. Your problem is sin. You have stopped abiding in the one that cares for you. Turn back immediately to the one who gave you confidence in the first place.
Then, when you have conformed in obedience to all the light you have, your heart will no longer condemn you, and you will again feel confident in your relationship with God.
In 1 John 3:18-22, there is a good description of how our obedience helps to give us confidence. Here is my rendition of what it says. First, as we abide in His love and are obedient to Him, we will begin to love God and others in deed and truth (v. 18). Then when we look at ourselves and see that we have loved and that our love has been of God, we will conclude to ourselves that we are of the truth and that we are truly saved (v. 19). As we continue to obey Him and reflect on what He has done for us, our heart will not condemn us, and we will have confidence toward God that we can come into His presence to ask and receive from Him whatever we want (vv. 20-22).
Meditation. So far we have seen how trusting in God is planting the seed of confidence, and how obeying Him is removing the barriers of confidence—or how it gives us a chance to grow in confidence. Now we will focus on meditation. Meditation on His Word, on who He is, and on what He has done for us, is how we water and feed our confidence in Him. It gives us understanding (Ps. 49:3) and helps us to grow deep in our love for Him—so that we will say with the Psalmist, “Oh how I love your law. It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97); “Within Your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love” (Ps. 48:9). There is much more on this subject of meditation that I will share with you in my next blog post.
Fellowship. If you have repented of your sins and trusted in God, if you have obeyed Him as much as you know how, and if you have meditated on the Word of God, but still you have not yet been confident in prayer or in your life, perhaps you are lacking fellowship. One of the great things about fellowship is that it stirs us up so that we are encouraged to love others and do good works. It makes our obedience to God and our confidence in Him more complete (Heb. 10:24, 25). No one can survive in the Christian life without fellowship. Let us never fail to meet together for worship and fellowship. We can’t be confident in God and in prayer without it.