3 Surprising Effects of Finding Your Confidence in God

Though impossible to measure, my general observation is that “confidence” is at a pretty low point in the world right now. I don’t necessarily mean self-confidence, though that might also be low right now. Instead, I mean our collective confidence in those institutions and people which once held the implicit confidence of society.

Think about it with me – if you were to go into the street and begin asking people at random a question that started like this:

“Do you trust…” and then filled in the rest of that sentence with any number of things, my hypothesis is that the answer would largely be no. You could fill it in with things like “the news;” or “the government;” or even – sadly – “the church” – and the answer would be the same. It does indeed feel like in the last decade there have been a variety of reasons – some valid, and some invalid – to call almost everyone and everything into question. As a result, our confidence has been shaken. So what do you do when that happens? I suppose you could swing the pendulum to the other side and cast the constant wary eye on everyone and everything, viewing the entire world with suspicion.

Or, conversely, you could treat that erosion of confidence as a spiritual opportunity. The psalmist was asked a question of confidence in Psalm 11:

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3).

Rather than quaking with fear, the psalmist used the question as an opportunity of redirection. Here is how he answered:

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
    his eyes examine them (Ps. 11:4).

The opportunity, when confidence in everything else starts to crumble, is to find new confidence in God. The person whose confidence is firmly in the Lord of the Universe thinks differently. He acts differently. She walks differently. What what specifically characterizes a person who has true confidence in God? Here are surprising aspects to consider:

1. A willingness to apologize.

Why is it so hard to say “I’m sorry” without justification or equivocation? Surely a big part of our inability to do so is because implicit with that apology is a blow to our self-esteem. We are admitting that we were wrong. That we made a mistake. That we behaved badly. And we are doing so without excuse. If our confidence is in ourselves, then that admittance is too threatening of a hurdle to jump over. If, however, our confidence is in God, then we are free to admit when we have fallen short.

2. A desire to ask for help.

In a similar way, we find it difficult to ask for help from others because asking for help is humiliating. It is an implicit admittance that we are not smart enough, talented enough, or experienced enough to do something for ourselves. An ability to regularly and unselfconsciously ask for help is visible evidence that our confidence is in something greater than ourselves. People can think we are weak – and that’s an okay thing with our confidence is in God. Because we are weak. Very, in fact.

3. A capacity for listening to others.

Ironically, it takes a person of great assurance and confidence to listen to someone else. That’s because when someone shares something with you that is contrary or disruptive or troubling, the natural tendency is to feel threatened. And we fight back with our words. But a person whose confidence is in the Lord is no longer bound by fear. As a result, we can calmly and silently listen.

God has given us great reason to place our confidence in Him. He has shown Himself to be trustworthy time and time again. And, in these days, when so much confidence has eroded, we have an opportunity to be confident in something better:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit” (Jer. 17:7-8).

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