As humans, we all place our confidence in certain things. How we go about choosing what things we will trust and what things we won’t is another post all in itself. But something that I have noticed in my life over and over again is I have too much confidence in myself.
Many reading this will be shocked by me saying this, because many think we need to have confidence in ourselves. Today, it is often taught that we need to have a good self-esteem, or a healthy self-image, or a high view of self-worth.
All the while, I am constantly being confronted by God to place no trust in man (that includes me) and to trust in Him alone.
Today, I about came to my wits end. Pure exhaustion and lack of drive hit me and I didn’t have the ambition or strength to want to keep going. I didn’t even want the strength to keep going. I just wanted to neglect my responsibilities and sleep.
At this point, I had three choices. One, be negligent and sin against God and my wife. Two, do the task set before on the basis of faith in my own ability. Or three, recognize the truth, that I have no competence in myself and can accomplish nothing apart from Christ, and my only hope is in God to help me.
Paul knew this when he said,
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. -2 Corinthians 3:4-6
So did the Apostle Peter,
whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. -Peter 4:11
The Apostle Paul (or Peter) himself didn’t have any confidence or faith in himself to accomplish “anything.” Why should I be so foolish; or should I say prideful, to have any confidence in myself?
You see, we all have faith in something. But the question isn’t whether we have faith or not, it is whether what we are placing our faith in can fulfill what we hope it can.
The older I get the more God reminds me how incompetent I am and how dependent upon Him I really am even for the smallest things. I can’t breathe without Him, why do I find myself struggling to kill any faith in myself and place it in all in Him alone?
The truth is, self-esteem is believed at the expense of His-esteem. And as long as we continue to esteem ourselves, to that same degree we are not esteeming God. What we are guilty of in self-esteem is really self-worship. We are guilty of pride. And God hates pride. Because pride seeks to undermine God’s greatest goal, His glory. Recall to self the story of the Tower of Babel.
I am amazed at what a prideful man I am. And I am also amazed that I live in a culture where I am encouraged to have pride in myself. This idea has permeated the Christian culture and it is repugnant to God.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
God is opposed to you right now if you have confidence in yourself. And if you have confidence in yourself, you are against God right now. However, if you acknowledge the truth, that you are incompetent apart from God. Then God is attracted to you and will give you grace.
Is this not the very essence of faith and repentance? A turning away of faith in self and a turning of confidence in God.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 147:10-11:
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,in those who hope in his steadfast love.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding.6 In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths.7 Be not wise in your own eyes;ear the Lord, and turn away from evil.8 It will be healing to your fleshand refreshmentto your bones.-Proverbs 3:5-8