(August 6, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage renewed confidence and not quitting…
Confidence – typical dictionary definition:
- Quality or state of being certain;
- Feeling or consciousness of one’s powers;
- Faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.
How we yearn for abundant confidence when challenged to do something new, especially for the Lord and in church life. And how we can feel so disappointed when things don’t work out, or we feel – even wrongly believe that we’ve missed it, we’ve failed – and unfortunately are not aware of, do not discover what we have achieved because we were determined to be faithful no matter what price we had to pay.
The reality is that in our limitation as humans we’re unable to visage the ultimate bigger picture’s ongoing and end results. We’ll never know all we’ve achieved when we even willingly offer a mere glass of water in Jesus’ name… but as the Message Bible says, ‘Count on it that God will notice’ (Mark 9:41).
The old saying that one never knows where the ripple caused when we throw a pebble in a pond ends up!
The reality is that we all strike disappointment from time to time – it’s part of the journey we call life! And, things do go wrong in life and unfortunately we can often feel we’ve failed and wrongly blame ourselves for failing (see Reachout article this month by GodReports’ Mark Ellis, link below).
Life’s three ‘Ds’ and the Christian’s three ‘Ps’
The real truth is that just because we fail it doesn’t mean we’re failures!
Life is life and three facts of life – disappointments, discouragements, doubts – can hit anyone at any time, even Christians who have walked with the Lord for years, even moved powerfully in the Spirit. In fact ‘ordinary everyday Christians’ never mind those in responsible ministry positions can get slammed by any of these three ‘Ds’ unthinking and caring, insensitive people – even in a Sunday church meeting!
And then there’s our archenemy, Satan! He just has to stick his finger in the pie too! He delights to throw us, to put us off, to down us – yet another ‘D’!
No wonder in John 8:44 Jesus not only called the devil a murderer (anthropoktonos – slayer) but a liar (pseustos – falsifier).
If we foolishly believe Satan’s false accusations that he whispers in the ear of our heart about us and our ability to serve Jesus, then he can so easily murder our humble endeavours let alone achievements major and minor!
It’s good to realise that we’re not alone in such experiences. Consequently we all need encouraging reminders from those thoughtful caring friends who carry us on their heart – and to know scriptures we can grasp in our own hearts.
Peter was aware fellow Christians have their moments… he wrote in 1 Peter 1:6 (NLT), ‘So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.’
Even the ever confident Paul had his life moments when things were against him! Yet despite his adverse experiences he gave every servant of Jesus this great encouragement and helpful advice: ‘Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting your God know your concerns’ (Philippians 4:6 Mge) – the Christian’s three ‘Ps’ that help us be faithful, confident and effective.
In verse of the previous chapter, verse 12 GNB, Paul declared the need to press forward despite whatever was going down – ‘I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize …’
And in chapter 3, verses 14-17 Mge, the apostle shares other encouragements: ‘I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal.’
In all of life, we need to be on the right track, stick to our goal, our destiny, our God-given vision and keep pressing forward. As Christians we are especially called to the goal of the greatest commission of all – faithfully serving our master, Jesus, despite every disappointment, discouragement, doubt and downer that comes along!
Be encouraged to believe in yourself and press on with a ‘D’ of a different kind – determination! Determined to the end … expecting that warm exclamation of delight from the one who set the greatest example of all in pressing onward to win for us the greatest prize of all – full salvation!
And what a homecoming greeting that’ll be – ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! … Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21).
Be confident and don’t give up!
In order to press on toward the goal Jesus has set of us, to make the best of it, to be effective and achieve much (whether or not we can currently see what’s actually been achieved already) it’s so important that we hang in there and don’t give up.
Interestingly his morning we found a dodger in our mailbox, an invitation to a religious sect’s convention entitled DON’T GIVE UP! What good reasons do you have not to give up hope? Learn the answers from the Bible…
Naturally we’re not going along – we already know what the Bible says about not giving up… we strongly embrace a definite, positive hope in Jesus that we’ll never give up!
Our confidence is soundly founded in Jesus, God’s word and the anointing of the Holy Spirit within us – the all-powerful one given us by God himself (1 Thes, 4:8)!
To hear the Lord’s joyous ‘Well done!’ it’s important we all maintain our confidence in the Lord – and in ourselves!
Confidence is mentioned several times in both old and new testaments. Now we’re warned not to be overconfident through foolish self-opinionated importance (1 Corinthians 10:12Mge) but we can derive great confidence that we need from trusting God and his word!
Be confident – bold in God, for God!
Different Greek words have been translated ‘confidence’ in different versions but they all indicate great boldness, trust, assurance... such as in these –
- 2 Corinthians 3:4, ‘Such confidence we have through Christ before God.’
- 1 John 5:14, ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.’
- Hebrews10:35, ‘Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.’
- Hebrews13:6, ‘So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”’
In all that we’ve shared above about not letting go, not giving up even when we can’t see what’s really been achieved, Hebrews 11:1NLT is a great scripture to hang onto! ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’
Let’s all make a mental note of it – and be determined not to ever give up!
(Scripture emphases ours) Links: Mark Ellis’s https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/08/06/discouraged-missionary-died-wrongly-thinking-he-was-a-failure + http://www.ourancestry.org/William_Leslie_Africa.htm + Maureen McQuillan’s https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/08/08/not-home-yet-work-still-to-be-done/ + Tim Edwards’ https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/08/06/so-be-quiet/