Guest Post by Derek Caudill
Confidence is a virtue that I think deserves to be talked about among Christians. It seems to me that, in society, the term “confidence” is often used to mean self-confidence. “I am confident” might automatically imply, “I am confident in myself.” But this isn’t the confidence that I mean when I talk about Christian confidence.
By Christian confidence I mean confidence that makes sense; that is, confidence not in oneself, but in God. If you think about it for a little while, you’ll realize that confidence in self (or, really, in anything less than a being like the Christian God) is too weak. We can tell that we are fallen beings. Though we yearn for ideals, we are clouded, weakened, and unruly. Confidence in ourselves in this state would therefore be like a dog chasing its tail. See, trusting only ourselves is not just to trust our good aspects, but also our flaws. So total self-confidence renders us forever unable to do what our flaws prevent us from doing, including all kinds of earthly endeavors as well as entering heaven, which is a realm only for the perfect. To grow, we need help. We can’t be confident in self-confidence. We need a savior, redeemer, and helper. This leads into what exactly I do mean by the confidence that a reasonable person should have. Christian confidence is not about trusting ourselves, but about trusting a God who shares greater goodness and power with us.
St. Paul assures us straightforwardly that “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1.7, NAB). God doesn’t like wimpiness any more than the rest of us. Being timid is a miserable state of mind which hinders us from doing good and being happy. God made us to be confident, and this is why we admire confident characters and celebrities – because something in them reflects the strength and sovereignty of God and resonates with our souls, whether the person is good in other qualities or not. Of
course, everyone with a true sense of their sin and God’s purity feels unworthy of God’s love from time to time, but that’s not the same as cowardice. Our loving Father doesn’t want us to be afraid of him in any trembling, withdrawn sort of way, nor does he want us to fear anybody or anything in the world since he loves us so much and works unstoppably for our good. We ought to be robustly, radically confident! Some of you will know that the rapper “Lil’ Wayne” likes to emphasize his giftedness and uniqueness by saying that he’s not human, he’s not an earthling. This is a fun sentiment, but guess what? Christians can say something infinitely more impressive. We’re not even totally of this universe – we’re made for the supernatural. That confidence, my friends, can’t be beat.
God is all-powerful and all-loving. Therefore, if we’re his children, who or what can stop us? And without him, what could we do? We wouldn’t even exist, nor would the whole world. We depend on him not just for power and freedom, but being itself. We know from experience that we’re full of the effects of weakening influences pulling us in many directions and wearing us thin. We know that we’re not even responsible for our own births. Each of us is in some sense the product of a situation out of our control, so how could we claim to be totally confident in ourselves as if our prosperity were independent? Nonsense. All the help we get, all the opportunities we get, and the ability to respond well to these, are traced back to God, the “First Cause.” So let’s give him credit even for our free will, put our confidence in him, and then not let anything shake that confidence. This is true integrity, holiness, and power. If we have liberal fellowship with the most powerful, loving, beautiful, stable, true, and perfect being, how can we not be insanely confident? “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help” (Hebrews 4.16, NAB). Peace!
Derek Caudill is 20 years old. He lives in Northeast Georgia and converted to the Catholic faith in 2009 after serving as a non-denominational evangelist. He studied English Education and Philosophy at North Georgia College and State University for a couple years, and is now preparing to transfer to Franciscan University next Fall to complete his B.S. He hopes to get married, teach, and write. He enjoys thankfully participating in a balance of all kinds of physical, social, and mental activities for the glory of God, because that glory is found in “man fully alive.” He blogs at The Lounging Layman.