Monday, January 28, 2013

Day Twenty-Eight: Confidence

The WORD of the Day:

"Let us the approach God's throne with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." 
--Hebrews 4:16

Let Me Give You a Lift:

I have to tell you, when I think about approaching God, "confidence" is the last thing that is on my mind.  And for good reason, really, because humility is such a key teaching of Christianity.  How can we both humble ourselves before God and approach him with confidence?

I think a helpful place to start is in the words. defines "confidence" as:
full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of person or thing.
Today, when we talk about someone having confidence, what we really mean is self-confidence. But that is not the kind of confidence being discussed by the Hebrew writer. Instead, the "confidence" we need when approaching God is confidence in Him. When we go to God for help, comfort, or counsel, we have to believe in His ability to provide whatever is best for us. And this kind of confidence does not conflict with humility at all; in fact, the two go hand in hand. That is why the apostle James said: 
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
And Jesus Himself taught:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
This belief in God is not only important in our prayers, but it is fundamental to our lives as Christians. In speaking of grace, Jesus said this:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
It is so simple, and yet so profound. Why do we have to believe in God? Because that is the only way that our requests to him are true, authentic, earnest, and righteous. Even something as basic as forgiveness is only effective if we believe God forgives.  This is not true because God is rendered incapable of forgiving by our unbelief; rather, if we do not believe we are forgiven, we could not feel the benefit of the new life that has been promised us.

What does this kind of “confidence” look like? Max Lucado once wrote Our belief in God is not blind faith. Belief is having a firm conviction something is true, not hoping it’s true.”  And Gloria Copeland put it this way: 
“You can’t stand effectively on 'blind' faith. You must have a 'knowing' faith, and that comes from believing wholeheartedly what the Word promises. You know God has spoken it and declared it to be so, and you know you can depend on that.”
In its most basic form, belief is trust that God will keep his promises. In a broad sense, it means believing the words Jesus spoke above about eternal life through Him.  But faith can also be in the smaller things. I love what Joni Erickson Tada said about faith:
“Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.”
Finding mercy, grace, and help begins with taking our first steps toward God. In confidence.

Give it a Listen:

Today's song is "I Need A Miracle" by Third Day.  The song is about reaching out to God for help in time of need.  In part, it's an encouragement that God is where you can find help.  But there is also a message here about confidence: God's help comes when we approach him and ask for it. 

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