Mark Twain once quipped, “All you need in life is ignorance and
confidence, and success is sure.” There is a bit of truth in that
statement. When you either don’t care about failing or don’t know that
you can fail, you typically put your head down and keep plowing ahead.
is the engine that drives achievement. It pushes us toward the mark,
the goal. It is the “it factor” that distinguishes the exceptional from
and certainty. According to Merriam-Webster, confidence is “full trust;
belief in the power, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or
But where does it come from?
While it is true that
some people seem to have been born with personalities and dispositions
that exude a focused self-assurance, for most of us, our confidence has
developed over time. Abilities have been sharpened and honed. We have
been tested and challenged, and have learned to trust our abilities and
capabilities in certain areas. In fact, the challenges have strengthened
and refined both our abilities and our will to push forward. The result
is a courageous confidence that says, “I don’t have to be afraid; this
can be done.”
The professional athlete doesn’t sweat under
pressure because he’s sunk that shot, hit that ball, and made that catch
thousands of times. Chances are the Academy Award–winning actress
nurtured and developed her craft for years in relative obscurity and
developed an outlook that says, “This may be a bigger stage, but I’ve
been here before and I can do this.” The surgeon is focused and calm
under pressure because his education, training, and experience have
prepared him for that moment. In short, confidence says: “I’ve been
preparing for this very moment. I’m ready. Let’s do it.”
CONFIDENCE FROM ABOVE
followers of Christ, there is a distinctively different basis,
direction, and source of our confidence. The Bible speaks of confidence
from a vertical perspective. It is not derived from the relative
consistency of our experiences and the development of our gifts,
talents, and abilities. It doesn’t come from the strength of our
personalities or our track records of success. Likewise, it is not
diminished or damaged by inconsistency, failure, suffering, dysfunction,
or what so often appears to be the erratic, unpredictable nature of
No. Our confidence is anchored in God. He never changes. He
is never out of control. He is never taken by surprise. He never loses.
Our circumstances don’t affect God; he affects our circumstances. God
never missteps. He has no glitches. His ability to function is never
overloaded. He never breaks down or crashes. He is our proactive, loving
heavenly Father, who not only has a plan for our lives, but also has
the resources to make happen everything he intends.
confidence does not depend on what we have or what we have done. Our
confidence is in a person — our unfailing God, who shows up in every
situation, circumstance, and condition in which we find ourselves. This
causes us to be resilient, to persevere, to endure.
This kind of confidence is what the Bible calls FAITH. Biblical confidence is an enduring faith.
a relationship between the condition and strength of our faith and our
view of God. In other words, the condition of our faith is a reflection
of our view of God.
But our view of God is often eclipsed by what
appear to be insurmountable challenges and difficulties. Added to this
is the corrosive cynicism that permeates Western culture. It has become
an art form. We have made it intellectually appealing to be doubters. We
celebrate our “incisive” negative analysis of seemingly everything and
everyone, from the president of the United States to local pastors, from
pop icons to our neighbors. Bloggers, magazines, and the tidal wave of
talk shows give us a daily autopsy, pointing out what’s wrong and why we
can’t trust this person or that situation. And it affects us. A
constant diet of the downside of life lowers our sights, clouds our
perspective, and contaminates our faith.
Our faith needs to be
guarded and protected, because it is the currency of the Christian life.
The writer of the book of Hebrews says it clearly and directly: “And
without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw
near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who
seek him” (11:6). Our God confidence is no casual thing. It is key to
experiencing God’s presence and power in our lives and in the
circumstances and challenges we face.
Our journey through this
life must be viewed through the lens of God’s Word. There we see the
truth concerning who God is and how we are to face every issue and
challenge in life, including those dark, uncertain times. God is there,
and he is our confidence.
[written by Crawford W. Loritts Jr.]