Saturday, October 24

The Art of Confidence

[Click here for the audio version]

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewardedYou need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promisedHebrews 10:35&36

Confidence has a rich reward. Confidence always pays off.  What we need more than more education and greater knowledge, is greater boldness and courage.

Last year I walk into my Dutch class, in a very small classroom, big enough for 8 students, 1 teacher, a communal table and a flip chart. I look around the room and it was full of women, including the teacher, I was ready to learn but this could have been intimidating!

Board rooms, can be intimidating.  Awkward phone calls we know we need to make, can be intimidating.  An over-emotional friend, spouse or colleague can be intimidating. 

Some people are intimidated by the gym. We think everyone who goes to the gym is more in shape than we are, forgetting that the reason they go to the gym is the same reason you want to go – to get in shape.

Introverts are intimidated by small talk. 

  • What do you find intimidating?

We intimidate when we call that which is difficult impossible, when we create a drama over a small thing.

Intimidation is fear of what others may do to us or think of us (physically, mentally or emotionally).  We can lose confidence in the face of intimidation or fear.

We can lack confidence in parenting, in the way we look, in a new job, or because of a condemning conscience.  You find it in your self talk, I’m not sure I could do that, I’m not sure they like me.

We have 2 raging forces at work in our lives – that of insecurity and that of confidence.

All the time that intimidation or fear rather than confidence is around you’re not living the life you could live.  Your not going for the job, or going back to school, or taking up the lead of a connect group – we miss opportunities. It paralyses.

So let’s go to work on finding our confidence; overcoming fear and intimidation; using the famous duel between David and Goliath.

The story takes place in the Shefela, a series of valleys and ridges running east-west in Israel, connecting the coastal Philistine plains to the mountains occupied by Israel. The Shefela would be used by hostile armies to get up into the mountains to attack.

On this occasion the Philistine and the Israelite armies are in a lock out as they are either side of a valley, neither daring to be the first to be vulnerable by entering the valley.  They solve it with a one to one combat.

The Philistines send down Goliath, a giant of a man, a soldier of the heavy infantry. Well armoured, armed with sword and spear and trained in hand to hand combat.  To add to that intimidation, he had a loud mouth which he certainly used to add an extra dose of fear.

David had the enemy trying to intimidate, his brothers trying to intimidate him and also the king.  Yet he ran at Goliath, determined to cut the head of that intimidation!

We learn 3 things from this story that help us understand how we can grow in confidence.

In any army there are 3 units:
The cavalry – those on horseback
Heavy Infantry – heavily armoured foot soldiers 
Slingers  experts in long distance fighting.  They could turn a sling 6x/second, sling a rock at 150km/hour, creating the stopping power of a 45mm handgun.  Their accuracy?  They could shoot a bird in flight, hitting a target from 150 metres. To top it all in the Valley of Elah where the duel took place the rocks were made of barium sulphate (twice the density of normal rock).

Goliath, an expert in hand to hand combat, shouts “Come here to me.”  David, an expert in long distance combat had no plan to fight with the means that his enemy was dictating.

  1. YOUR INTIMIDATOR IS NEVER WHAT IT SEEMS.

Goliath was up against a man who really had the upper hand.  Yet he intimidated with his shouts, his taunts and his physical presence.  Your intimidator is never what it seems.

Know what your enemy is really like.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

‘Timidity’ meaning ‘being intimidated’. When intimidated we lose love, sound mind, and power.

By nature you are bold, but we let others bully us. But God comes to Timothy and says I did not give you that spirit of fear.  “For God has not given…”

Intimidation will make itself out to be right, seems correct, they’re bigger, more experienced, shout louder, their emotions are frantic, that guilt seems from God. 

Your enemy, intimidation, is a liar.  It makes out something is more than it is. It exaggerates the truth.  Goliath is a giant. But only knows one way to fight!

They will hate me, & that would be absolutely terrible, I couldn’t bare that pain. No not true, yes they may hate you (they may not!), but you are able to bare the pain.

* Someone or something cannot intimidate you unless you give it permission.

2.  YOU ALWAYS HAVE MORE OF AN UPPER HAND THAN YOU THINK.

Know who you really are.

But now, O Jacob, listen to the lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 

David in Psalm 139 describes how wonderfully we have been made, well planned, not an accident, designed for a purpose. His thoughts about you are incredible. You are uniquely awesome.

David at first glance appears to be the underdog, but from another angle was actually the victor.  From what angle are you looking from?  Are you looking at what you have or what the enemy has?

Have a root of hope in you – hope overcomes all things – it sees above all challenges.  You have a golden edge – you are unique.

However, knowing who you are is not enough on its own.  Others in the Israelite army were also slingers and could do what David did, but they did not.  In our self-confidence we can still be intimidated.

So what was David’s ultimate edge?

3.  YOUR GOD IS ALWAYS GREATER & HE IS YOUR CONFIDENCE.

Know who God really is.

Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence. 1 Corinthians 10:12 Message

Paul said he put no confidence in his flesh.  God confidence is the only real confidence, self confidence is empty.

David worshipped in the hills, He trusted God regularly with his life, with his emotions (being the outsider in the family) – He knew God.

“A man who is intimate with God is not intimidated by man.” Leonard Ravenhill

One day Peter & John were intimidated & threatened by the local courts and told to stop preaching Jesus.  The disciples prayed and were filled with boldness as the Holy Spirit filled the place. It is the boldness and confidence from God we need!

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12

Our confidence is not in our performance.  Get with God, know His presence, there is no fear there, only courage. Come boldly.

IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN EVER BE AGAINST US? Romans 8:31 

I always feel I am not good enough to do what the church needs, or what my family need, or what Lizby needs – I regular feel inadequate, BUT for one thing, I have a God-confidence and out of that I live and work.

How about you today?  Intimidation or confidence.  Your choice!