We are now in week two of our 60-day Spiritual Growth Challenge on how to RISE ABOVE the daily grind. Last week we focused on making the commitment to grow spiritually over the course of the next 60 days. This week we’ll focus on the first of nine “faith levers” that, when applied, will lift our living, and our faith, to a higher level. Let’s dive in and look at the first faith lever: CONFIDENCE.
Being confident in Christ Jesus and the fact that He was always at work in his life was a faith lever that Paul exercised daily. Paul knew and had total confidence that God was for him and at work in him. It changed how he lived his life. For Paul, being confident was really the practice of placing Jesus at the center of his thoughts, affections, and focus – every day. We can have the same confidence Paul had, knowing that Jesus is always at work in us too. The key verse here is Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Paul was telling his friends at Philippi to have great faith – every day – realizing that each new day was a new opportunity for God to work in them, for them and through them. We should have this mindset as well.
What does it mean to BE CONFIDENT?
The dictionary’s definition of confidence is “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust; the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.” There are articles upon articles on what it means to be confident… 10 steps to be more confident, 12 characteristics of this and 6 keys to that. Paul, however, shows us a different way.
Paul had much to worry about. He was in prison and his life was on the line. He knew he could be executed at any time, and he eventually was. Yet through it all he was confident in Christ. This confidence gave him a certainty that regardless of the ambiguity and chaos that was all around him, He could still know that Jesus was at work in his life. Telling his followers and friends to be confident was telling them that this was a life principle he lived by and a faith lever he grew by. Essentially he was saying, “I RISE ABOVE it all by placing my confidence in Jesus Christ and reminding myself every day that He is working in my life, in my prison, in my challenges, and even in my blessings.”
The question is, are we acknowledging His work in us and cooperating with what He wants to do for us? Are we approaching each day with Christ with the knowledge and confidence that He is at work in us to strengthen and build us?
Here are 5 ways to be CONFIDENT in all circumstances:
1: Remember Your Purpose
- In the Army, the MISSION is #1. Nothing comes before the mission at hand. It should be the same for us as well! What is our mission? Our mission is to become more and more like Jesus Christ and to obey Him completely. In order for us to become more like Him, we need to be supremely confident that God is at work in us to make us more like Him.
- Romans 8:28-29; Galatians 5:22,23; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:6
- Every day we need to acknowledge that God is at work in our hearts and lives. Pray daily, “Lord, make me like you. I want to cooperate by being obedient and submissive to you. I desire for you to accomplish your will in me and through me. I am your servant… use me and make me useable.”
- Remembering our purpose lifts us to a higher level. It lifts us above our prisons and even our perceived successes. It dials us in to what is really vital: becoming the man or woman that Jesus has called us to be. So be confident in your God-given purpose! In return, that purpose will give you confidence knowing that God is always working in you and for you.
2: Remember Your Preparation
- In the Army, it is paramount that soldiers remember and trust their training. We need to do the same. If you do your part there is no question God will do His part. But we need to understand that it is a process – faith development, growth, maturity. We need to learn, train, and prepare.
- God is the master of His part while we are sometimes a disaster with ours. We need to be always aiming to improve and never give up. We may sometimes take three steps forward and two steps back, but we need to never stop seeking to get better and grow stronger and become more like Him.
- Our training objectives are the 12 Faith Commitments we discussed last week. Those 12 commitments are disciplines we need to establish and regularly practice. [Visit bcachurch.com/rise-above for a refresher on the 12 Faith Commitments.]
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Timothy 4:7-8
- Be confident in your training and preparation; these are the disciplines God has given us to grow in our faith. Our training will give us the confidence to be sure that we are prepared, because we put in the time and effort.
3: Remember Your Principles
- Principles are fundamental truths or propositions that serve as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior, or for a chain of reasoning. We should make scripture one of the principles by which we live, make decisions, spend our money, love our family etc.
- 2 Timothy 3:16
- The United States Military Academy at West Point has a creed that it adheres to: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” Army Rangers also have a creed they stick to. I won’t list it here, but what’s important is that they have a creed, a set of principles, they adhere to.
- What are the principles that guide your life? Each year I walk with a group of guys I call my Pacesetters through the principles that guide my life, and I challenge them to write out principles for their own lives.
- Paul had nine principles he lived by (our nine “faith levers”) and we will be studying each of them. May they become our principles as we seek to RISE ABOVE the ordinary and seek to live godly lives for the glory of Jesus Christ.
- Find and build confidence and faith through the study of God’s Word. As we devote ourselves to God’s Word and live by the principles of scripture, we will find our faith and spiritual confidence growing.
4: Remember Your Partnerships
- The Army is all about teamwork and the team. Being able to depend on and partner with others is essential; it is literally a matter of life and death. You need to be able to have confidence in the soldier to your right and left. Having confidence in your fellow soldier is vital.
- In Phil. 1:6, when Paul says, “he began a good work in you…”, he is referring to his most beloved friends and his partners in the faith, the church in Philippi.
- Look at Phil. 1:3-5 and 7-8:
- Paul appreciated their partnership with him (most beloved church that stood with him).
- Throughout his writings he often encouraged his churches to establish strong community (1 Thessalonians. 5:11; Hebrews 10:25; Psalm 113:1; Ecclesiastes 4:12).
- Remember, a cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
- Paul’s prayer for them in Chapter 1 verses 9-11 is not only a beautiful prayer, but a beautiful picture of his love for them and his devotion to them, just as they loved and were devoted to him. There was a partnership there. His prayer for them was all about them growing. God help us grow in:
- Love (1 Cor. 13).
- Knowledge (Eph. 1:17).
- Discernment (2 Cor. 5:9, 10).
- Purity (1 Peter 1:15, 16).
- Righteousness (Gal. 5:22, 23).
- Who are our partners in the faith? Our church? Our LifeGroup? We need folks in our lives who will encourage spiritual growth in us. It builds our confidence to know there are godly people to our right and left who have our backs. We are here to encourage each other in our faith.
5: Remember His Promises
- The ending phrase of Phil. 1:6 “until the day of Christ Jesus” alludes to our blessed hope. One day we will live forever with Him in Heaven.
- May I encourage you to think more often about Heaven? There is something special about keeping our eyes on the prize. This life is not the reward, Heaven is. It will be more perfect, blessed, and exhilarating than we could ever imagine.
- Keeping our eyes on Heaven helps us maximize our days and life on Earth. It gives us confidence no matter what comes our way because we know how the book ends.
So today I challenge you to commit yourself to Christ and commit yourself to grow in Him on a daily basis. BE CONFIDENT that God is at work in you and that there is a purpose for your life.