“And now, little children, abide in him, that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” I John 2:28
Do you remember that feeling that came over you when the schoolteacher would call upon you to give an answer publically? Fear would grip your heart as you began to choke. Did you know the answer? Well, if you had done your homework and studied, as you should, the answer came easily, but if you were slacking in your studies you could only venture a guess and hope for the best. Either way, nerves probably tried to get the best of you.
Confidence before the returning Lord will be similar. When he returns and we stand before him we will all be awe struck, but those who have made Him their abode here on earth will be able to stand confidently. Those who have wasted their “study time” will be weak-kneed and struggling to give an account.
Confidence is built through knowledge, experience and familiarity. That is why we are instructed to abide in him. The more we are with him, the more he is involved in our lives, and the more we apply his Word, the more confident we will become. God is trying to raise confident children.
This isn’t just bravery or cockiness; it is a calmness of soul. It is a secure knowledge that we are in the right place and doing the right thing. Confidence brings us into a stronger relationship and an abiding peace. It gives us stance. It gives us influence. It makes us more usable. It is a Christ-like characteristic.
Are you abiding or slacking? If he came today would you be ready to give an answer?
“Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” I John 3:21
My children know that I love them. They have no problem being themselves around me. The love we share holds no darkness or fear. It is open and free. We know our individual quirks and yet those do not deter or determine our love.
Here in chapter three of I John is an honest contrast of open love with no condemnation (guilt), as opposed to love with conditions and darkness, which results in evil, hatred and murder. The chapter calls on us to evaluate our love toward others. We need to be searching our hearts and our motives to weed out negative attitudes that will result in unloving actions. We need to be honest with ourselves and with God about hurts in our lives that cause us to hold grudges or withhold love from our brethren or family members. God knows our hearts. There is no reason or place for pretence in love.
If our hearts are free from guilt in our love toward others we can have confidence toward God. It literally means boldness. We can come boldly to the throne when we need help. It is interesting to note that the way we treat others is directly proportionate to the type of relationship we have with our Lord. Truly, we cannot genuinely love God unless we also love his children.
As a child of God, do you believe solidly in his love for you? Are you free and guiltless in your love for others? Are you harbouring hurts and grudges? Are you open and honest? Or, are you false and two-faced? Does your heart condemn you?
“…and this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us…” I John 5:14
The rendering in this verse means boldness; the solid assurance of entrance or acceptance. We can come boldly. But the focus here is on where that confidence lies. Like when a child says, “My daddy said…”, or “My mommy said…” He is placing his confidence in another person, not in himself.
The previous devotions on I John 2:28 & 3:21 based confidence on our own actions. The actions were described as justification for our boldness/confidence. But here the confidence is based solely “in Him”. The actions of God, his love, his faithfulness, his sacrifice, all go together to give us confidence that He will perform what He has promised. He will keep His word. He will hear us because He loves us.
He wants us to have confidence in Him; so, by His actions He plants that trust and proves Himself worthy. Not because He has to, but because it is His character. We then, can have confidence in that character. He will hear us, of that we can be confident, because He has promised to do so. He said so! He does love us, we can rest assured and confident in that, because He said so.
Like the children’s song, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” Our confidence in His love, provision and care are all based on His ability alone. It is faith in action and it brings forth the confidence in prayer to believe that as I pray, all of my prayers will be answered by a limitless Power who grants my requests. I can pray and leave the rest to Him knowing confidently that He is working on my behalf.
Are you this confident in the Lord? Are you this bold? Are you confident enough in prayer to truly believe that you can ask anything according to his will and He will answer?
“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.” Proverbs 25:19
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8) This time, the word confidence means trust or security.
Ever have a friend let you down? Ever pin your hopes on someone and have them be dashed? The writer of Proverbs describes it as the pain associated with toothache or a sprained ankle. There just is no relief. You are always reminded of the hurt every time pressure is applied.
It’s not that we should never trust others, but that our ultimate trust must be in God, or else, when others do let us down, (and we all have failed in this area at some time in our lives), we will be left without strength. We will feel the pain of a disappointment.
Alternately, trusting God, while working with men, means that we can rest and be confident in God’s sovereignty in all circumstances and avoid letting the failures of men cause us to be resentful and mistrusting. We will know that our trust in Christ is never misplaced and when men fail, our confidence in Christ will override the hurt.
Wisdom also dictates that we would choose carefully those whom we would trust. It is foolish to keep putting our trust and hopes in those who cannot be a support or who have proved to be unfaithful.
Have you felt the pain of a less than trustworthy friend? Is your confidence based in people or in God?
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” Hebrews 10:35
We’re back to that boldness and openness. Hebrews 10 is a discussion on the changes from the law to grace. It establishes the ”better-ness” of the new covenant and comes to verse 34 with the brethren knowing that they “have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” So, verse 35 is an admonition to not let life’s circumstances cause them to waver from that knowledge.
Life can get long and tedious. The obstacles and challenges of life often wear us down, but the writer of Hebrews encourages us to not throw away our faith or hope. He says to stand in our confidence, our assured boldness and hope in Christ.
Because? It holds reward. Great recompense of reward. Like a payment of wages, we will be rewarded for our utter confidence in God and in his Word. Isn’t that encouraging? There is a final eternal reward for those who do not throw in the towel. For those who know that the reward is there for faithfulness.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 This is the promise of God. He is doing a work. We need to allow Him time to do so. According to this verse…it may take some time! Some of us might be hard to mould, but He is confident that we are worth the effort!
Have you been tempted to throw it all away? To cast aside your confidence? Hold on a little longer…it will be worth it in the end. Persevere, dear saint.