Summary: Jesus must be the source of your confidence if you’re ever going to stand up and stand out for God.
Back in my teen years a co-worker at the Red Barn Fish Camp #2 in Tyro, NC introduced me to a club that he said I never wanted to be a member of if I could help it. It’s called the WSC Club. The subject came up because one of our buddies in the kitchen wanted to ask a girl out on a date, but he was scared. The choice was to go for it and ask her out or remain silent in fear of rejection. My wise co-worker said that you never want to look back at your life and find that you paid the membership dues of the WSC Club. Have you figured out what WSC stands for? The WSC Club is that collection of losers who turn around, assess the past, gloomily shake their heads, and say, “I woulda, but …, I shoulda, but …, I coulda, but …” Have you ever been in the WSC Club? An opportunity presented itself and you wanted to step up and seize it, but in the end you backed down and bailed out.
I’ve been a long time member of the WSC Club. I’m sorry to say that there have been numerous times when I bailed out on something God wanted me to do. When I was in college a professor in a developmental biology class challenged us with the ethics of combining the DNA of a chimpanzee and a human being to create a brand new life form. He said that he had the tools in his lab to make it happen, so why not? I wanted to express my firm conviction that it was wrong because mankind was created in the image of God, but of course, I didn’t. The man was an intellectual giant. He’d make intellectual minced meat of me in about 2 seconds. I kept my mouth shut. Do you know what I said to myself afterward? “I woulda …, I shoulda …, I coulda, but …”
When I was in my early 20s I had a strong desire to be in a Christian rock band. I didn’t just want to play an instrument in one. I wanted to be the front man and lead singer. One day I found a want ad in a music store posted by a Christian band seeking the very thing I wanted to do. I called the number, received a tape with songs to learn, and set an audition time. I practiced. I knew I had the ability, but the day before the audition my insecurities got the best of me and I cancelled. Now, at 42 years of age that dream has long since passed me by, but sometimes I wonder, “What if?” Then I smack myself on the head and mutter: “I woulda …, I shoulda …, I coulda, but …”
My problem was one that many Christians struggle with to various degrees: confidence or a lack thereof. I was afraid stand up and stand out. Perhaps you struggle with confidence too. I’m going to read a short list of descriptions and you decide which fits you better:
Confidence: Waiting for others to congratulate you on your accomplishments.
Lack of confidence: Extolling your own virtues as often as possible to as many people as possible.
Confidence: Doing what you believe to be right, even if others mock or criticize you for it.
Lack of confidence: Governing your behavior based on what other people think.
Confidence: Admitting your mistakes and vowing to learn from them.
Lack of confidence: Working hard to cover up mistakes and praying that you can fix the problem before anyone is the wiser.
Confidence: Being willing to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve better things.
Lack of confidence: Staying in your comfort zone, fearing failure and so avoid taking risks.
Now let me ask you: Which attitude would make you more effective not only as a human being, but as a Christian? Which attitude pleases God more? The answer to both is confidence. When Paul appointed the young man Timothy to oversee the churches as Ephesus, he apparently lacked the confidence to follow through with his assignment though God had gifted and called him to it. Paul addressed his lack of confidence:
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 2 Timothy 1:6-8
A lack of confidence can keep you from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. I guarantee you that whatever the Lord calls you to it will require faith to accomplish. Faith is risky. Only the confident will take the risk.