Summary: Last week I talked about the need to place our confidence in God and that we need to have a heart of confidence. This week I make the point that although we can't place our ultimate confidence in people, we can still have confidence in them. I finish with our need to persevere in confidence.
I'M CONFIDENT OF THAT (part two)
Last week I started out by asking what are you basing your confidence in. We read the story of Sennacherib king of Assyria attacking Hezekiah king of Judah. Sennacherib was certain he would defeat the smaller army of Judah. He taunted them saying their god couldn't rescue them. Well, that didn't go as planned and God not only rescued them, he annihilated the Assyrian army in the process.
Then we went to the story of David and Goliath. Goliath defied the army of God and David was incited over it. It didn't matter how big Goliath was, it didn't matter that he had been a warrior since his youth; David was willing to take him on. Not only take him on; but declare confidently that he was going to defeat him. And we know how that turned out.
When we have a heart of godly confidence we can do anything the Lord moves us to do. But when people have confidence in anything other than God they can wind up being very disappointed. But that doesn't mean we can't have any confidence in people; it depends on certain factors. Let's continue to look at the subject of confidence.
1) Confidence by way of evidence.
Prov. 31:10-11, "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value."
If you read on you will see why he has full confidence in his wife. The next verse says that she brings him good all the days of her life. She has established a good track record. She has accomplished many things and has used her God-given abilities. He has full confidence in her because of the evidence he has seen.
Does that mean he thinks she's perfect? No. Is his confidence based in the expectation that she won't make mistakes? Not at all. Having confidence doesn't come with the belief that there won't be times when things will happen outside of the norm. As noble as she is she is still human. But there are plenty of valid reasons as to why he can have confidence in her.
The same is true for our relationships with people. When we have someone in our lives with a proven track record, we tend to have confidence in them. When someone has proven themselves faithful and trustworthy we will be confident there's nothing to worry about. That's a good thing.
Paul had that kind of confidence in his friend Philemon. Philemon had a slave named Onesimus. Onesimus had run away and in his travels he came in contact with Paul and at some point he was converted. Paul knew the right thing to do was to send Onesimus back to Philemon. But he wrote a letter, asking Philemon to go easy on Onesimus since he was now a brother in Christ. Paul had confidence that Philemon would do the right thing.
Philemon 1:17-21, "So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask."
How could Paul be so confident that Philemon would do the godly thing? The Greek word for confident here is persuaded. Paul was persuaded by the evidence of Christ he had seen in Philemon. Because Paul knew his character and example he was confident he would do the right thing.
When people show themselves to have integrity or any other Christian trait, we can be confident that they will do the right thing. When people have a track record of always telling the truth, we can be confident that they won't lie when we ask them something.
Does this mean it's foolproof? No. There's always the chance that someone who typically tells the truth will lie. It's not likely; just possible. Paul knew that it was possible that Philemon would not respond favorably to his letter but he was sure his response was going to be positive. He based his confidence on the evidence that Philemon had exhibited up to that point.
Having confidence doesn't mean we don't prepare for the possibility of something not going according to how we think it will. But that shouldn't stop us from having confidence in people; especially when it's based on seeing Jesus in them. When we know someone is habitually operating in the Spirit, we will be more apt to have confidence in them.