Summary: 4 ways that we can gain confidence from 2 Corinthians 3:1-6 (adapted from Bob Russell's book, Take Comfort, the chapter entitled The Confident Christian)
Confident, confident, dry and secure; raise your hand, raise your hand if your Sure- if only when I used that deodorant I felt confident and secure
The Christian should be a humble person. The Christian should be a confident person. How do we reconcile these two things? What does that look like in real life? We are to be confident without being cocky, self assured without being arrogant. A good athlete who does not believe in his ability will sit on the bench. An overly cautious driver who lacks confidence is a hazard on the highway. Have to have confidence to function well in life.
Self confidence is a must. Confidence enhances the use of our spiritual gifts. “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.” 2 Timothy 1:6, 7, NIV.
Confidence enhances our personal joy. It is a terrible thing to go through life being afraid of people- insecure, inhibited, always lacking confidence. Life becomes a continuous, exhausting effort to avoid embarrassment. There is a special joy that comes to people who aren’t afraid anymore. “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13, NIV.
When Paul speaks of his confidence in the Christian life, he uses the word competent 3 times. That word means, “sufficient” or “qualified.” It is the same word used in 2 Cor. 2:16 where he asked, “Who is equal to such a task?” This passage gives the answer. The Christian can be equal to the task through Christ.
Thesis: 4 ways that we can gain confidence- 2 Cor. 3:1-6
1. Resist the temptation to impress others
Vs. 1- Paul was not out to impress people, through he could have. Had impressive credentials.
In that day when people traveled to a new community, they didn’t have any way to verify a persons credibility- no telephones, no internet, no credit karma. The way to verify credibility was by bringing letters of recommendation from influential people. These would be similar to letters of recommendation people write for someone else to help them get hired for a job or admitted to a college. In the ancient world, as now, sometimes these written testimonials didn’t mean much because people would exaggerate or falsify.
A preacher was asked to write a letter of recommendation for a church member who was obnoxious. The preacher didn’t want to be dishonest, so he wrote: “When you come to know Tim Hawkins the way I know him, I’m confident you will feel about him exactly the way that I do.” Sometimes letters don’t mean much. Paul said he wasn’t concerned about what other people felt about him. That was not the source of his confidence.
If our confidence is directly related to other people’s opinions, we are going to be plagued with insecurity for 3 reasons. 1. People are fickle. One day the crowd said, “Hail, Jesus” and a few days later it was, “Nail, Jesus.”
People are often wrong. One newspaper editor ripped Abraham Lincoln apart for his Gettysburg Address, saying his remarks were inappropriate and not worth mentioning. Thomas Edison’s grade school teacher said he was stupid and would never learn. Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper whose editor said he had no creative ideas. Noah preached for 120 years and he had no converts except his family. If Noah’s confidence had been directly related to the people’s response, he would have been devastated.
People’s tastes are varied. What one person likes, the next person finds revolting. Take, for instance, preaching. One likes a preacher who bounces all over the stage. Another likes a preacher who stays. One likes a preacher who gets fired up, another likes a preacher who is calm and comforting. One likes a preacher who is dramatic, another likes a preacher who is intellectual. One likes a preacher who is emotional, another likes a preacher who is more stoic
If our sense of security too closely depends on other people’s opinions, our life is going to be miserable. We have got to determine how God has gifted us and where God wants us to walk. Then walk in that way confidently, and don’t be upset about how people feel. Remember, if we worry too much about what people think of us, we probably will be disappointed to discover how seldom they think of us at all!
2. Rejoice in the endorsement of other Christians
Vs. 2- Paul’s endorsements were the changed lives of people he had led to Jesus Christ. His record spoke for itself. Everyone could see the legitimacy of his ministry by the lives that he had won to the Lord every place he had been. We evaluate a school by its students. We evaluate a company by its products. We evaluate a church and a ministry by the people who come to know the Lord through its influence. God’s people are open letters to their community. Many people will not read the Bible and will not listen to Christian broadcast, but they will read our lives and carefully observe whether the church and Jesus Christ are having a positive or negative effect.