What’s the secret?
Why do some followers of Christ appear to exude an overwhelming confidence that is contagious? Is it spiritual pride or arrogance? Are they special in some way? Perhaps they have received a special “gift”, “calling” or “ministry” from the Lord that causes them to stand out.
I am sure that each of can think of fellow believers whose confident boldness of faith causes us to feel lacking in our own faith. We have each met men and women who seem to know the Lord in ways that we don’t. We’ve met those who share their faith in ways that make our own attempts at witnessing seem mechanical and for some of us innocuous.
Is there a special class of Christian to aspire to or are some people just “blessed” in ways the rest of us are not?
I believe the Bible clearly teaches that we are each uniquely created, gifted and called. In America we like to quote our Declaration of Independence and say, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The endowment of unalienable rights does not translate to talent, intelligence, position, wealth and the other societal or cultural factors that cause us to be separated or divided into classes. The endowment of unalienable rights also does not translate to passion, honor, character and values. This, of course, was illustrated by Jesus in Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:11-27) as well as in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
Grace has given us equal access to the Lord even though we are each different in our gifts, talents and callings. We may be used in different ways but our confidence boldness in who He is can be the same. Faith is not based on talent, nor is it based on anointing or even upon calling. Faith is based on knowledge. Faith is based on experience. Faith is based on relationship. It is our connection to Christ in faith that allows us to live with confident boldness. This confidence is not self-confidence but is found in realizing who Jesus is and who He is in each of us.
When they saw the complete assurance of Peter and John, who were obviously uneducated and untrained men, they were staggered. They recognized them as men who had been with Jesus, (Acts 4:13 Phillips)
Boldness and extroverted flamboyance are not the same thing although many times they are placed on the same level. Boldness in ministry comes from confidence in the Lord. Confidence comes from first hand knowledge and experience. Knowledge and experience come from an ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ. You will never be able to produce in a public setting what you do not possess or have not experienced alone in the place and study and prayer.
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6 NLT)
I know many believers that struggle with confidence, specifically confidence in sharing the message of Jesus Christ. Their love for Jesus is strong and their love for the people in their lives and around the world is sincere but many times expressing the love that Jesus has for the people in their lives in the form of words presents challenges.
I have also seen this far too often from the pulpit. The Word is shared but there is an evident lack of expectation that God desires to honor His Word by manifesting Himself through answered prayer, divine interruption or deliverance or through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus separated Himself from the religious elite of His day through His confident boldness in His Father. His demonstration of the power of the Lord to heal and deliver caused people to want to know Him. He taught from a place of confident boldness, a place of authority. He was confident that God’s Word was true. He was confident that God would honor that which He has declared in His Word.
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law. (Matthew 7:28-29 NLT)
My encouragement to each of us is to seek to be like Jesus in our confident boldness of faith. The New Testament model is of believers who boldly and powerfully give witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8 NLT)
This type of confident boldness cannot be manufactured by human effort. The power the scriptures speak of comes only from the Holy Spirit. The ability to witness comes from first hand knowledge and experience with Jesus.
It is easy to equate boldness of faith with the extroverted showmanship of some preachers, pastors and evangelists. Showmanship in the delivery of the gospel is not an indicator of boldness or confidence of faith. Demonstrative preaching and teaching can be done by men and women who possess great confidence of faith and by those who do not. Confident boldness of faith is based on the substance of our relationship with the Lord and our knowledge of His Word.
Your faith is not revealed by your extroverted or demonstrative declaration of faith but in your ability to trust the Lord regardless of the circumstances you find yourselves in or the adversity that comes against you. Faith stands upon the Word. Faith trusts when you do not have all of the answers. Faith stands boldly even when you are unable to produce the answer or know someone who can. Confident boldness lies upon who Jesus is, not who we are. I am always reminded of the mustard seed when I face things that assail the confidence of faith I have in Jesus.
The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea, and it would obey you! (Luke 17:6 NLT)
The size of my faith is not the determining factor in God’s willingness or ability to honor His Word. My faith can be small. It can be mustard seed sized. My faith does not change the Lord. He remains the same regardless of my faith. My faith changes how I respond to the Lord, this world and the expectation I live with. My faith changes who I choose to depend upon.
Do I live with fear? Do I live with confidence in myself? Do I live with timidity? Do I have a firm foundation? Am I covered? Am I protected? Am I dependent upon me and my abilities alone? Can the Lord truly be trusted? Am I really willing to place my trust in Him as Father?
These are questions that no one can answer for us. Every person faces questions like these and at times struggles with questions like these.
I wrote this message to encourage you in your faith. I also wrote to remind each of us that faith is a first person relationship that can only exist between ourselves and God. We can pray with other believers and pray prayers of agreement but confident boldness of faith comes from direct knowledge and experience of God and His Word.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)