Today I pulled up my website, hungry to write something meaningful, tapping both my fingers upon the keyboard and God’s shoulder in asking what He actually wanted me to write. I set it up a few weeks back so a bible verse is at the top of my self titled blog to remind myself that God absolutely hates pride, that the Truth of the gospel should always both physically and spiritually be above the promotion of self, the promotion of anything else. Today the bible verse read, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” -Hebrews 11:1 And I am not positive if that was there to be a simple reminder or this verse was what God was rooting for me to write about but I am going to go with it. I am going to write about it and trust He’ll make it right.
I am in love with the breakdown of this sentence, especially the cutting of the first four words. “Now faith is confidence.” One interesting way I see this is examining the heart in sin and in redemption. This is not to say that the heart does not live in redemption while also holding sin but that the heart is no longer defined by the sin it holds once it is washed. If we look at the heart as if sin was its only definition, this portion of the sentence would look like, “Good looks are confidence. My grades are confidence. My status is confidence,” or often times, the fulfillment or achievement of my desires are lacking, therefore my confidence is as well. But that is our default setting for confidence. If we feel as if who are or who we are pretending to be is accepted and approved by the world, we are confident. It is when the material and the temporary in our lives are pleasing that we find security in this fleeting confidence. But when we are treated as if we are small, or unworthy of love, or when we fail that test, or feel unseen or far too seen, that is when we lose our confidence because it is on a scale aligned with the world and our moving daily performance.
But God tells us that we so easily lose confidence because we connect our confidence to something we could so easily lose. Like an A or a position or the status of someone’s significant other or anything of this world. Because it is of this world, it can be lost. But what is of our home, of our eternity cannot be lost. So when we examine the heart in its purest form, in its most humble and submissive state after homecoming, it can be said that, “Now faith is confidence.” Now, now that we know where true life is found, now that we know our hunger can only be satisfied by the real deal, now that we know the only confidence of lasting effect and substance can be found in the Lord, we are compelled to tie our confidence heart string to our faith heart string and give up our materialistic, fleeting confidence which we have held onto for quite some time.
I listened to a podcast today with Jeremiah Jenkins explaining the way he views life. Admittingly, it is far more optimistic than I see the world but his mindset was along the lines of this- It is an honor to be apart of this world. And despite what you believe in, believe in God, believe in the universe or the big bang, whatever, despite what you believe in, here you are and you should feel honored to be here and experience the joy it is to be alive. And there are two ways to live our lives. Only two ways. We can try to swim upstream becoming exhausted constantly and fighting against what was crafted to win or we can simply be in the water, collect the driftwood, prepare ourselves a raft and choose to lay in the sunshine while the water moves us where it desires.
I enjoy that imagery. I enjoy it because how peaceful of a vision it is for a body to lay in the sun and what an anxiety producing vision it is to see a body fighting for something far too large for itself to conquer. When we dedicate the fight of our lives to the fight to win the approval of others, potentially leading to a worldly and short term confidence, we are metaphorically zipping our wet suit up and heading out into the tsunami. And there’s not going to be victory there as strong or mighty as we believe ourselves to be. There’s not going to be victory because the craving for the approval of this world is of sin and our sin is too much for us to take on alone. That’s why Someone had to take it on for us. And when He took it on for us He ultimately gave us permission to cease the restless fighting, the upstream battles we try to take on alone each day. Instead, He said forget that fight and only focus your eyes on, “the good fight for the true faith,” as we, “hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you.” (1. Tim 6:12)
Sometimes my anger grows toward my Creator as I come to the realization that my confidence will never be able to simply come from myself. If you google confidence quotes or try to seek the answer to confidence online, you will probably just come across words like, “Be yourself!” or “Simply be confident. It’s the most beautiful thing you can be.” It’s kind of like googling, “I am depressed. What do I do?” And getting the results, “Just be happy!” There is no power in these words of encouragement because there is nothing behind them. There has to be a reasoning behind confidence or it will never come alive. There is no reason to speak up unless we are aware of Jesus’ boldness. There is no reason not to hide unless we realize how unashamed Jesus was about exactly who He was. Without the backbone of the gospel, there is no reason to be confident. Truly.
I believe that is why we find the upstream swim toward confidence so exhausting, because we are attempting to find our confidence in ourselves, in what we look like, who we say we are, who we truly are, what we do, how we think, all of us. The truth is Jesus saw and sees you as reason enough for endless love, but not because of what you looked like or who you said you were or who you truly were or what you were going to do or the ways in which you thought. He saw you as reason enough for endless love not because you were worthy of it. We aren’t worthy of it. Now or ever. But He loved us because we were His, even when we ran as far as we could away. Even in total rebellion, He chose to make us free because of His love. My point in that is it was never who we were that really changed the game nor will it ever be. It is whose we are that was the game changer.
God doesn’t love you because you are lovable or good-looking or popular. He doesn’t enjoy you because you are creative. He doesn’t admire you because you got a good SAT score or got into your top college. He doesn’t look at you in awe because of your job title or because of who you are friends with. He does all these things just because we are His. Yes, we are loved specifically, individually and personally but we are not loved because of our characteristics or skills or talents. We are loved just because we are loved. And the joy in that is we don’t have to keep up with anything we were or are, we don’t have to work for affirmation or admiration because our title in Him is constant.
In the ever growing study of the hard wiring of my heart and mind, I have understood that I don’t enjoy small talk. I can do it, for a little bit but I want to get to the good stuff. It doesn’t need to be some strange and uncomfortable conversation of trying to dive deeper than the bottom of the ocean, I just like the real stuff, the human stuff, the good stuff. And my favorite moments in that good stuff is being able to break down into realness and have no fear that the person on the other side of the table has lost interest or love for me. Because the ones who open up their hearts for conversations of such kind, know whose they are, knows whose I am and don’t hold their approval of me based on the imbalance of extreme emotions. And that is the most wonderful feeling in the world- not to be loved because, fill in the blank but to simply to be loved because you are loved.
That’s the way God loves, not with circumstances or failures linked but with only His name linked to His love and if His name is constant for us, His love is as well. The way we look will never be enough for true confidence. No matter how many likes we get on a picture, or A’s we receive, or words of encouragement we are presented, none of that will bring us the fullness of confidence because confidence was not supposed to be linked to this world. It was supposed to be linked to the Lord.
So headed back to Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see,” we are reminded that faith is not who we are but it is but the hope and absolute assurance about the God and the love that we can not physically touch. And when we are sure of what is to come, when our hope is not rooted in our expectations but of what is promised, that is where genuine joy awaits us. Give up the upstream swim. Find the driftwood. Make your raft. Lay in the sun and simply be. The fight you are fighting was won long ago.
I am certain of your kindness and beauty and abundance of skills but be aware True Love does not love because of those things. He loves for no other reason than your title of His. And because of that, you are free. You are free to be who He has created you to be. You are free to speak up in boldness. You are free to not wake up in curiosity of your daily worth. You are free to not be in continual wonder of what others think as their eyes meet your body and face. You are free. You are free. You are free to be confident because you are loved. And for no other reason.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:16
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? -Psalm 27:1