“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” –Hebrews 10:35

Confidence. The word alone brings so many different ideas to mind, doesn’t it? So many people and so many groups in this world are telling us to be confident, for different reasons. Most of the time these forms of “confidence” seem much closer to pride and cockiness. God also tells us to be confident. How do we have healthy confidence in God instead of hollow confidence in the world?

First, what does the world say confidence is? Confidence is being proud of who you are no matter what weight, height, skin tone, gender, ethnicity, or personality type you are. Confidence is being comfortable with your own flaws and strengths. Confidence is pursuing your passions and talents with determination. Confidence is being able to keep your cool regardless of your circumstances. Confidence is being sure of who you are and not letting anything or anyone else define you. Confidence is wearing whatever you want because you like it. Confidence is strength, power, motivation, and moxie. Confidence is independence.

We’ve all heard these definitions, and if we’re being honest, we will probably admit that we were convinced of a couple of them at one point. I know I’ve believed a few. Now I know there are some of you thinking: “Aren’t some of them true? Some of them sound really good.” Maybe they all sound really good to you. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; there are some good points to them. But if you’re like me, you have tried being all these things, and it just doesn’t work. It’s hollow.

I will explain, but let’s look at the Bible’s words on confidence first. Here are just a few of the verses you can find that speak on confidence. You’ve probably heard some of these before:

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 1:6

Christians can be confident that God will continue making us holy and more like Jesus until our last earthly day. God will never deem us “too far gone” or “close enough.” He will continue pursuing and growing us until we are made like Him.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9

I love how specific God gets when He gives us His promises. We can be confident that God will be with us wherever we go. This is our source of strength and courage. This is why we should never be afraid or discouraged: we have no reason to be. Our loving and powerful Lord, Who sent Jesus to die for us and then rise from the dead three days later, is with His children, no exceptions.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” –Hebrews 4:14

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence…” –Hebrews 4:16a

We can be confident that Jesus’ sacrifice for us has made us absolutely spotless and taken away all our sin. We can now confidently approach God our Father, knowing we have no punishment to fear. We can also be confident in our faith, knowing Who Jesus is and what He did for us is enough.

The confidence of a Christian is different than the confidence of a worldly person. The biggest difference: a Christian’s confidence is God-centered, while a worldly person’s confidence is self-centered. Unbelievers draw confidence by telling themselves how great they are. They tell themselves they don’t need anyone else and they can be self-sufficient. Christians are confident in the One Who has made them valuable and bought them at an immeasurable price. We are confident in God, Who is all we need and makes sure we never have to do it alone. Being confident in God is admitting you can’t do it alone, you aren’t all-sufficient, but God is enough, which in essence is the opposite of worldly confidence. Being confident in God is trusting, knowing, believing that God is good, always there for you, and eternally sufficient for all your needs.

Worldly confidence is hollow because deep down, we all know we cannot be good by ourselves. Godly confidence is fully satisfying because we depend on the One Who is good and makes us good. You’ll notice that worldly confidence is trying to be confident while cutting God out of the picture. No matter what, someone has to continually do something in order to “attain” this confidence (work out, work harder, climb the corporate ladder, etc.), and there is always more to do. And all this work serves as a disguise to hide the fact it is unattainable; there is no real confidence outside of God. We as Christians can have true confidence in the Lord, and when you find that, it fills your life with a fullness that satisfies every need, longing, and desire. Jesus truly is enough.

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