Monday, March 9, 2015

The Myth of Self-Confidence

Good morning!

Prevalent in our world is this lie from Satan - - - that our confidence to handle all life throws at us comes from ourselves.  "If we will just try a little harder to overcome our obstacles, we will succeed". Any student of psychology has heard of the extension of this lie:  "self-actualization" (Maslow). Abraham Maslow popularized this notion about 60 years ago, as the pinnacle of his "hierarchy of needs".  It basically means to improve oneself to become as "perfect" as possible, with the "power that is your Self".  No wonder so many people are in despair, feeling like utter failures.

What brought this to my mind this morning was reading Psalm 27.  In this song of praise and supplication, we see David express a totally different view.

Verse 1-2:  "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?"  Elsewhere in Scripture, most notably the writings of John, God is described as Light (1 John 1:5, for example).  But, here, David is calling God Almighty his light, his salvation.  We find in 2 Samuel 21:17 that the Israelites called David "the light of Israel".  However, it is plain that David knew God was HIS light and that any light David bore was borrowed light, reflected light from Light Himself.  David did not declare here in Psalm 27 that he could rescue himself, improve himself, save himself. He acknowledges God as the giver of life and light.
In "light" of that (pardon the pun!) affirmation by David, he affirms a godly attitude toward the inevitable obstacles of life.  "Whom, then, shall I fear?"  The implied answer is: "no one", "no thing".

As king, David had to constantly be on guard against marauding armies, led by jealous kings who coveted David's kingdom.  Way back as a youth, he began to learn from God the lessons of dependency on Him.  He began to see that only God was his "stronghold".  David knew that he, in his frailty and weakness, with his disposition to sin, could not be dependable to either attain godliness or to hold on to it.  He acknowledges that God is his "stronghold".  God was holding on to David and keeping David His, in addition to providing David a place of refuge from his enemies.

What or whom do you fear?  Here are some common fears which, if not viewed in the truth of Scripture's promises, can incapacitate a person.

  • Fear of Failure (not walking worthy of one's calling in Christ, not being able to provide for one's family, etc.)
  • Fear of Illness/Accident
  • Fear of Interacting with Others (Rejection)
  • Fear of Attack from Evil People
  • Fear that Loved Ones are Lost
  • Fear of Death
Don't we so often feel attacked, bedeviled, downtrodden, discouraged by our present circumstances? And as a result, so many Americans are on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications and similar drugs, to calm or "cure" their fears.  In all of our day-to-day challenges, we Christians must fix our minds on this truth:  God is our stronghold.  The Word proclaims that "the name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe" (Proverbs 18:10).  He holds the answer to all of our problems.  The answer is to sink deeper, not into our own anxieties, but deeper into Him and His Word.

A friend of mine is fond of exploring paradoxes in Scripture.  One of these is expressed in 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 :  "when I am weak, then He is strong."  How do we become confident and fearless?  Through our dependence, our trust, in Him.  Yes, Christian, you DO bear the light within you.  However, and this is the crucial difference:  it is not FROM yourself; it is borrowed light from Light Himself. 

I love the way Paul testified to the relationship, the daily walk of the believer, as he spoke before the Aereopagus in Acts 17:28 --- "in Him we live, and move, and have our being."  We don't live in fear, or move in fear.  In Him, we can be supremely confident - - - of His love, His care, His provision.  Walk resplendent in that confidence today.

Dear Father, I am so thankful for You - - - Your loving care for me, Your orchestrating every circumstance that touches my life, even those that are extremely difficult.  I know that you allow these to produce in me new growth, new faith, new dependence on You.  For when I am weak and yielded to You, then You show Your strength in my life.  May it be so today and every day.  In Jesus' name, amen.

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