Episode 1. Godly Self Confidence
Now if ever I heard an oxymoron in the kingdom of God it would have to be the term, “Godly self confidence”. Hang on – if our confidence is supposed to be in Christ, how can there be such a thing as self-confidence? Either your confidence is in Christ, or your confidence is in yourself, […]
Now if ever I heard an oxymoron in the kingdom of God it would have to be the term, “Godly self confidence”. Hang on – if our confidence is supposed to be in Christ, how can there be such a thing as self-confidence? Either your confidence is in Christ, or your confidence is in yourself, your own gifts, abilities and resources. It’s one or the other, right? Not so according to my guest.
Awesome week again this week because my special guest from last week, Dr Barry Chant, is with us again this week. Barry’s just released his latest book, “Living In The Image Of God” and if you were able to join us for some or all of last week you’ll know that he’s really gifted in bringing Biblical truths to light in a way that, well … in a way that really impacts the lives that we live.
Now Barry, last week we were chatting about knowing who we are, understanding our identity in Christ because we’re made in God’s image. A quick recap, what’s that all about? Why is it important to know who we are in Christ?
Barry: Thanks Berni. It’s important to know that because we don’t know who we are then we don’t really know what we’re here for and what we have to do with our lives I guess. But knowing who we are in Christ also gives us a great sense of confidence, a great sense of stability, a great sense of assurance so we can face life confidently.
It’s more than that, it’s not just so you can face life confidently it’s also so that you just have a sense of peace about yourself and you’re not constantly full of self examination and even self recrimination. You’re saying, “my strength is in Christ, my identity is in Christ, my security is in Christ, my hope is in Christ.” It’s knowing a safe place to be I suppose is one way to put it.
Berni: Now today we’re going to look at something you’ve written about in your book called, “Godly Self Confidence”. Now if ever there was a theological oxymoron that would have to be it wouldn’t it? I mean isn’t the whole point of faith that we should have confidence, as you said, in Christ not in ourselves. So what’s this Godly self confidence thing all about?
Barry: Well when we come to Christ, to quote a well known verse of Scripture, the Bible says:
We are Gods workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for us to walk in.
Berni: Ephesians chapter 2, verse 10.
Barry: You know it, yes.
Berni: You couldn’t graduate from Barry’s class without being able to quote that one so that’s why I know it, that’s the joke.
Barry: And of course other passages say things like:
“If anyone is in Christ he’s a new creation. The old has passed, the new has come.”
So when you become a Christian something happens, you become a new person, which kind of changes everything. If you know that, if you know that you’re a new person in Christ then you have the confidence to be who you are, to act accordingly. Let me give you a very simple illustration.
Many years ago I got involved in a rather bad financial arrangement which left me holding the baby and so I had to go and confront a number of business houses and ask for time to pay it off, which we did. But I went to one place, it was a multi national company and I had to go and face this multi national company and plead for grace.
And I remember standing on the footpath outside and saying to myself a bit of godly self talk. I was saying, “Barry when you go in there you’re going to finish up eventually it’s one man on the side of a desk. You’re not going to talk to the whole company, you’re just going to talk with one man and you’ll be on your side but you’ve got the law on your side too and you can handle it.”
It was over simplifying things but it was a way of reassuring myself to say, “I can handle this, I needn’t be afraid, I needn’t be full of fear or apprehension, I can do this”. And so I marched in and demanded to see the CEO and got in his office and sat in front of him and he was very gracious and kind and we sorted it all out.
That’s kind of a bit of a trite example but that’s the sort of thing where knowing who we are in Christ, knowing that He lives within us by His Spirit, knowing the promises of God in His Word, these are the things that enable us to act with a confidence we would not have otherwise. So it’s not confidence in yourself but it’s a confidence that’s in God as yourself if that makes sense. What I mean by that is you’re not looking for someone else to help you out, you know that with God with you that you can do it yourself with God’s help. So it’s confidence as your self rather than in yourself.
Berni: What about the gifts and abilities that He’s given us, does that come into this as well?
Barry: Oh yeah, it does and different people have different gifts of course so it certainly comes into that and I suppose part of that is having the confidence to use the gifts you have and I see a lot in Bible College work. I see students come into the classes, their first semester, they’re all very shy and nervous and they’re not quite sure where they’re heading, they don’t know how to write an essay or get up and give a talk but by the end of the time you see what they’re doing then and I think of some students that have come almost illiterate but at the end of the day they’re writing good papers and they’re preaching good messages and they’re just doing so well.
And you see they’re gifts have been there but they’ve never really been motivated or been encouraged to explore those gifts and explore their potential and to draw them out and use them. You yourself are a bit of an example of that, where what you’re doing now, I don’t know whether you had imagined that before you started college.
Berni: Not in my wildest dreams.
Barry: I am just so excited to see how God has developed your life and I’m awestruck by it because one of my dreams always is that students will finish up doing a lot more than I’ve ever done and you’re an example of someone who is and I’m just excited about that. But I see it in all sorts of ways with people who, sometimes you think, ‘he’s not going to be much’ and they finish up doing extraordinary things because they learn how to be who they are and how to develop what they have. And it’s through the power of God with them they still do it, they’re still doing it.
Berni: Talk to us, I remember the catch phrase “becoming who you are”, talk to us about that because that’s a really interesting one.
Barry: Well it’s a bit like a little baby, a little baby girl who was born, the day she’s born she’s a human being. She’s got all the faculties. She’s no less human than she’s going to be in seventy years time. She’s a human being but she has to learn what it is to be a human being. And so the rest of her life she’s learning to be what she already is, to function as a human being can function. When she’s a baby not a lot baby’s can do, they’re very limited in their skills but as she grows she will learn to do things, she will learn to be who she is.
So when you become a Christian you’re a new person, you’re “born again” to use a Bible term, you’re a new creation in Christ to use the term we quoted before. But new Christians sometimes are still very shallow and very ignorant of what it is to be a Christian but they’re still nevertheless they’re genuinely children of God, genuinely born again. So the rest of their Christian life is becoming who they already are, just learning to develop their potential that’s there with them; learning godly self confidence if you like.
Berni: And for me the thing about godly self confidence, when I finally got it through my thick skull that the gifts and abilities I had – which are in certain areas and not in others, we’re all like that – when I realised that those gifts and abilities I do have are given to me by God to be used for God, that was the most incredibly liberating idea. Because now I no longer have to rely on myself, I have this confidence that God’s given me certain gifts and I’m comfortable in my skin, around those gifts. I’m comfortable also with who I’m not. I’m really comfortable that I’m not a pastoral person; I never will be a pastoral person because my gift is in these other areas.
Barry: That’s exactly it and I had to face the same thing. I started off as a full time minister expecting I would follow the normal pastoral route and I’ve done a lot of pastoral work but it hasn’t been my strength so I function much better in a teaching/writing area. But I’m thinking other things like another Tabor graduate early this month has gone off to Asia as a missionary with his wife and two teenage children.
Now this guy was a business man before he became a Christian and a good business man and he could make a lot of money if he chose to but he’s gone off to Asia to work with orphans and interesting with orphans and the elderly people at one end. He’s got a great compassion for those people and he’s going to succeed, I mean he’ll do that. He’s got the confidence that God will use him to do that and that’s what I mean, for me it’s exciting to see it but for him he’s saying I can do this which is a big thing to take your wife and kids off to Asia, teenage kids and do such a thing but he believes he can do it.
Berni: Well I got to tell you even though it’s an oxymoron it is an awesome concept, godly self confidence.
Barry: It is, yeah. For me it has been just the realisation that sometimes I’ve thought, “I should get someone else to do this” and I think, well actually I can do it. I mean Tabor Sydney started like that. I was thinking that someone else to come and start the Tabor College in Sydney and never found anybody and one day I was praying and I just thought God said, “You do it”. I thought, “Ooh actually I could”. And so the college has been going for twenty years now and it speaks for itself what happened.
Berni: God bless you, we’ll chat again tomorrow.