The Complications of Confidence

Facebook posts. "13.1" bumper stickers.

Annual Christmas letters.

Honor Rolls and Dean's Lists.

Salaries.

Prime zip codes.

The list could continue on and on; this is merely a sampling of things that can complicate our confidence.   Do you relate?  After a winter of sedentary hibernation, I can think pretty poorly of myself when I see one of those half-marathon stickers on a car.  Or, when we're struggling at home with basic academic concepts, I can be shaken when others are reveling in their high GPAs.  Why can't we keep up with the Joneses?  Will I ever be able to do what she does?

This kind of thinking is bound to be prevalent in the world around us.  In fact, the world thrives on comparing us with others; this is the foundation of advertising!  Yet, I know this is prevalent in the church too.  We live in this world--even if we're not of it--and we can quickly become lured away by this kind of thinking.

Our flesh wants to check off the requirements, do the work ourselves and accomplish what needs to be done.  We are stopped short when we read this:

For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  Ephesians 2: 8-9

What?  This isn't about what I'm contributing?  This isn't about ME and what I'm doing?

For some of us, this may seem like Christianity 101, but I challenge you to consider whether or not you are possibly falling prey to worldly confidence as opposed to godly confidence.  Do you compare yourself to others?  Are you finding pride to be prevalent?  Is your focus more on yourself than on Jesus?  Is praise from man more desired than praise from God?

Because of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf and His resurrection and victory over death, we can have perfect and complete confidence.  It is HIS perfect accomplishment that gives us beautiful godly confidence.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5: 21

This kind of truth, this kind of confidence, does not fade away with time.  It is not shaken because of difficult circumstances.  It is not up to me and my abilities.  God has given us His righteousness.  This is who we are--righteous--because of Jesus' work on the cross.

Can you be confident because of Jesus?

Will your parenting reflect this or will you waffle in training your children?

Will my walk with Christ show this or will I spin my wheels because I'm just not quite sure God, the giver of all good gifts, will take care of my finances, will give me victory over bitterness or will conquer my fears?

Let's boldly walk out in this confidence that comes from knowing that God is our loving Father and Christ is our perfect righteousness.

Love, Wendy

(This post was inspired by a wonderful sermon that you can listen to right here.)

 

 

 

Want to Hear How Great God is????

Not sure what I'd be blogging about this morning, I prayed for clarity.  So many ideas were bouncing around in my head, but nothing was really standing out.  Would it be something about my baby attending Kindergarten today?  What about keeping anxiety at bay as I prayed for a friend in surgery?  Not knowing what direction to take, I just prayed that God would give me something to write that would encourage others. I've been meditating on various attributes of God each week.  This week I've been focusing on God's greatness.  You can take any attribute of God, such as lovingkindness or powerful, and multiply that to infinity and that's how I envision God's greatness.  He's not just powerful like other people are powerful, His power is GREAT.  And, in this meditation of God's greatness, I've asked to understand Him more.  Not only do I want to read the Psalms or other books of the Bible and hear about His greatness (although that is a tremendous thing to do!), but I want to know His greatness.  I want to believe God is great with all my heart.

God decided to show me His greatness in full force this morning when I received miraculous news about my friend's surgery.  This isn't the first miracle God has done,  and surely won't be the last, but when it happens and it defies modern medicine and even common sense, you are left with your jaw hanging open and no natural answers at all.  Why did God perform this miracle?  Because He is GREAT.

Because He could!

Because He is kind!

Because He is merciful!

To receive glory!

To remind me that He really is with us and will never leave or forsake us.

There are too many possible reasons that God performed this miracle.  But, I know this...He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or even think.  That's how great God is!

When you see the work of God, remember it.  Dwell on it.  Bring it up in conversation and in prayer often.  As we "raise our Ebenezers", as we remember the mighty works of our great God, we will grow in belief, faith, peace and joy.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."

1 Samuel 7: 12

God delivered Israel from danger and they responded with setting up a memorial stone so they could remember this kindness and be strengthened by it in the future.  If I dwell on the mighty miracles of God, both in the distant past and in present day, then my fears will dissipate and peace will take its place.  Of course, joy will follow and praises to our great God will ensue!

May we live our lives confident in the greatness of God!  Are you facing something that looks impossible?  A broken marriage?  A prodigal child? A trial of another sort?   God promises you that nothing is impossible for Him.  He is great and greater than anything or anyone.

Praise God!

Love, Wendy

 

 

 

 

Jealous Much?

It's definitely not by accident that our pastor had been preaching on envy/jealousy for three weeks, our women's Bible study lesson last week was on "Taming the Green-Eyed Monster" and our guest pastor's focus this week was on God as Jealous.  If you weren't tracking before, this isn't something you could miss!  So, as I enjoyed a bike ride on Sunday evening, I began asking God what He wants to show me about jealousy...both my sinful kind and His perfect kind. As the Israelites were looking to enter the Promised Land, they were warned not to acclimate with the people there--through their idols, through marriage--for this would become a snare in their midst.  God tells them this about Himself:

But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images "for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifices to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice.     Exodus 34: 13-15

Just to be clear for those of you wondering, God's jealousy is not sinful.  Indeed, God is perfect and His jealousy is perfect.  While there are certain things that I might be allowed to be jealous for--my husband, my children's hearts--my sinful flesh messes it up every time.

God is jealous for us and this is why we have the commandment: "You shall have no other gods before Me."  As I devote my time to other things, even other people, I remove my adoration and praise from Him onto them.  Clearly, we are to love our husbands and children, but when that love turns to crazy-woman wife or crazy-woman mama, that's a perfect example of placing praise on someone (or thing) other than God.

I've been praying that God would show me where I've misplaced my adoration.  As He is righteously jealous for me, I desire to be more jealous for Him.  There are so many ways that my eyes dart to the left and to the right rather than remain fixed upon Jesus.  While I can be sad about a favorite actor passing, it becomes an idol for me when I spend hours watching video clips of his best work.  While I can be loyal and fierce about my marriage, it becomes an idol for me when I demand my husband's time over his commitments to provide for our family or even minister to important needs outside of the family.  It's a difficult balance and we must remain in close contact with God through prayer in order to fight sin, particularly jealousy.

So, I was most struck by the sermon on Sunday when the idea of family becoming god was explored.  Sure, I know this is frequently the case, whether you're a Christian or not, we can easily begin worshiping our children or the family unit in general.  But, it got personal when I was asking God how I can be more jealous for Him.  As I face my first child entering into a relationship with a young lady and moving toward her and away from us, I've been surprised at how difficult this has been for me.  How I wish I could do this all seamlessly, but I have been a dreadful mess most of the time.  While praying, I realized more and more that I've been making my own ideas my god.  Instead of trusting in our good God for His peace and perfect plan, I've been exalting fear and MY wisdom.  I've been leaning on my own understanding rather than trusting God with all my heart.

I encourage you to spend some time asking God how you can be more jealous for Him.  What would change in your life?  How would you spend your time?  What thoughts would you need to surrender?  Perhaps all of the frittering and fretting would melt into peace and joy if we were more jealous for our God, whose name is Jealous.

Love, Wendy