More than Conquerors
Five Keys to Gaining Confidence in Being a Committed Christian
"...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Ro. 8:37).
I became a Christian at the tender age of five. It was a conscious, serious decision to confess Christ and one I've never regretted. Yet as I grew into a youth, I was sometimes embarrassed to share my faith. At times, to stand alone and be "the weird one" was intimidating. As a young adult, I still wrestled with feelings of inadequacy and foolishness –and even doubted my motives--when speaking of the Lord to others. (Read my testimony: "But Lord I'm a Nobody!")
Many Christians at some point in their walk could, no doubt, identify with the above! We can fear rejection, confrontation, embarrassment, debate—lacking confidence in our position, motives, abilities and even the outcome of our efforts. Far too easily we try excusing ourselves as ill-equipped or "not smart enough" for being effective instruments that the Lord can use for His glory.
How do we gain confidence and be effective as Christians—even when we don't "feel like it"? There is a solution! It starts with...
1. Having the Right Kind of Fear
There is a type of fear that works as a catalyst toward emboldening our efforts and strengthening our resolve to be onward Christian soldiers. "By the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil" (Prov. 16:6).
Fear gets us started in our Christian walk—we ultimately fear being rejected of God and cling to Christ for our Salvation (Mt. 10:28; Je. 32:30; Acts 10:35). "But he that denieth Me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God" (Lu. 12:9). Growing in a fear of God brings about having the right balance of who to dread. "Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread" (Is. 8:13). A healthy fear, wonder, awe, respect of the Lord that compels us to obedience is the source of confidence: "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge" (Prov. 14:16). When tempted to fear the wrath or opinion of man—remember that "...we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (He. 13:6).
2. Understanding the Whole Duty of Man – Why are we even here?
"Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Ec. 12:13).
Essentially, we were created because it pleased the Lord that we might bring Him glory and share in His goodness (Rev. 4:11; Is. 43:7). Considered the crown of His creation, mankind was instantly given a duty and responsibility which included tending the earth as His stewards and raising a family (Gen. 1:28-30). Our creation was unique from all other creatures. God carefully created mankind in His own image and gave him a free-will to choose (Gen. 1:26; 2:7, 16-25).
Though the original perfect world has been marred by sin (Fall of Man; Gen 3)—creating a wedge in the relationships God intended mankind to have with Himself—the Lord stepped into His creation (Ph. 2:5-11). Christ offers the only pathway to redemption and a restored partnership with God—if we will come humbly, confessing our sins and believing in our heart Jesus Christ's vicarious death and resurrection (Ep. 1:7; Ro. 2:4; 1 Jn. 1: 9). "Whoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed" (Ro. 9:33).
"And now...what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. To keep the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes" (Deut. 10: 12-13; also see Matt 22: 21, 36-40).
"...ye are not your own...For ye are bought with a price: therefore Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Co. 6:20).
3. Recognizing the Unending Riches of God's Glory
Once becoming Christians—our lives are just beginning (Jn. 3:3; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; 1 Pe. 1:23). Finally, we are united with the Lord through Christ—learning, as He intended, the beauty of His holiness (Jn. 15:4).
Belonging to Christ and obeying Him liberates our lives from the grip of sin that destroys us—inside and out. We are freed cognitively, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, morally, and even physically to embrace a clean, fresh, fulfilling life (Ro. 8:21; John 8:32; John 14:6). Once liberated in Christ, our very being tastes of His glory that comes from a renewed mindset and a life restoration (Ti. 3:5). We are provided with all our needs for today as He is merciful and His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23). When having the mind of Christ, we find ourselves satisfied, joyful, and enriched—even if the daily grind can be dull (Ps. 40:1-5)! Trials or tragedies can and do come, but the Spirit of God gives us the grace, the peace that passes all understanding and an assurance of hope, enabling us to press on (Is. 41:10; Ph. 4:7; 2 Co. 12:9).
4. Preparing to Share the Lord's Bounty
Christians are at a decided advantage. As believers we are "the children of God" and "joint heirs with Christ" (Ro. 8: 16-18). We are chosen to manifest a mystery. "Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations...now is made manifest to His saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery... which is Christ in you, the Hope of glory" (Co. 1:26-27).
With such riches to hold, comes a responsibility. Before Christ's ascension into Heaven, He left us with a commission to teach all nations His commandments, baptizing them in the name of the Trinity--Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Mt. 28:19). As Christians, we must recognize our responsibility to share Christ with others. He has provided us with different gifts, social involvement and resources—yet every Christian has the same opportunity when it comes to serving the Lord in the works specifically prepared for "Rebekah" or "Silas" or "You". It's not important what we can achieve for God. What's important is that we obey the plans and purposes God would have us achieve. God's "spiritual work" is what He brings for His people to accomplish today. Today that may simply mean shredding paper with efficiency and being kind on the telephone. Tomorrow it may be teaching a group of people or having the honor to speak of Christ's work in your life. Don't miss the opportunities He gives you to reflect His Light—no matter how "small" or "insignificant" it may appear to you. Even Christ cooked fish, served His disciples their meal, and washed their dirty feet (Mt. 25:34-36, 40; John 21: 4-13; Is. 58:6-12). "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Mt. 5:16).
Other preparation to share the Lord's bounty include careful, daily study and application of the Bible. Have a working, living knowledge of the scriptures. Prayer is important too. Invest in Bible help resources (like a Young's Concordance, Strong's Concordance, Unger's Bible Dictionary, etc.) that will help you study God's word. Take it seriously (2 Ti. 2:15).
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Pe. 3:15).
5. Saying "Yes, Lord—Here I am"—Willing To Do His Bidding.
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Ph. 2:13).
While we are nothing in ourselves (1 Co. 15:9-10; Mk. 1:7)—"Through God we shall do valiantly" (Ps. 108:13). "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Ph. 1:6).
We are each known personally by the Lord. He has a specific, unique plan and purpose for every individual human being (Jeremiah 29:11-14; Jeremiah 1; Eph. 2:10). He values our lives (Malachi 3:17; Ps. 139: 7-16), knowing every detail about us intimately (Luke 12:6-7).
The Bible is full of common, ordinary people who He chose to do "special missions." May we say as Mary—the vessel chosen to tend to Christ's early earthy entry—"Behold, the handmaid [servant] of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy Word" (Luke 1:38). What if she had rejected God's will to use her in such a way for someone else's good? God's will would have prevailed—but she would have missed out on being a key component of God's remarkable plan for Christ to reveal Himself as a man.
When our first priority is to serve Christ, we are released to do His will with confidence of doing the right thing. If we are truly seeking the Lord, we're not going to miss His will for our lives. And if we're doing His will for our lives, we're not going to make the wrong decision or say the wrong thing. "...for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them..." (Hosea 14:9).
More than Conquerors in Christ!
Good Christians—if you abide in Christ, the Light of the World—you have so much to offer to a world of Darkness. Be encouraged and confident that in willingly being an "available" man or woman—available for whatever He brings about—that your work will not be void. Opposition may come—but rest in knowing that Christ experienced the same and has put all things under His feet. Forget about what others think of you – don't be afraid of being misunderstood when you serve Him. Whose servant are you, anyway? When humbly living in Christ, we have nothing to be ashamed of—but everything to share from what He has given us.
"We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
"If God be for us, who can be against us" (Ro. 8:31b)?
"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Ti. 1:8-10).