September 2, 2011
Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5NIV).
Friend to Friend
Paul said that he "put no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3). In other words, he didn't think that he was good enough because of any particular talent or ability that he had on his own. But his confidence came from his understanding of who he was as a child of God. Someone once said, "A man wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package." But a man, or woman, wrapped up in God is an amazing sight to behold.
I believe we can change our inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy into unshakable confidence by understanding who we are, what we have, and where we are as a child of God. I am not advocating confidence in self, but confidence in God - confidence in who you are because of what Jesus has done for you and what the Holy Spirit can do through you. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, 6 TNIV). Connected to the vine you can do everything God calls you to do (Philippians 4:13).
Paul knew what he could accomplish on his own...nothing. Oh, he could be busy. We all can do that. But bearing "fruit that will remain" is another story. This paraphrase shows how he viewed his own personal weaknesses:
I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
'My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.'
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now that I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size-abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message)
Paul had great confidence. The prefix, "con" means "with" and the root "fid" means faith." So a confident person is one who walks in faith. We walk in faith that we are holy, chosen, redeemed, dearly loved children of God who are empowered by the Holy Spirit, equipped by our Maker, and enveloped by Jesus Christ. Now that's real God-confidence.
Dear God, I know that I can do nothing of any true lasting value apart from You. However, when I abide in Christ and He works through me, I can accomplish anything You have called me to do. Help me to understand the power that is within me and to have unshakable confidence in Christ today.
In Jesus' name,