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Posts Tagged ‘Confidence’

A certain king known for his wealth and brutality, took a stroll one evening on the rooftop of his imposing palace. From his lofty vantage point, he could view the large and glorious city he’d created–with the back-breaking labor of thousands of slaves.

Numerous, handsome buildings made of brick and stone displayed the best architectural design of the time. He had spared no expense in their construction. Many said it was the most beautiful city on earth.

But the king had also been careful to reserve space for parks and gardens. Most awe-inspiring of all were the “hanging gardens” of Semiramis. Planted on the rooftops, they kept cool the rooms below and offered stunning beauty as well. Soon they had earned the prestigious recognition as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

 

(One artist’s idea of what the hanging gardens may have looked like.)

 

The king threw his arms outward. “Look at this great and glorious city I have built,” he cried, “a fitting residence for a king of such mighty power as I!”

Someone heard the king’s boast–someone who detests the proud of heart (Proverbs 16:5), and who wields the power to bring disgrace to the prideful (Proverbs 11:2).

No sooner had King Nebuchadnezzar bragged about his glorious accomplishments, than he became insane and lost his throne for a period of seven years (Daniel 4:28-37).

 

(King Nebuchadnezzar, reduced to groveling among the beasts)

 

Clearly, we’d do well to avoid such boastful pride as Nebuchadnezzar demonstrated. But the repugnant trait manifests itself in other ways too. The prideful person:

  • Puts self first, others second.
  • Craves recognition, admiration, and attention.
  • Takes credit for what others have done.
  • Becomes defensive when differing views are presented.
  • Rarely acknowledges sins, flaws, or mistakes.
  • Blames others for failures.
  • Resists advice, new information, or techniques.

Not a pretty package.

And according to Harry Emerson Fosdick: “A person wrapped up in himself makes a small package” as well (emphasis added).

 

(Harry Emerson Fosdick. (n.d.). AZQuotes.com. Retrieved January 11, 2018, from AZQuotes.com Web site: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/99920)

 

I have to admit, at sometime or other over my lifetime, I’ve exhibited every one of these unattractive symptoms of pride.

But what about confidence? Is that different? And what would it look like, to be confident without pride?

Paul exemplifies confidence in Philippians 4:13:

 

(“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”)

 

The difference between pride and confidence includes the source of each. Pride grows out of arrogance and conceit; confidence grows out of trust in God.

 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him”

–Jeremiah 17:7

 

 

And because the source is different, the resulting traits are different.

For the Christian, confidence is the quiet knowing that God is in control and all will be well in the end. Therefore he/she can set aside self-aggrandizement, express convictions, even confront others when necessary with grace and poise.

In addition, confidence fosters:

  • Consideration of others before self (Philippians 2:3).
  • Collaboration and cooperation with others (Psalm 133:1).
  • Disinterest in the spotlight (Philippians 1:15-18).
  • Recognition and praise to God, the Creator of all accomplishments (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
  • The desire for self-improvement with the help of God (Philippians 1:6).
  • The desire for wisdom from God and godly people (Proverbs 19:20).

 

 

Now that’s a beautiful and grand package.

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *

 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your willingness to help me eradicate prideful thoughts the moment they manifest themselves. Thank you for showing me the way to live with confident trust in you —no longer over-protective of ego or overly concerned about self-interests—but surrendered to you and dependent on you, the Engineer of what’s best and the Source of all competency.

 

(Art & photo credits:  http://www.wikimedia.com (2); http://www.azquotes.com; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com; http://www.pixabay. com.)

 

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DARE

The ledge was very narrow—no more than a foot—and perhaps five feet long.  The drop-off was straight down—perhaps several hundred feet.

The four of us hiking at Red River Gorge that day had two options, as the trail narrowed to this dilemma:  1) Navigate across the ledge and very quickly get back to where our vehicle was parked, or 2) Turn around and spend a couple of hours hiking the way we had come, circling back and upward to get to the car.

Guess who was more than willing to hike all the way back, rather than risk that ledge?  Just me.  I was out-voted.

Since I’m here to tell the story, you already know the outcome.  We made it across just fine, although with great care.  But it took awhile for my heart to calm down and the adrenaline to stop flowing.  Even falling asleep that night was difficult.  (Did you catch the pun there?!)

And now you know:  I am not a risk-taker.

But there are some hazards worthy of embrace:

I want to live out my faith with courage.

Not just try.  No, DARE.

With my shoulders back and my head up, I want to jump into the day, into the conversation, into the situation where God puts me.

I want to live in confidence.

Put into practice what I know:  God is engineering the circumstances.  He’ll guide me to do or say what’s needed.

But I have to be proactive and step out, speak up, and take the risk–get in there, and just do it!

I also want to live in joy.

 This life with Jesus is full of blessing and delight!  But who will know that if I’m stone-faced and focused on the negative?

My desire is to sail out into the world as a breath of fresh air, providing a glimpse of the good life that I enjoy with my God (Philippians 2:15, The Message).

My Jesus is SO worth the risk.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Heavenly Father, I may need a push from behind to move me out of my comfort zone.  But I know that even as you push, you will be supporting and leading.  You will advise and encourage.  So, with my face raised in anticipation, and my arms spread wide in expectation, I affirm:  Here I am, Lord!  Send me (Isaiah 6:8)!

 

(Photo credits:  www.hikeky.com ; http://careergirlnetwork.com )

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