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Saturday-Confidence Defined

 

though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

 

Philippians 3:4-6

 

It’s tough to know if someone really has confidence or not. It’s easy to pretend that you’ve got it. Anyone can jump up and down, shouting that they can handle something. That they’ve got this one.

 

Just watch any team sporting event and watch all the demonstrating of confidence. The jumping up and down with their arms flapping all over the place. The shouting. The beating of their chest.

 

But are they doing this just for themselves? I think it’s obvious that they are doing it for everyone watching. Yes, there’s happiness inside at their success. They are overjoyed that they made the play and helped their team. But is the main reason they do all the celebration is for the fans in the seats and on the screens?

 

And like all emotional reactions, it comes from inside. They’re not thinking, “Well now, I think I should jump up and down two time. Not three, but two. What should I do after that? I know, I’ll run over to my teammates and, in an organized way, greet each one individually.”

 

The celebration comes from confidence made real. All the hard work. All the practice. All the pain. All the planning. All the desires from all the years of preparation. Their confidence crossed over from something internal to a real-life, external thing.

 

And that’s what Paul’s trying to do here. He’s using himself as a living example that his confidence with God isn’t in trying to impress the Lord and creator of the universe. Anything and everything we have and do is nothing in comparison to the greatness and grandeur of God. There is absolutely nothing that we can do to impress God. To get his attention. There are only two ways to try and have a relationship with God.

 

  • First – Natural. This is where man works for God. Where we have to do it all. Where we trust in our abilities, words, actions.

  • Second – Supernatural – This is where God acts for people. Where he does it all. Where we trust in his abilities, words, actions.

 

The first is what the people who are disturbing and distracting the Philippians are doing. They say that we can have confidence before God if we do the right thing. And it just so happens that they’ve got the inside track on what those things are.

 

But Paul gave them Jesus, and he’s firmly in the second. In Jesus, God gives salvation to anyone through the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus. God takes our sin and burdens on himself and provides the one, true sacrifice for all sin.

 

Paul makes a list, takes inventory of all the reasons that he has to brag. To be confident.

 

  1. Circumcised on the eighth day – his parents followed the laws from the start.

  2. People of Israel – from God’s chosen people.

  3. Tribe of Benjamin – one of the more favored tribes.

  4. Hebrew of Hebrews – all the traditions, customs, language, education.

  5. Law, a Pharisee – there were no others who took God’s law more seriously.

  6. Zeal, persecuting the church – no one was more on fire for God.

  7. Righteousness based on the law, faultless – he followed every little detail.

 

Paul had all the bases covered. He was born to parents who raised him in the ways of God and his people. He followed all the rules and regulations all his life. There wasn’t anyone on planet Earth that had a better background. A better pedigree. No one was in a better position to impress God than Paul.

 

You see, Paul had it all. He had the right parents. The right education. He had all the right diplomas and certificates on his walls. He was a member of all the right clubs. He had all the right cards in his wallet. And none of that was enough. None of that mattered.

 

If you think that God’s impressed with any of that, they you really don’t know who God is. He doesn’t need our attention. He doesn’t need our friendship. He doesn’t need anything from us. God, all alone, by himself, is more than enough.

 

He’s lived in love and complete happiness from all eternity past. He didn’t make us to fill some hole in his soul. He made us to share himself with us. He didn’t make us for him. He made us so that he could share himself with us.

 

Think about that for a minute. God made you and me so that he could share himself with us. So that we might have a deep, personal, intimate relationship with him. He made us so that we could be with him.

 

I don’t know about you, but that’s one revolutionary thought to me. This really gives me purpose and meaning in this life. And more than anything, it gives me great confidence to come before God. Isn’t that confidence what you’re looking for too?

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • How hard or easy is it for you to be confident deep down inside? Why?

  • List the things we use to show others and ourselves that we’re spiritual.

  • What are your emotions when you share your faith with others? Why?

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