The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines confidence as “full trust; belief in the power, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.” As professional athletes, confidence is often developed through the persistent challenging and testing of our athletic abilities. Over time, we reach a certain point where we aren’t afraid of stepping up to the plate when the game is on the line because we have been through this a thousand times before and proven that we possess the strength and ability to come through in the clutch.
As those who belong to Christ, we are to possess a similar kind of confidence but a different source and foundation for this confidence. As Christians, our confidence in life does not rest in who we are and what we’ve done but rather in who God is and what He's done. Confidence in God is the key to truly experiencing His power and presence and the source of strength that we need to endure the times in life when our faith is tested. Therefore, the condition and strength of our God-confidence will always be directly related and affected by our perception and view of God.
In describing the faith of Abraham in Romans 4, the apostle Paul provides us with four big principles that describes what true confidence in God looks like.
To begin with, true confidence in God is based on God’s Word. Despite his circumstances, Abraham was “fully convinced” that God was able and willing to do what God said He would do (v. 21). Most people find themselves struggling in faith and feeling let down by God because their faith is resting in 'their wants' rather than in God’s Word.
“Faith does not come up with things for God to do. Faith responds to what God wants done.” (Crawford Loritts from his book Unshaken) God is not in the genie business of granting wishes. God is in the sovereignty business of giving us His Word. Faith is not proposing our plans and expecting God to work for us. Faith is trusting God’s plan and experiencing God working through us.
The next principle that we see in this passage is that true confidence in God defies our circumstances. Abraham “believed against hope… He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.” (v. 18-19) Abraham’s faith wasn’t naive. He considered the reality of his circumstances and yet confidently decided, “I’m going to believe God anyway.”
Many times, out of fear of coming across as foolish, we attempt to make our faith more logical and reasonable. However, sometimes God may be calling us to a level of faith that seems ridiculous to those around us.
Abraham and Sarah had no logical reason to expect a child at their age and with their history of infertility. Our confidence in God does not deny the reality of our circumstances. God-confidence reasonably considers the present situation and yet still leads you to confidently determine that “My circumstances do not define what God wants done in my life.”
The third principle that we see in this passage is that true confidence in God is anchored in God’s sovereign power. Abraham rested His faith in the fact that God was the one “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (v. 17). We might need to be reminded that the adversity Abraham and Sarah had found themselves enduring was a crisis designed by God.
God is the Author of our own individual stories and where there is great need in our life there is opportunity to experience the power and presence of God in a real and tangible way. The circumstances that we find ourselves in and the power of God that defies them are statements made by God concerning His ability, sufficiency and power to come through for us in ways that we simply can’t come through for ourselves. The process of waiting for God to deliver in the clutch is always a part of God’s plan, and as we wait in faith and confidence for something to happen, more than likely we will discover that God often changes us before He changes our circumstances.
And the fourth principle that we see in this passage is that true confidence in God must be tested and used. The more Abraham considered his circumstances and the more that he pressed into the promises and power of God, “he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God” (v. 20).
God-confidence is not merely believing a body of truth. God-confidence is experiencing and living out that truth that you claim to believe. God-confidence is not necessarily grown in the friendly confines of Bible study and Christian fellowship. God-confidence is grown in the trenches of being forced to trust Him to get you through the troubles or trials that you are currently facing.
Therefore, God-confidence is based on God’s Word. God-confidence defies our circumstances. God-confidence is anchored in God’s sovereign power. And true God-confidence must be tested and used.
May we not waste our time when we find ourselves waiting on God to deliver. As those who belong to Christ, may we realize that true confidence in God is developed through the persistent challenging and testing of that confidence. May we seek to attain a certain level of God-confidence that overcomes life’s circumstances because we have been through these things before, and we have reason to rest assured in our God who has proven Himself willing and able to perfectly come through in the clutch and deliver what He has promised to deliver.