Confidence: the quality or state of being certain; faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.
Last month, we had the privilege of assisting TEAM Mexico with their annual conference in Loreto. Brandy and I led the teens as we explored the theme of “Confidence” from Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”
We took as the outline of our teaching, the song by Sanctus Real. Rather than just babysitting while the adults worked, we wanted to lead the teens in an in-depth study of confidence in the midst of struggle, trial and suffering.
God created each of us for a specific purpose. He has called each of us to fulfill that purpose in unique ways. In my time in the Navy, it was stressed over and again that the Navy never asks you to do anything you haven’t been trained to do. So it is in our walk with God. The challenges we face today are preparation for those we will face tomorrow. In God’s economy, trials get increasingly difficult the more successful we are. Because we have overcome much in the past, we are able to overcome even more today.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 says:
Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
If we put our confidence in created things, man-made things like money, fame, power, comfort, pleasure, even our “religion” and “good” behavior, we turn away from the Lord and reap the resulting lack of God’s blessing and favor. Does God actively curse us? In most cases, I don’t think so. He simply lets us reap the harvest of our sinful actions. Like a plant in a barren land, when we choose to put our roots down in the wrong place, we will shrivel and die.
When we put our confidence in God and trust his Word to guide our lives, we thrive in good soil with plenty of water. If we follow the path that God has for us, we will be blessed. Ending there, many false teachers promulgate the lie that following God means an easy and prosperous life. But the passage goes on to say “when heat comes.” When difficulty comes, as Jesus promised it would, the one who is blessed draws water from deep roots to stay nourished and to continue to bear fruit.
How does one grow the deep roots? A plant seeks that which is most essential to its life – water. Deep roots mean that the plant has invested precious energy to find what is not available on the surface. Times of dryness, trials, struggling to survive will kill the plant unless it finds deeper water. A plant that bears fruit, even in drought, is remarkable and a stark contrast to the surrounding bleak landscape. So it is with Christians who maintain joy in the midst of trial. They stand as testimony to the love of God and peace that transcends circumstances, peace derived from close communion with the Living Water, Jesus Christ.
Is your life characterized by fruit, peace and confidence? If so, then you are likely on the right path. Stay vigilant, abide in Christ, continue to walk in righteousness and obedience. If you are not experiencing a time of trial or difficulty, use this time to prepare because I am confident that the faithful Christian will not have a life of ease and comfort.
Are you in the middle of a struggle or trial and not feeling the comfort of the presence of God? Are your circumstances overwhelming and your burdens beyond your ability to bear? Are your prayers non-existent or powerless? Then you are in a prime place to experience the freshness of the Living Water. Just as the tree sought deep waters, God is calling you to a deeper and closer relationship with himself. If we call on him, God answers. We can have confidence in his promises.
Stay tuned for the next installment: Calling: Equipped by God