Confidence in “Self”

Self-confidence is a tricky subject. We need to have a measure of it or the admonition to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 23:39) would not make sense (if you despise yourself, are you supposed to hold your neighbor in the same contempt?). Further, God did not send His Son for a worthless, valueless humanity. If God “sent His only begotten Son” (John 3:16), we must have been worth the expended grace to save. Also, we are different than all other creation. If the Bible is to be believed, we are created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), which means we have an intrinsic value beyond all other created beings. God reveals clearly that we have worth.

The other end of the human value spectrum, however, must be avoided at all costs. When we over-value ourselves, we invite all kinds of calamity. We become susceptible to failure and disappointment; “therefore, to him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Besides, “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). We’ve been warned that a person ought “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Romans 12:3), which implies that we should think of ourselves as being at a certain level and not above it. The bottom line is that God defines that level and is the source of all that we are or have the potential to become. A person has no right to self-define self-worth.

To whatever degree we meet success or realize our potential, in every circumstance or situation, it is God who should receive the glory for anything we accomplish. In this, we concede our rightful place in His creation. The sweet psalmist of Israel would put it like this: For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (Psalm 84:10-11).

Following this formula of divine viewpoint, it is easy to defend ourselves and our actions. God declares and defines our value. Popularity, majority or self-ordained authority does not define the Christian. It is our submission to His commandments that becomes our defense against those who despise truth and righteousness, “having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (1 Peter 3:16). So, Isaiah encourages the faithful to “Hear the word of the LORD, You who tremble at His word: “Your brethren who hated you, Who cast you out for My name’s sake, said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified, That we may see your joy.’ But they shall be ashamed” (Isaiah 66:5). In God, we have confidence.

Jeff Sweeten