“...who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited” Phil. 2:6.
Fresh from Bible College, a young lady and I chaperoned a group of youngsters from inner city London to the countryside for a weekend’s camping and exposure to a farm. In one of our many conversations, I was very agitated as I spoke about God’s salvation and how God wanted us to live. Suddenly, she looked at me and said: “Everald, why are you so defensive?” She saw in me insecurity, anxiety, and a lack of confidence. I later understood that when we are confident, we do not have to get angry, shout, or be defensive. We can speak our truth calmly.
That was Paul’s argument. When he wrote to the Philippians, he was in a Roman prison awaiting execution. In the epistle, he addressed the causes of disunity in the church, his gratitude for their gracious gift, and implored them to have the same attitude and mindset, like Jesus. One such attitude was confidence. He was confident because he knew himself.
Jesus was confident about his relationship with God. His first and last recorded utterances, as well as others during his life, bear this out. Jesus was accidentally left behind in Jerusalem. After days of searching, his parents subsequently found him in the temple. When questioned about the distress it had caused them, he responded: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) During his ministry he said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). On the cross he cried: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). His last words were: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). He knew himself.
God desires, and it is important, that every person have a confident mind based on their knowledge of who they are and to whom they belong. When we are in such a position, we will not crave people’s approval, accept others’ definition of us, or be threatened by those who think differently.
With a confident mind, we can face the changing scenes of life without being overwhelmed and reduced to doubt, grumbling, and complaining. The confident mind is solution oriented; celebrates the success of others; refrains from comparisons, and is comfortable in the company of successful, optimistic, and confident people. Persons with a confident mind are better positioned to seize opportunities and launch out in faith and with hope.
Thought: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Prayer: Lord, help us to know and always remember that we belong to you, and that we are here for a divine purpose that only we can fulfil. For Christ’s sake. Amen.