I believe one of the most common problems we have as humans is a lack of self-confidence. This is evidenced by the hundreds of self-help books and theories on ways to increase your self-esteem. Even those people who will tell you how confident they are, as demonstrated by many pro athletes, many times are just overcompensating for the reality that they too struggle with self-confidence. I understand why we struggle with this issue; life is difficult. Most of us have experienced failures in life and we realize that even doing our best sometimes does not equal success based on our society’s standards. In order to hold on to the slim amount of self-confidence we have, we tend to stick with doing what we are comfortable with and we avoid taking on challenges that may lead to failure which would remove the little bit of confidence we have left.
I found myself in this position during college. My dreams of playing college sports had died and I was simply going through the motions of normal college life. I did not know what I wanted to do with my life and my confidence was not high. Honestly, I just wanted someone to tell me what to do so I did not have to make a meaningful decision. Around this time in my life I received a phone call from a pastor named Shane Barnes, who was serving at my home church. He had come to our church after I graduated, but I had met him and knew a little about him. He asked me a question that would ultimately change the direction of my life: “Would you be our Youth Pastor for the summer?” I was completely unprepared for that question. I had never thought about being a minister in any sense. What really surprised me was the confidence Shane had in me. He told me that he saw something in me and that he knew I would do a good job with the youth. I will never forget the confidence Shane showed in me when I did not have confidence in myself. The support Shane gave me helped me to find God’s calling in my life and I have now been in ministry for around 16 years. All this began with someone showing confidence in me.
In John 20:19-23, we find the disciples experiencing the risen Christ for the first time. They had seen the empty tomb and heard the report from Mary, but they still were not certain of what was happening and they were scared. I have to think that none of the disciples were too confident about their future. They were so insecure about what was happening in their life that they were hiding behind locked doors as if those doors would protect them from the uncertainty surrounding them. At this trying moment in the disciples’ lives, Jesus appears unexpectedly before them and immediately offers them His peace. He knew their hearts were not at peace, in fact they were terrified, but Jesus gives them what they need; assurance of His presence.
Jesus then overcomes their doubts by showing them His hands and His side. As the disciples see the truth of the risen Christ they are overjoyed. Jesus now does something amazing, He calls the disciples to serve Him. These are the men who were just huddling together in fear and doubt and now Jesus is sending them just as God had sent Him into the world. The confidence Jesus showed in those disciples was incredible. They had all fled in fear when He was arrested and now Jesus was entrusting them with telling the world who He was and what He had done. The disciples must have been humbled and amazed at the confidence the Messiah was showing in them.
Jesus did not stop there, He continued by equipping the disciples with all they would need to fulfill His calling on their lives. He gives them the Holy Spirit which will lead and guide them as they go into the world. No longer will they need to huddle in fear because God is with them always. They never need to suffer from insecurity again because their strength can now come from the fact that Jesus has confidence in them. Jesus has given them everything they need to change the world for Christ.
I wonder how many of us live our lives behind locked doors, afraid to venture out into the unknown world. Maybe we need to open our eyes to the one who is standing right beside us giving us peace. Jesus wants you to experience peace in knowing that he loves you and is there with you. Jesus is also showing great confidence in you; He is calling you to serve Him. When I look in the mirror I do not know why He called me, but I am confident in His calling because He was confident enough in me to ask me to serve Him. Not only is Jesus confident in you, but He has also equipped you with everything you will need to continue to impact the Kingdom of God. His presence will guide you if you will allow Him.
This week, step out and live the calling Jesus has so confidently given you. Is there a friend you have been avoiding talking to about your relationship with Christ? Is there a family God has laid on your heart to minster to? Does your church need you to step up and serve? Are you being a minister in your workplace? Your home? Is there someone who needs to hear the confidence you have in them? Be confident, God is confident in you.