Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Confident – Having strong belief and full assurance; sure. Sure of oneself; having no uncertainties about one’s abilities; correctness; successfulness; boldness. Excessively bold and presumptiveness.
Am I totally confident? Do I remain confident? It’s not easy to trust the Lord. Do not let anyone ever tell you otherwise. It is the greatest challenge a man or woman will ever face. Completely worthwhile, beneficial and life-giving – yes. But too many times Christians try to act the part not really living it. To totally trust the Lord and be completely confident means that we never worry, stress, become anxious or hesitate when motivated by God through His Spirit to do something. We would jump on every single commandment and directive in the Word of God because the benefit would always outweigh the risk in the natural. Supernatural living would explode in the church as people came boldly to God through Jesus Christ for every single need in their life no matter how large or how small. It wouldn’t matter if they lost everything because their hearts would remain full. For many, many years, I have wanted to be that kind of believer. I have been fully committed to Jesus Christ for more than fifteen years now. Most days it seems like two steps forward and three steps back in my pursuit of complete faith and confident hope. I have only been able to trust the Lord when I have had absolutely no other choice. This is candid. This is transparent. But I want to be real. I want a faith so genuine that when God ever so slightly presses something in my heart that I jump at the opportunity to please Him no matter what the cost, inconvenience or opposition in the natural. Why? I want to see the Goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Goodness is not always about finances, security and self. Am I willing to risk discomfort and discombobulation to be complete in Jesus Christ? Are you?
Hebrews 10:32-39 (NIV)
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
I believe that it is erroneous to ever think, believe or teach that there will not be some discomfort, hardship and brokenness in our life with Jesus Christ. This is not what the Word of God in its entirety reflects. Following Christ comes at the price of self. These things are required to reshape, remold and rebuild the mess that we made of our life before Jesus became a part of it. To never experience such things would prohibit us from fully understanding and accepting the grace necessary to be saved. God doesn’t make our life hard. We do. Sin is the thing that we hold on to creating a barrier between us. Jesus works in us to change our attitude and actions to reflect a heart motivated to have a relationship with God the Father once again. The prosperity gospel that many think has died out still lives. Prosperity in the Lord has never been and will never be about personal financial wealth in the earth. Money has limits. It creates a burden. The Lord has made it clear that it is nothing more than a vessel in our life but quickly can be made master if we are not careful. We prosper as our soul does. (3 John 1:2)
Now before all those who believe God wants to give all our stuff up for Jesus that’s not true either. The Lord provides for His People. We can have nice stuff. It’s not a sin. Why is this topic so sticky? I can feel people grabbing their stuff and pulling it in tightly reading this right now. Stop that – let go for a minute. The revelation of prosperity came to me at a very, very high price. After our son’s fourth round of chemo, the doctors knew that this disease was not going to stay gone so they decided after much study and conversations around the world to try a bone marrow transplant which was part of a clinical trial for his “type” of cancer. In their mind, his very life depended on this procedure. So we went to the insurance company who denied the procedure not once but three times even though the medical reviewer agreed. Ok, we appealed federally. Denied again. We appealed with my husband’s company who is “self-insured” and could override the appeals. They denied. Time was ticking. Because of the cost of the procedure which was estimated to be between $300,000 and $500,000 everyone declined. For the first time I realized that in this world there is a price tag on life. I contacted government officials who called agencies. We did not have time to play around the cancer was recurring within a few months by now. I remember sitting at my desk in my office after the final denial came in not having the heart to call my family to let them know and prayed. The world was willing to let my child die. I reminded the Lord of the Word that He had given me that our son would live and not die. I didn’t pray for money or an insurance approval. I prayed one thing – “We need You, Jesus!” Peace flooded me, my office and my home that night with absolutely no earthly reason. The next morning, the hospital called me. They had an approval. No one knows where it came from but the woman took it and ran with it. Within hours, we were scheduled. My son just passed nine months of remission. He has never made it that far in this journey. To God be the Glory.
The early church risked everything to follow Jesus Christ in the natural. Why would we expect anything less? They went to prison. They lost their stuff. Their lives were completely turned upside down in their pursuit of complete faith and confident hope. Are we somehow insinuating that we are better than them or that God loves us more? To think that following Jesus requires nothing in this life is not biblical. It is not founded on truth. You can give up everything to follow Jesus but you must build your faith and become confident in the Lord. Confidence comes from trust. Trust is not comfortable until it is complete. We are far from that point yet in our prayers for the things of this world missing the true potential of being set free from the things of this world. Have you thrown away your confidence today? Those who persevere will be richly rewarded. Those hard times, broken times, and destitute times in your life have the potential to yield big dividends when you let go of the things of this world and take a better grip of what God is giving you. His Spirit produces in us the things that complete us and satisfy our soul. He gives us “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” that come from our faith and confidence in the Lord. These are not worldly things, monetary issues but Kingdom wealth that provides everything we need to experience God’s Goodness.
Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I am encouraged today that the key to everything I need, want and desire in my life can be found in Jesus Christ alone. He knows me and loves me anyway. The Lord knows exactly what it will take for me to be completely satisfied now and forevermore. I must become confident enough to trust Him completely. It seems like the more I delve into this thing called faith the deeper I must go. It is not a quick process but a lifelong pursuit. You will not arrive until you stand before Jesus. I want to hear “Job well done.” My confidence is no longer in my ability to do all the right things or make a better life here. I know that only Jesus can do that so I work within myself to challenge myself to become more faithful. I want to be the one who God knows that He can count on to do His Will, heed His Word and follow His Way implicitly even though I feel most days I fail miserably. Like the marathon runner that we are all called to be, I just scoop up that new mercy and keep going. Don’t give up today. Just because everyone else seems to be getting somewhere, you cannot judge a book by its cover. You don’t know their heart’s condition any more than they know yours. Make today about Jesus only Jesus. Pray for His Will and Way. Remind Him of His Word for your life. We don’t have to tell the Lord what we want, need or think will make us happy and whole. He is already doing it in our life. We just have to become more confident in the Lord than we are in ourselves. God is working miracles in our life. It’s up to us to move out of His Way.
Hebrews 3:6 (NIV)
But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.