Self-Confidence or God-Confidence

There is nothing on this earth that I want more than to be filled through all of my being with all of the fullness of God, and to have the richest measure of His presence until I completely overflow with God Himself (Ephesians 3:19). This starts at Salvation when we receive all of God’s fullness. He moves in by His Spirit with all of His glory and power.

I know that there is no way to contain more of God, because His fullness already abides in Believers; but I do want to experience a fuller awareness of His presence and leading. Too often, we are so full of our self, that we miss out on the fullness of God within us. The more we allow our flesh and self-confidence to dictate our life, the less we walk in the Spirit.

We need to surrender to God the self-assured part of our identity in order to trust Him. People with a high opinion of their assets have so much to overcome, but those who suffer with self-doubt and who lack self-esteem are closer to walking in the Spirit. The uncertain, timid person is already light years ahead of most people. Insecure people trust God more than those who are secure in their self.

What we need more than self-confidence in our human attributes is our confidence and identity in God. John advised us to decrease, so that Christ in us may increase (John 3:30). We gain our identity in who we are in Christ, not in who we are as a person. There is nothing, which God calls us to do, that we cannot accomplish, once we realize the extent of His power within us (Philippians 4:13).

If we list our human assets and talents, we discover the gifts God gave us. For instance, what are we good at? What positive character traits do we already have? These are the areas where God is already shining through us. We are His light in the world (Matthew 5:16). God lives in us, and we have all the power of the godhead working through us. Now, that fact will improve any self-image!

Prayer:
Father God, when we face challenges in life, which overwhelm our faith, we are tempted to roll up our sleeves and apply some human effort to the problem. We fail to realize our limited human resources. Remind us that the nation of Israel faced such an issue at the outskirts of Canaan, and felt like grasshoppers. They wandered in the wilderness, because they thought they had to rely on their human effort rather than on Yours. Give us the faith to follow the leading of Your Holy Spirit each moment of every day.

Thought for the Day:
When we gain our identity from Christ in us, rather than from our human capabilities or insufficiencies, we accomplish everything, which God calls us to do.

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Behavior Does Not Define Us

I used to think I was a bad girl, because I occasionally did bad things. It took me years to come to the realization that I am a good girl, even though I do bad things sometimes. I did not realize that I am a separate entity from my behavior. I thought that my behavior defined me. I tried to earn my goodness by my behavior; then, when I failed, I felt utterly lost and worthless.

On a glorious day in February of my 18th year of life, God made real to me the fact that He bought me by the blood of Jesus and redeemed me by His Son’s resurrection (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:19). He came to live in me and He started the process of converting my carnal nature into the nature of Christ. He set my feet on high places (Psalm 18:33), and renewed my self-image to my true identity in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17).

I am no longer burdened by the notion that I need to be perfect in order to be loved. Father God, who created me, and Jesus, my Brother, who laid down his life for me, both love me unconditionally. I am not a mere mortal, but I am empowered and indwelt by the Spirit of the Living God (2 Corinthians 3:18).

I am not the person that I was at 18. Over the successive years of my life, God freed me from the tyranny of self-effort (Ephesians 2:8-9). He taught me that I am not a bad person, but I simply do bad things now and again. He is faithful and just, and He always offers me forgiveness for my transgressions at the very moment I repent of them (1 John 1:9).

We never have to allow satanic influences to condescend, criticize or bully us into thinking that we are “less than” we should be. We are actually complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10). We are “more than” conquerors through Him, because He loves us (Romans 8:31-39). With Christ in us, we are lovable, interesting and sufficient individuals (Philippians 4:13) who are loved by the eternal King of the universe.

Prayer:
Father God, we thank You for redeeming us and making us special and unique individuals in Your Family. You give us victory each and every day (1 Corinthians 15:57). We continually walk in Your love and bask in Your fellowship. Thank You that Jesus also loves us and gave Himself up for us, as a sacrifice to atone for our sins (Ephesians 5:2).
Thank You too that we are the apple of Your eye (Zechariah 2:8; Psalm 17:8).

Thought for the Day:
We are crucified with Christ and our flesh no longer lives, because Christ lives in us and freed us from our sins by His blood. – Galatians 2:20; Revelation 1:5

Just the Way We Are

Just the Way We Are

Living in fear of someone discovering our true identity often drives us just this side of insanity. We dread someone else realizing that we are just “not enough”. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not kind enough, not capable enough…not enough. Jesus came to give us good news. We all fall short of the glory of God.

There is no one good enough, not even one (Romans 3:10-12, 23). Even people with a high opinion of their self have issues with insecurity. We all have little nagging doubts, which corrode our confidence and whittle away at our self-esteem. We live under a cloud of negative self-talk. We hide behind superficial masks, in hopes that no one will ever uncover just how deficient we really are.

Once we come to Christ, we can stop pretending, stop striving to be good and throw our self on the mercy and grace of God instead. He accepts us just the way we are (Romans 5:8). We need no pretenses with Him. He loves us in spite of our failings. God is our Father who cares for us, nurtures us and provides for all of our needs: spiritually, physically and in our soul – our mind, choices and emotions.

Our Heavenly Daddy gives us a sense of security as we dwell in Him and He dwells in us. His love fills in the gaps in our self-esteem and changes our opinion about our deficiencies. We no longer need to fear life and its consequences, to listen to any negative self-talk or to believe anyone else’s negative opinion of us. We are complete in Christ (Colossians 1:27, 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, we drink from the living water of Your Word, which calms our soul and fills our spirit with godly character, Jesus’ divine nature and the fruit of Your Holy Spirit (John 7:38; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Galatians 5:22-23). When fears creep in to cripple us and render us ineffective for You and for a productive life, we can run to Jesus, who is the Rock that is higher than we are (Psalm 61:2). He gives us power over these demonic attacks and He strengthens us to prolifically bloom where You plant us.

Thought for the Day:
God provides His people with a Sabbath rest from our weary labors; for when we enter God’s rest, we stop spinning our wheels and trust Him to bless our lives with His fullness. – Hebrews 4:9-12

The Flesh is Already Dead

The carnal person lives in rebellion to God’s desires for our life. The natural person resists God’s redemption and forfeits His peace and joy both on earth and for eternity. The focus of carnality is on the self and everything that benefits the flesh, regardless of any spiritual priorities or needs. Even Born Again people often cater to their flesh more than their spirit.

 

However, this carnal focus will not continue in the life of an authentic Believer. Our union with Christ makes a huge difference in our life. God’s Spirit will continually convict the sinful soul of His priorities. We find the freedom of forgiven sin, the contentment of acceptance in God’s Family and the security of our identity in Christ’s character within us (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

God’s Spirit renews our mind (2 Corinthians 4:16; Titus 3:5), transforms our emotions (Ephesians 3:16-20) and heals our body (Psalm 103:3). We enjoy worshipping our King more than serving our flesh. We willingly lay down the deeds of our flesh, because we realize that in Christ our flesh is already dead (Colossians 3:3-4). Spiritually alive, we experience victory over both sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57).

 

Prayer:

Father God, by Your divine power, You provide us with every resource we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3). The fact that You dwell in us by Your Spirit and that You will perfect us in spirit, soul and body relieves so much pressure from us on a daily basis (Ephesians 1:14). We do not have to perfect our self. You give us the desire and the ability to work out our own salvation, as we live in respect for Your authority and power in us (Philippians 2:13).

 

Thought for the Day:

Be filled with the Spirit and speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. – Ephesians 5:18-19

Perfect Perfectionism

The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day are ideal examples of religious perfectionism (Matthew 5:20). They took the words of the prophets and the law of God and turned them into a formula for success rather than a guide for life. They perfected their outward behavior without having an inner change of heart. They were clean on the outside, but inside they were full of decay and corruption (Mathew 23:27).

They reeked of inner darkness and death, which comes from the flesh. Jesus wanted to create a clean heart in them (Psalm 51:10), and to transform their carnality into perfect spirituality by His Holy Spirit. Jesus wants to do the same thing for us today. He desires to give us His new nature and to mold in us a new, pliable heart instead of the stony one, which is the result of life’s devastation (Ezekiel 36:26).

As God’s Spirit changes our nature to that of Christ, then our behavior changes right along with it (2 Peter 1:4). The more we affirm the work of God’s Spirit in our life, the freer we become from the lies and bondage of Satan and his demons. Our identity no longer derives its strength from our carnal efforts, but from the love, which Christ has for each of us.

We consistently act in accordance with Biblical principles rather than by perfectionistic perceptions of God’s law. We stand in the power of Christ within us, knowing without a doubt that we are children of God, co-heirs with Christ and part of His beloved Body of Authentic Believers (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 12:27). We walk in the victory of Calvary with the assurance of eternal life.

Prayer:
Father God, eternal life starts the moment we acknowledge our sins and surrender our life to You (Mark 1:14-15). Our intimacy with You, Your Son and Your Spirit grows each moment of every day for the rest of our life; as we spend time in prayer, Bible reading, fellowshipping with other Christians and worshipping together as Your Body on earth. Christ did more than forgive our sins, although that is the reason for our praise to Your name; but He also came to accept us into Your eternal family and give us an abundant life in You both now and forever (John 17:3; Ephesians 1:6).

Thought for the Day:
Eternal life is not the duration of our life, but rather the value of our life in Christ.