Confidence is defined as the quality or state of being certain.
Some of the benefits of being confident include:
- Motivation to start something good or stop something bad.
- Courage to stand up for right.
- Ability to say YES or NO
- Overcome fear.
- Stretch your limits.
- Boldness to ask questions.
- Believe in the impossible.
The Apostle Paul had confidence. However, his confidence was not in himself but in God. In a recent study I discovered how Paul could be so confident… so sure. In 2 Corinthians 4:14-18 it becomes ever so clear that what Paul longed for and believed about the future had everything to do with how he lived in the present. Since he knew how it would all end, he could be confident in his present circumstances. When we know what Paul knew, we can gain the same confident faith.
Paul was sure of four things:
1 – Ultimate victory.
Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. (2 Corinthians 4:14)
Because Paul believed in the future resurrection of the dead he was willing to carry the dying of Jesus. Even if the worst happened to him, death, he would have ultimate victory through his resurrection. Regardless of the score, Christians will be winners.
2 – God would be glorified.
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15)
Rather than complain about his hardship, Paul was thankful that every trouble allowed the Gospel to reach more and more people throughout the world and these people would give thanksgiving and glory to God.
3 – His trials were working for him.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
When Paul suffered affliction, he did not focus his thoughts on how heavy the affliction was but on how heavy the glory would be because of the affliction. Everything would all turn out great in the end.
4 – The invisible world is the real world.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Because what is unseen is eternal it is more real than the things which are seen. Our future eternal existence with God is a true existence. This one is only a shadow cast by the coming reality. Our problem is not that we desire too much but that we are satisfied with too little.
For most Christians, the contemplation of retirement trumps the contemplation of their ultimate destiny. Far more energy and thought is given to enhancing the health and wealth of the final 20 years of earthly existence than to eternal existence.
This is part of a sermon I preached from 1 Corinthians 4. In an earlier article I talked about discouragement (Discouraged Pastor?) from 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 and self-esteem (Are you a Crack Pot?) from 2 Corinthians 4:7-13).