Guest Author: Andy Brewster
Article originally published in "Ichthys Magazine" (no longer available).
So… This isn’t exactly what I was asked to write about… Nope, I was asked to write something about “instilling self confidence in teens,” but the more I thought about it the more I wondered… Do we as forgiven sinners, wretched men and women if you will, have any business being “self” confident?
Make no mistake about it – we can be confident. We can be confident in God’s existence, His love for us, confident in our salvation through obedience to Christ, even in the gifts/talents/abilities/skills that God has given us, etc. But can I as an individual be a “self” confident Christian?
You see… “I” no longer exist. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ live in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20 ~ NASB). Furthermore, “the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer liver for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ~ NASB). And finally Christ said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23 ~ NASB). Based on these verses I find it hard to imagine a “self” confident Christian – not one that God is very pleased with anyway.
Instead let me suggest that parents, youth leaders, and Christian adults in general need to stress identity in Christ. Adults need to not only stress this to teens, but more importantly they need to display it within themselves. Generally, we accumulate confidence through what others think about us. We dress, speak, work, groom, and even walk based, at least partial, on what we believe other deem to be acceptable, successful, or cool. When we fail in one or more of these areas, or any number of other areas, we are often looked down upon by those who succeed. This brings about a lack of confidence.
Conversely, if we recognize that God loves us unconditionally we can be confident that no matter what we do, God will always be there for us. This isn’t to say that we don’t have to do things to be acceptable in God’s sight. However, unlike “friends” who turn against us when we fail in an area and will never accept us again, God will ALWAYS welcome us back with open arms. People are fickle, they change their minds too much, God is constant. He loves you as much today as He did yesterday and no more than He’ll love you tomorrow. That consistency breeds confidence that can only be found in an identity in Christ.