Friday, September 7, 2012

self-confidence vs Christ-confidence

Death or life. 
Trust and rest or striving and trying.

What is the difference? It seems kind of extreme to say that trying to be more like Jesus leads to death.  Doesn't that go against everything we learned in Sunday School? 

The difference is confidence. Self-confidence says "I am going to try to make myself be more like Jesus" but I in myself do not have what it takes to become more like Jesus. I cannot fashion myself into the person I think God wants me to become. I have a lot of good intentions. Trust me. But it is only the power of the Holy Spirit at work within me that allows me to become the person that God has created me to be. 

I love the words Matt Chandler uses to describe this in "The Explicit Gospel" he writes "For some reason we think although the cross saves from past sin, then we [now] have to take over and clean ourselves up after we are saved. This thinking is devastating to the soul." (emphasis mine) Our religious observances can corrupt the good news of grace because these "efforts are self-reliance instead of God reliance. The idolatry in the human heart always wants to lead us away from our Savior and back to self-reliance." Self-reliance is idolatry.

I've been thinking a lot recently about how it isn't really hard to be a "good Christian" if you just grow up a certain way or have a particular personality. It doesn't require grace or the Holy Spirit. I grew up in a Christian home, immersed in Christian culture. I have a passive, people-pleasing personality. It's not that hard, once you get the proper momentum and trajectory going. So what is the difference between being a "good Christian" who is choosing Christian culture instead of secular culture and being a gospel-centered Christian? I think it's wrapped up in this whole issue of self-confidence vs Christ-confidence.

I am convinced that this is a really a big deal to God because he has been saying this same thing since the beginning of scriptures. From the tower of Babel, to the manna-eating Israelites walking around the walls of Jericho, to Isaiah writing the famous words of Isaiah 64:6 to the Apostle Paul writing the epistles to the GalatiansPhilippians and on and on... this whole deal of "acceptance before God" and the work of sanctification in and through and to GOD and not ourselves.

But what is the difference between self-reliance or self-confience and God-reliance or Christ-confidence when it's two o'clock in the afternoon, on a Friday. The toddler has spilled your iced coffee that you just made, now he's screaming in the play pen while you're try to soak it out of the carpet, emotionally exhausted. Or when the preschooler won't stop asking to watch the movie you rented for family movie night. Or when you're just tired and hot and moody.

I was going to stop there, with that question. Until I re-read the start of this post and the words in the picture. "He asks us to open our hands, receive the gift and then live as if it were true." So I open my  weary heart and hands and receive by faith what I need. "Live as if it were true" not wishful thinking, but an inward unshakable certainty.

I'm stressed-out right now but thank you God that you are going to provide whatever I need to get through this day glorifying you.

I'm frustrated and hurting and confused but thank you God that you are my Healer and my Wisdom. Thank you that you are creating beauty from my ashes. 

I watch out for supernatural wisdom. I look for reminders of what I already know. I remind myself to be grateful. I reach out for the grace I need. I trust that God will give me what I need and is already all I need. 


  1. Oh so true!
    HE gives us EXACTLY what we need!

  2. I found you from your comment to me via a thread on Emily Freeman's instagram. And after coming here I realize I used to follow your blog ages ago through Amy Kannel's blog I think. So funny, and now I discover you today. LOVE the name of your blog. I have a thing for violets. :)


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