How many of you looked in the mirror this morning before you came here?
Why did you look in the mirror?
What did you see?
Did you see anyone you know?
Did you like what you saw?
I looked in the mirror this morning and all I saw some old guy there…and then I realized that I was the old guy there…and not my father.
Today’s message is “Confidence Found in Him”
What is confidence?
What do you think confidence is?
One definition is, “To feel as if you can live boldly without fear of the past or the future”
Would you describe yourself as confident? Let’s have a vote.
Who thinks that they are confident?
Those of you who thought you could escape by not giving an answer have already answered.
I would never describe myself as a confident person…so then why am I up here talking to you about confidence? Because over the years I have learned to be more confident than I once was…and to share what I have learned from the Bible and from other Christians.
When I was young my father used to lecture me, and one of the things he always told me was, “Do the thing you fear”
I used to hate hearing this…do the thing you fear…because I was afraid to do what I feared. After all…if I wasn’t afraid, then I would probably be doing whatever it was that I wasn’t supposed to be afraid of.
Yeah. I really hated hearing this in my father’s lectures because it usually meant I was going to have to do something I did not want to do.
How many of you here know how to swim? How old were you when you learned how to swim? I didn’t learn how to swim until I was 12 years old. All my friends knew how to swim…even little kids…I mean the really little kids…they knew how to swim…but I didn’t.
Deep water and swimming was something I was afraid of…I was terrified of deep water. Anyway, one summer a new community swimming pool was built just down the road from where I lived, and of course my parents registered me for swimming lessons. Yuck!
I quickly learned to hide somewhere when swimming lesson time came…and my brothers and sisters usually learned where to find me…probably because they delighted in telling Mom where I was…and Mom would come and drag me off to swimming lessons.
A day finally came when the swimming instructors informed us that our lesson would only be in the deep end of the pool…now you'll learn why swimming pools have a high fence and a locked gate…it’s to keep kids from escaping.
Eventually I was coaxed into the water, but there was no way I was ever letting go of the edge of the pool. A few days later I was able to swim across the width of the deep end with the help of a styrofoam board. By the end of the summer I was able to swim.
Last summer I went swimming…and for a few moments went out into deep water. I still don’t like being in deep water where I can’t touch the bottom…but I still have enough confidence to do it.
The Bible tells us the truth about the people mentioned in the Bible. Did you know that one of the great leaders of all time, lacked confidence?
Moses. (If you have your Bibles, then open them to Exodus 3:10 and follow along)
God told Moses, “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10) Today that would probably be like sending Moses to the President of the United States without an invitation.
And Moses replied, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:11) What Moses was saying is, “Me? I‘m a nobody. How am I going to get past the CIA guards?”
And God said, “I will be with you.” (Exodus 3:12)
Moses replied, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me “What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13)
And God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I am has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14)
Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.” (Exodus 4:1)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2)
“A staff.” He replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”(Exodus 4:3)
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.
Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. (Exodus 4:4)
Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been good at speaking. Not in the past and not now. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4: 10) Meaning, I’m not a smooth talker. Here is the key issue: Moses did not have confidence in his ability to speak.
The Lord finally said, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:12)
But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 4:13)
Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite. I know he can speak well.” (Exodus 4:14)
The interesting point here is that God did not disagree with Moses when Moses said he could not speak well. God just said, “I know your brother can speak well.”
God said, “He (Aaron) will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.” (Exodus 4:16)
We know Moses went and did what God commanded…and throughout history Moses has been remembered as a great leader. From what we know in the Bible, Moses never became a confident speaker but…Moses was one of the few people God chose to converse with, as the Bible says, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)
The confidence that Moses had was that God would be with him.
What is the difference between confidence and arrogance?
Confidence is, “to feel as if you can live boldly without fear of the past or the future”
Arrogance is, “Exhibiting great disdain for others; an attitude of superiority and dislike.”
Well the Bible also tells us about a prince who wanted to be king…but never quite made it. Absalom.
Who was Absalom? He was one of King David’s sons. The Bible also tells us a few things about Absalom.
“In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him. (II Samuel 14:25) He was Mr. Universe; he had a perfect body.
The Bible also tells us that Absalom had wonderful hair on his head “Whenever he cut the hair of his head…he would weigh it, and its weight was about 200 shekels” about 2.3 Kgs…you can tell we’re not related…but these traits did not make Absalom arrogant.
What Absalom did is what made him an arrogant person. Of course having the right appearance made it easy for him…but a person does not have to have great looks to be arrogant. Let’s take a look. (II Samuel 15:1)
“In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. (II Samuel 15:1) This was certainly one way to attract attention.
“He would get up early in the morning and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What city are you from?” He would answer. “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” (II Samuel 15:2) Absalom started intercepting people on the way to see the king…his father…King David
“Then Absalom would say to him “Your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you. (This of course was not true) And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! (This meant king) Then everyone who has a complaint or a case could come to me and I would see that he would get justice.” (II Samuel 15:3-4)
“Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (II Samuel 15:6)
For four years Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel and Absalom made plans to take over. His father, King David, learned of the plans and he fled with his supporters. What resulted was a civil war with the armies of David doing battle with the armies of Absalom.
The Bible tells us that events did not go well for Absalom. “The army of Israel was defeated by David’s men and the casualties that day were great…about twenty thousand men.” (II Samuel 18:7) That was no small skirmish. And it only got worse for Absalom.
“Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.” (II Samuel 18:9)
Not a pretty sight…hanging in midair from tree, his head stuck in the branches, in sight of his enemies…but not dead.
“So he (Joab) took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree.” (II Samuel 18:14)
Absalom. This was the guy who had just about everything…and then lost it all because of his arrogance.
People can be arrogant in small ways too…I have been guilty of this.
While I may have been afraid of deep water and swimming, I was never afraid to go walking in the wooded wilderness areas of eastern Quebec that border northern Maine. One day I wanted to go fishing, and to reach the bogs it was necessary to walk along the railway track about a mile and then go into the woods and cross through about a half mile of forest.
My grandfather always warned me not to go alone, take a compass, and tell someone where I was going. No big deal…I’ve been there before…you’d have to be stupid to get lost. So I went alone, didn’t take a compass and didn’t tell anyone where I was going.
I started by following a trail that had become over-grown. Soon afterward I lost the trail and couldn’t find it. For a while I didn’t even realize that I had lost the trail. No problem I thought…I’ll just keep going until I come out in the clearing on the other side. So I kept going…and going…and getting scratched and poked by the brush…shouldn’t be too much longer until I reach the clearing…I know it’s there…I’ve been there before.
After another half hour of stumbling through the trees I stopped…“God help me. I’m lost” And I prayed.
And you know what! As soon as I finished praying and looked up, I was no longer lost. Through an opening in the trees I spotted the telephone wires that followed the railway…and I came out of the woods at the railway about a quarter mile from where I had started. Even though I was convinced I had been walking in a straight direction, I had traveled in a big half circle.
If I had not stopped to pray at that particular spot, then I would not have seen the telephone wires. God’s word is true and only when we stop to focus on God do we find our way in life.
Many years passed before I ever admitted to anyone that I had been lost in the woods.
This morning I would like to share with you something that I wish someone would have shared with me when I was heading into my teens.
“A person’s attitude toward himself has a profound influence on his attitude toward God, his family, his friends, his future, and many other significant areas of his life”
Let me repeat this statement and make it a little more personal,
“Your attitude toward yourself has a big influence on your attitude toward God, your attitude toward your family, your attitude toward your friends, your attitude towards your future, and many other significant areas of your life.”
When the most attractive and most popular students on a certain campus were asked if they were satisfied with their basic appearance, over 95 percent replied that they were not. It was discovered that they thought that if what they saw in the mirror was an example of God’s love and creativity for them, then they really could not trust him with their future.
A major cause of a lack of confidence in God is a lack of acceptance of yourself.
Following are the Ten Unchangeables. These are 10 things about you that you cannot change.
2. Time in history
6. Birth order
7. Brothers and sisters
8. Physical features
9. Mental capacity
10. Aging and death
Rejecting one or more of the ten “unchangeables” is really an act of resisting God’s grace. The result is pride, because the unchangeables… or defects if you see them that way…were designed by God to produce humility so He would give more grace.
Again, a major cause of a lack of confidence in God is a lack of your acceptance of yourself
Here are some of the signs:
- I despise myself
- I feel like I’m a fake
- I see God as disgusted with me
- I discount my positive qualities
- I brag about my flaws
- I feel I’m not worthy of any praise
- I sabotage my own potential success
- I hear criticism of what I do as criticism of who I am
If you are ungrateful to God about the way he made you, then your ungratefulness is going to interfere with all the other areas of your life.
You can ask God to forgive you for being ungrateful about the way he made you and then you can thank God for making you the way you are. The choice is yours. Learn to accept you for who you are. It may take some time though.
How many of you looked in the mirror this morning before you came here?
Why did you look in the mirror?
Who did you see?
Do you like whom you saw?
Message for the young people
March 25 2007
March 25 2007
The Oddblock Station Agent