We are taking a break for the summer until futher notice.

(Friday 02/22/08) Woman of Excellence Part 4- Confidence

Part 4 - Confidence
Proverbs 31:10-31

What does a confident woman look like? Some might say that she stands very tall with her head held high. Her steps are sure and steady. She speaks with assurance. Others might say that she attains highly respected positions in society and managers others well. Actually, we could be describing Ruth, Esther, or Deborah from biblical days, many of our First Lady's, or maybe even significant women in our own lives.

General Definition:
Confidence - to be fully assured; certain; bold; secure

Key Verses:
(Proverbs 31:21,25)

What are these verses saying about this confident woman?
*she was without fear or anxiety
*she was well-prepared; there were no surprises
*she had a strong, healthy self-esteem
*she had a sense of humor
*she was unencumbered in her inner being Doesn't this sound a lot like "peace" -- with herself, her family, her surroundings, and her God?

One Key Truth:
*Abide in Christ

To abide means to continue, to remain, to stand fast. 1 John 2:28 says "And now, dear children, continue in Christ, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming."

How do we get it?
There are three essential factors to abiding in Christ which will give us the internal peace and external confidence we all deeply long for.

First of all, we need to belong to Jesus. There are many people in the United States who profess to be a Christian. After all, this is a "Christian nation", and they go to church, give to the poor, live a relatively good life. They believe that if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, then they will go to heaven. We are told, however, that there is only one way to heaven -- that way being through Jesus. John 14:6 says "I [Jesus] am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me [Jesus]". To belong to Jesus, to be a part of God's family means that I realize there is nothing I can do on my own to make myself good enough, righteous enough for God. "All have sinned and fallen short of the righteousness of God" (Romans 3:23). I deserve to die. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). But God loved me so much even when I was a sinner, He provided a way to reconcile me -- to bring me back into oneness or harmony with Him. That way was through the death of His very own Son. Jesus died in my place so that I might live. I must simply accept His finished work for me. "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Now that we are sure we belong to Jesus, we need to walk in Him. John 15 explains this concept through the use of a word picture -- if a branch intends to grow and bear fruit, it must remain attached securely to the vine; and if it wishes to bear much fruit, it must be pruned. This same principle applies to our spiritual life. How? First, I must choose (by an act of my own will) to stay firmly attached to the vine -- Jesus Christ (John 15:4-5). Second, I must feed continually on God's Words (John 15:7). Third, I must be obedient to His Word and direction in my life (John 15:10-11). Lastly, I must allow Him to prune (remove all the things which hinder growth) and purify (cleanse) my life (John 15:2-3).

Both of these steps (belonging to Jesus and walking in His ways) require that we trust in God. When I trust in something, it means that I believe in it to the point that I am willing to rest or depend completely on it without fear of the outcome. Likewise, I should have complete assurance that God (someone I cannot see or fully understand) has plans for me that are good, right, and wrapped in love to the point that I am willing to follow Him without question or fear. Does this happen over night? No, we learn to trust someone as we spend time with them and get to know them. When we are reading God's Word and allowing Him to commune with us and teach us through the Holy Spirit within us, we will begin to develop this unshakable trust.

Enemies that rob confidence:
*Fear. Generally, fear is the anxiety or agitation we feel when there is a threat or presence of danger. We may become uneasy, apprehensive, or worried about what could happen. A healthy fear may keep us out of harm's way; but a gripping fear will keep us from trying something new or finishing what we have started.
*Unbelief. We all need something or someone we can hold securely to regardless of the circumstances. If this element is missing, we will fold when the storms of life buffet against us.
*Lack of preparation. Remember the day you went to school without finishing your homework? You probably sat in the back of the class wishing you were invisible. And your mind was probably screaming, "Please, please don't call on me!" It was such a relief when the bell rang! If we have not adequately prepared ourselves (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually), we will be anxious instead of confident.
*Poor self-esteem. God tells us throughout His Word that each of us is somebody special to Him. He created us, and He knew us by name before we were even born (Psalm 139). If we do not see ourselves as God sees us, we will be devastated whenever we are rejected or unsuccessful or compared to others.

Am I willing to pay the price?
Our Proverbs 31 woman was confident because she had adequately prepared her household for the future. She was confident because she had prepared her inner self with strength and dignity. Therefore, she could "laugh at the days to come".

My friend, if you desire to be clothed in confidence, you will need to...
*have a growing relationship with God, the Father, through Jesus Christ
*spend time reading and studying His Word
*see yourself through God's eyes
*walk in obedience to His commands

If you are willing, you will be able to say as the psalmist, "Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident" (Psalm 27:3). With God for me, who can be against me! Hold your head high, my friend, and walk in the strength of your Father!

Closing Thought to Ponder:
"Nothing on the exterior can touch or change that inner sanctuary -- your heart, His dwelling place -- unless you let it. And God, who loves you very much, has tailor made your outer life -- your circumstances, your relationships -- to pressure you into becoming that beautiful woman He's planned for you to be."Anne Ortlund"
The Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman" page 124

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