Do you have what it takes? Do you worry about your inadequacy? Do you have an accurate assessment of your life? Have you found the secret of having confidence in any situation?
Many people (perhaps most) are clueless about who they really are. One of the great secrets of the apostle Paul’s success in life and ministry was his accurate understanding of himself, gained at the feet of Jesus Christ. His second letter to the Corinthians contains a glorious example:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NASB).
Paul’s biblical assessment of his life gave him a balanced but full confidence. He was neither excessively timid about his abilities nor overly proud. He had a proper, healthy view of his life and abilities because his self-confidence was not rooted in himself, but in the sufficiency of Christ.
Our Source of Adequacy
Everyone wrestles with a sense of inadequacy. We cover it with all kinds of strategies, but at our core most of us wonder, “Do I have what it takes?”
Paul saw himself as adequate for any situation. But this was not grounded in hubris or pride. It was rooted in a well-grounded, time-tested faith. He believed that he could “do all things through Him [Christ] who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
It was God and God alone who gave him this adequacy, and he had seen God provide, protect, direct, and use him numerous times in every conceivable situation.
So his confidence grew. He could walk into the next circumstance of life knowing that it might be extremely taxing and incredibly hard, but that Christ in him was enough.
Weak but Strong
Paul’s goal was not to make others think he was capable (which is where most of us live). Exactly the opposite.
In fact, he often spoke of his complete weakness without Christ. The great secret of his confidence began with his clear understanding of his sinful depravity and the inadequacy of his humanity—his “flesh,” as he often called it.
But the other, most important side of the equation was his belief in the sufficiency of the indwelling Christ in his life, and in any life that was open to Christ’s entrance. His passion was to show others how to live through continual dependence on Christ.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives 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).
Christ made Paul adequate, and he knew it full well and proclaimed it humbly and faithfully, which placed the credit for this miracle where it rightfully belongs.
Christ can do the same for anyone. Our problem is never a lack of self-confidence, but a lack of God-confidence.