Hold your head up.
Confidence is an expression of courage, resolve and determination, in the ability to accomplish a goal. When we are confident, we thrust aside our shortcomings by focusing on our strengths. Confidence can be shaken by intimidation. Fear can stifle optimism and deter our ambitions. People can sometimes make us question our character or abilities. Confidence is a positive outlook regardless of what others think. Our identity is a foundation on which we build our confidence. If we accept and appreciate who we are, we can be unabashed about our beliefs and values. As children of God, who belong to Him, our identity is in Christ alone. He is our solid foundation so that we are not put to shame.
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and Precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes in Him will by no means be put to shame.”(1 Peter 2)
We have a higher calling to live as Christ did. Though He was rejected by men, He was chosen by God. We should not be dismayed by others’ opinion of us. If we have been chosen by God, we are in the best league. God has a purpose for us to be useful in serving Him. When we believe in The Lord Jesus and depend on Him as our chief cornerstone, He upholds us and guides our thinking. Every purpose of God for us is in Christ. As we build on Him, we become acceptable in Him. We are a habitation for Christ’s Presence.
By our obedience and daily sanctification, we cannot be put to shame. He honors those who honor Him. Spiritual sacrifices are works of our inner being that we offer God to use for His Glory: love, righteousness, truth, justice, faith, obedience, mercy, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness and much more. We, who are in Christ, are being made acceptable to God. Our confidence is bolstered by God’s approval. We are a chosen spiritual house, holy priesthood to do what is pleasing to Him.
14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (Hebrews 3).
No one is as perfect as The Lord Jesus Christ. When we believe and obey, we become as He was to The Father—obedient and submissive to God’s Will. As partakers of Christ, we live as He did. He is the mentor we imitate. When we keep His Ways, we remain firmly grounded in Him. As we partake the nature of Christ, our confidence shifts from who we are to Who He is in us. Expressing His Character should motivate us to face each day. The confidence we have is based on who we have become in Christ. We must be eager to live out our faith as partakers of Christ.
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s Will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Peter 3).
Be eager to do good, and be confident that you are well able in Christ to do what is right. If you suffer for doing God’s Will, you are still within God’s Will. As we sanctify and honor Christ in our hearts, we will have no room to stumble. When asked to give an account of our hope and faith, we can respond with confidence. As hard as it is to not become irritated by those who question our faith, we have to respond with humility. It is Christ Who continues to make us who we are meant to be. We are not more valuable to Him than those who get under our skin. He died for everyone’s sins. But for our submission to Christ, we are no different from those who have rejected His Authority. We don’t need to fear those who slander us. We can maintain a good conscience by continuing to do good.
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before Him. 30 It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, Who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in The Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1)
Did you ever think that knowing how imperfect you are was something to be confident about? God didn’t choose to use those who are perfect by worldly standards—wealthy, highly educated or are well-known. God chose those who are looked down upon, disregarded or considered as lower orders to reveal Himself. He chooses the weak or pariah because they don’t question His existence. When one realizes that they have nothing of physical value to offer God from their lives, yet are still chosen, redeemed and set apart, they will appreciate their existence.
We should be excited about who we have become in Christ. When we gave our lives to Christ, we were not polished or refined before God. If we were to tell others about who we really were, many would be appalled. Yet, God chose us for His Glory. Not only does God choose those who fall short of the world’s expectations, but also those He is underwhelmed with because they are sinners. However we slice it, we are not remarkable. But for Christ, we have nothing to be proud of. Be confident as Christ’s chosen, in spite of your frailties. God has set His seal of approval on you, regardless of who you are. He is no respecter of persons. God uses those who are considered garden-variety to confound the haughty. He will use those who are willing to know Him and learn from Him. We should only boast of the work of Christ in us. And we should never look down on others regardless of their station in life. He is our wisdom, not measured by academic achievements; but by righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
35 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him The Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the Glory of His Father with the holy angels.”(Mark 8)
Most of us want to feel like we belong within groups of people that we spend time with. Unfortunately, we will not be accepted by everyone. We don’t have to try to fit in where we may not be welcome. There are people who don’t share our values and are uncomfortable to be around. Though we may try to get along with everyone, we don’t have to try to impress everyone. We have to be content with who we are, by not trying to become what others would like us to be. Don’t lose your soul for another’s approval, by forfeiting your principles, for their accolades. Don’t be ashamed of your identity in Christ or His Ways. Be willing to lose this life to gain His Life in you.
We deny Christ by living as though we don’t know Him. There’s a distinction between Christ’s followers and those who are not. Those who are ashamed of Him will deny His Presence in their lives. They will do so by conforming to the world’s expectations, letting their guard down and participating in what is against Christ’s Teachings. In this adulterous and sinful generation, as Christ put it, is no place to sacrifice your soul. It is not worth forfeiting your soul for those who don’t have any regard for theirs. If you lack the confidence to live for Christ, you lack the courage to preserve your soul. Don’t succumb under the pressure to impress others, at the expense of eternity. If you are not ashamed of The Lord Jesus, He will honor you before His Father. The Lord Jesus will be ashamed of all those who play into the hands of those who have rejected Him.
Through You we will push down our enemies; Through Your Name we will trample those who rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. 7 But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us. 8 In God we boast all day long, and praise Your Name forever (Psalm 44).
Don’t put your hope sorely on your strength, experience or human means. Put your hope in Almighty God. He is our shield, strong defense and victory. By His Mighty Name, He will save us from those who rise against us. If you put your confidence in God, you will not be overcome by your enemies. God will rescue and fight for those who hope in Him alone. Those who trust in God’s Provision will not be put to shame. In Him alone we can boast of victory and do so all day long.
15 For thus says The Lord God, The Holy One of Israel: “In returning and resting you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not, 16 and you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”— Therefore you shall flee! And, “We will ride on swift horses”— Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!” (Isaiah 30)
By repentance and returning to The Shepherd of our soul, we are reconciled to God. First things first—we repent, before we inquire or seek Him for our needs. We shall find rest in His forgiveness, and our souls will be saved from the consequences of sin. Spiritual matters precede the physical ones. We can be quiet in His Presence, by not worrying and fretting about the issues that are weighing us down. Our confidence in God Power will be our strength. But if we choose to face our trials without Him, we will not succeed. If we don’t seek His counsel, before we go on to face adversity, we will encounter difficulties.
13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well (Psalm 139).
How often do you look at yourself in the mirror and think that you are the marvelous work of God’s Hands? Don’t linger before the mirror, staring at the things you don’t like about your looks. You are the very design God intended when He formed you. Praise God that you are wonderfully made. You are not just amazing, but fearfully made; be awestruck by who you are. Let your soul know full well that you are marvelous, wonderful, and a masterpiece of praise to your Maker.
If we think of all the times we have fallen short of expectations, we would have a dim view of ourselves. If we are in Christ, we are God’s chosen, warts-and-all, so that He does a marvelous work in us. He will use us to show forth His Power, if we are willing to put aside our abilities for His. Regardless of what others may think of us, we can live our faith boldly by not denying our identity in Christ. Our confidence is in the One Who dwells in us. We are a wonderful and fearful work of God’s marvelous design. If we are accepted in The Son of God, we have been approved and qualified for God’s Purpose. We belong to the household of God, and we will not be put to shame. He will see to it that He equips us with the right character and resources to do His Will. Therefore, boast in Christ alone.
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him (1 John 5).