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Shared Confidence

I grew up in a home where many decisions were made out of fear. We limited our contact with others because we were afraid of people. We spent many weekends in the mountains because we were afraid of what might happen in the neighborhood. We avoided opportunities because of the responsibility that went along with leadership. As a result, I struggled with confidence during my adolescent years. I had an internal desire to be a competitive athlete and a successful student. I was afraid, however, of failing and had a strange sense that I didn’t deserve to accomplish what was in my heart.
I determined that my adult life would be different so I set out to discover what could help me be strong in the face of fear. In this context, Haggai 2 sheds some interesting light on what it takes to be confident when faced with significant challenges. The challenge before them was the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. “Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?” (v. 3) Enemies of Israel had torn down the centerpiece of Israel’s history and the task of rebuilding would be resisted by intimidating neighbors. When faced with a daunting challenge, where do you find the confidence to move forward? In Haggai 2, we see the following ingredients:
• Remind yourself you are doing the right thing. Rebuilding the place where God met His people was a critical element in the life of Israel. God’s presence was always the secret of their success and honoring God with a house that was better than any other citizen was vital to their attitude. The people knew without a doubt that this was the right thing to do.
• Remind yourself that God is with you. “. . . I am with you . . . my Spirit remains among you . . . I will fill the house with glory . . .” (v. 4-7) The greatest source of humble confidence is the presence of God Himself. The New Testament echoes this principle over and over as evidenced in Hebrews 13:5, “. . . Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
• Stay busy with the work. Thinking too much about obstacles is the fastest way to paralysis. Life is big and many tasks appear to be impossible. When you get busy doing what you know is right even when you can’t see how it will all work out, things begin to change. Progress raises your confidence and reorients your perspective. Every step forward encourages another step forward. As a result, part of God’s encouragement is “Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD, “and work.” (v. 4)
• Remind yourself of the promises of God. God is an active partner in life. He consistently adds His strength and influence to the circumstances of our lives. Every challenge we face is easy for Him because all His attributes are limitless. He, therefore, utilizes the conditions of our lives to increase our character and influence. At the right time, He then intervenes so that circumstances do not crush us. “But now be strong . . . all you people of the land, declares the LORD, “. . . For I am with you . . . In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations . . . The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house . . . And in this place I will grant peace.” (v. 4-9)
Jesus, thank you for sharing your confidence with us!

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2 Responses

  1. so true! I love this! Going to share it with others!

  2. Thanks Bill, just what I needed. I was starting to give up on something because I was doubting myself and focusing on obstacles.

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