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Be Confident in God’s Direction

man standing on top of blocks in the mountains

Confidence is important for all leaders, but it’s particularly important for leaders pursuing God’s mission in the world. Why is confidence so important for biblical leadership?

Because doubt is the opposite of faith, and the Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). 

Too often, the enemy gets us to question the goals God has given us for our ministry. We start asking, “Is this really God’s will? What if I’m wrong?” But we can’t afford to doubt what God is calling us to do. 

A few years back, I saw a Peanuts cartoon that illustrates this perfectly. Charlie Brown is standing on the pitcher’s mound. He says, “A pop fly. I’ve got it. It’s all mine. If I catch this ball, we’ll win the first game of the season.” 

Then he starts praying, “Please let me catch it. Please let me be the hero. Please let me catch it. Please.” 

Then, as the ball comes down, he says, “On the other hand, do I think I deserve to be the hero? Is the baseball game really this important?” 

In the next frame he says, “Lots of kids, all over the world, have never heard of baseball.” Next frame: “Lots of kids don’t get a place to play at all or have a place to sleep.” 

Finally, the ball falls into Charlie’s mitt but then bounces out onto the ground. Linus comes up and says, “Charlie Brown! How could you miss such an easy pop fly?” 

 “I prayed myself out of it,” Charlie Brown says. 

I don’t know about you, but I do that sometimes. I pray myself out of a goal God has given me. As leaders, we need to have the confidence to say, “He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6 CSB). We need to trust that God will give us the strength to do whatever he calls us to do.

Over the years, I’ve seen three things that rob church leaders of confidence.

  1. Experience. When you try something multiple times (and it fails), you’ll often express doubts when God tells you to try it again. You can’t let defeats, old mistakes, and past hurts keep you from leading your church how God wants you to lead it. Bad memories shouldn’t control your future.
  2. Emotions. Many leaders put too much trust in their moods. I hear them say, “I don’t feel like it” or “I feel too inadequate” when facing something God wants them to do. To be the leader that God wants you to be, you must learn to master your moods. Over the years, I had many weekends I didn’t feel like preaching, particularly when I was preaching multiple times a day. But the Bible says, “Be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2 CSB). I always found that the toughest part of ministry was maintaining my emotional bucket—keeping it full of the love, peace, and joy of God, so I would be prepared to give it out.
  3. Excuses. To rationalize means “rational lies.” Rationalizations sound good, but they’re not the truth. We may say that we don’t have the time, the money, or the lay leadership to do what God wants us to do. But don’t let excuses hold you back. 

In the Bible, Joshua struggled with confidence. He felt inadequate in his leadership. God had to keep giving Joshua pep talks. Four times in Joshua 1, God basically tells him, “You can do it!”

  • “Be strong and courageous” (v. 6 NIV).
  • “Be strong and very courageous” (v. 7 NIV).
  • “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous” (v. 9 NIV).
  • “Only be strong and courageous!” (v. 18 NIV, as God encourages Joshua through the Israelites).

Why did God give those pep talks? God realized that fear keeps leaders from leading people where God wants them to go. Your biggest obstacle isn’t the problems that come up or the difficulties that stand in your way. 

It’s fear that keeps you from being all that God wants you to be. 

Trust that God will help you complete what he has called you to do.

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