Thursday, March 12, 2009

Philippians 3 -- Confidence

Yesterday the focus was on ambition and humility, which leads naturally to a conversation on confidence. A fine line exists between appropriate confidence and over-confidence. To describe the line is difficult, yet when the line has been transgressed, we know it. In this chapter Paul is not telling us it is wrong to be confident, rather he is telling us we must have confidence in the right things. Hence we walk into Paul's world of dualism, the physical or carnal life, and the spiritual or eternal life.

I understand Paul's distinction between the two, and it is true as well as important. However, the dualism can work to create a false barrier between them. Our physical life and spiritual life are impossible to separate. Wherever our physical life, there to is our spiritual life, and wherever our spiritual life there to is our physical life. All together, we simply have life. In this life we are to be confident, but not of our station in life or in the abilities we have. No our confidence should originate from outside ourselves.

Confidence in the flesh as Paul calls it is a very faulty confidence. No matter who we are, even Bill Gates, can find another person who has greater reason for fleshly confidence. It is a game no one can win. As is winning was the point. So what is the point? That we would look to God for our confidence and direction. We work hard, and toil long, but for what? What is it that we are chasing through this confidence?

If we are chasing anything other than God, we are chasing the wrong things. Interestingly enough, when we chase things other than God, we can never seem to catch them. When we chase after God, God allows us to catch the perfect relationship that is God. So if you feel like you are always chasing, chasing with the confidence of human ability, but never catching up, perhaps your confidence has been misplaced.

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