There’s a song in The Sound of Music when Maria, guitar in hand, strides from the bus up to her new job as governess to 7 children. She wavers between confidence and fear:
“Oh, I must stop these doubts, all these worries
If I don’t I just know I’ll turn back
I must dream of the things I am seeking
I am seeking the courage I lack”
The conclusion of the song is that “I have confidence in me” but there’s an aside “Oh help” as she looks through the big iron gate to the massive house. That’s very truthful: Sometimes there’s a gap between what we profess and what we feel. It’s well caught by the Hebrew word for confidence, “Bittakon,” which has both active and passive forms. The active refers to strength of purpose (self-confidence), but the passive relates to quiet trust and assurance (in another).
There’s a section in Hebrews 10:22-25 which follows Maria’s journey from the bus, and well illustrates the difference between passive and active “Bittakon.” Here’s the passage:
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”
The first way to bridge the confidence gap is to spot the words OUR, US and WE. You are not in this on your own.
We have this confidence (v19). We have this High Priest (v21). We have each other(v24,25).
The second point to spot are the “Let us” phrases. We are on this journey together and we have options. Let’s choose wisely.
Let us draw near to God (v22). Let us hold this hope unswervingly (v23). Let us stir up one another to love and good deeds (v24), and not neglect meeting together regularly (v25).
This isn’t a sort of mutual hyping-up (like football players in a huddle yelling “TEAM”). It’s a cool, rational analysis of both problem and solution.
Let us draw near to God because we need cleansing.
Let us hold the hope unswervingly because God is faithful.l
Let us stir up one another to love and good deeds and not neglect meeting together regularly because we need the encouragement of fellowship.
Together in the Lord is a powerful combination. What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail? (as Eleanor Roosevelt said). God is faithful. He will see it through.
John Calvin said, “There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence.” That’s not the confidence we need: Our confidence is in the Lord! And as is our confidence, so is our capacity.