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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - The Positive Power of Confidence

Charles Stanley - The Positive Power of Confidence

Charles Stanley - The Positive Power of Confidence
Charles Stanley - The Positive Power of Confidence
TOPICS: Timeless Truth, Confidence, Emotions

Our emotions have a powerful influence upon our life. Either they're gonna control us or we're gonna control them. Usually, when our emotions are controlling us, they're negative emotions. And many people wake up every morning and live in bondage, bondage to emotions such as anger and fear and resentment and hostility and lust and jealousy and uncertainty and unforgiveness, and on and on and on the list goes of people who live in that kind of bondage, not realizing the kind of effect it has upon their life.

And the truth is if you could see someone and see their emotions, you would see them walking around with this huge baggage on their back, on their heart, the baggage of emotions that are tearing away at their insides, leaving them frustrated, stealing from them their peace and their joy and their contentment. Not realizing that these emotions are like poison flowing through the physical system. Because the truth is that our negative emotions have an effect not only upon our emotions, as we would say, but upon our physical body and upon our spirit. And so not realizing the damage that it's doing, oftentimes people live with that baggage.

And in fact, if you try to take some of these attitudes away from them, they would almost feel like they had lost something that belonged to them because they have lived with unforgiveness so long, lived with anger so long, lived with lust so long. Somehow they do not know how to live without it. And yet that is not God's purpose and plan and will for His people. He wants us to have peace and joy and contentment, even in the midst of difficulties and hardships and trials. So, when we think about emotions, usually we think about those negative emotions. But that isn't God's plan. God's plan for us is to think entirely different, to feel different, and therefore to act differently.

So, we begin a series today, and the whole series is about those positive emotions. That is, emotions that empower us, energize us, strengthen us and enable us to do whatever it is that God has called us to do besides just living our life. Now, when we talk about emotions, I wanted to begin today by talking about the first one, and that is the emotion that empowers us, one of those is confidence. Confidence is an emotion that empowers us, energizes us, strengthens us to be able to do and to live the life that God has called us to live. Now, when we talk about confidence, we talk about a strong, bold belief that drives out fear, doubt, anxiety, that drives away worry and leaves us what? With an unshakable sense of assurance.

So when you and I think in terms of confidence, that's what we're talking about. We're talking about a strong, bold belief that drives out doubt, fear, worry, and leaves us with an unshakable assurance. Well, where in the world do we find it? How do we develop it? What is it all about? I want you to turn, if you will, to Philippians chapter four. Because Philippians chapter four, Paul gives us the answer to this idea of the kind of confidence that can leave us with unshakable assurance, even in the midst of the most difficult and trying times of life. Well, this is a wonderful book, the Epistle to the Philippians, because Paul is full of confidence as he talks about what these folks have done for him.

And we want to read the portion of this fourth chapter where he's thanking them and expressing his gratitude for the fact that they helped him when no other church helped him. And they had come to a difficult time where they couldn't help him anymore and now they're helping him again, and this is what he says beginning in this tenth verse, the fourth chapter. He says, "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances as I am. I know how to get along with humble means, I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need". And here's what he says. He says I have learned this. That, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Now, how could the Apostle Paul say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," remembering he's writing this from a Roman prison cell, damp and more than likely dark, at least partially, with no real assurance that he would get out, he says, "I am confident of this very thing". And what is he saying? "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," period. He didn't say, "Unless my circumstances change". He didn't say, "Unless they get better, unless things are altered, unless this, that, and the other". But he says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Now, I want us to look at this verse for a moment because the Greeks had a way of emphasizing something in a sentence. When they wanted to really emphasize it, they put it first. So in the Greek New Testament, what this verse says, "All things, all things I am enabled to do through Christ who is infusing His strength within me. All things I can do". Now, when you first read that, the world would say, "I can do anything, or I can do all things". And you and I have met some people who were rather talented sometimes, and oftentimes rather arrogant and prideful, who said, "I can handle it. Don't worry about it. I can handle it". And it didn't take us long to figure out that they were operating on the basis of self-sufficiency and a strength within them that they felt they could handle anything and everything in life. The only problem with that is God gives us a big, a very big warning about that kind of confidence. But what is Paul talking about here when he says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Well, let's talk about, first of all, what he's not saying. The Apostle Paul is not saying that I can do anything, period. Listen carefully. You and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens us when, listen, when those all things fit into the will of God. Let's put it this way. I can do all things that are the will of God through Christ who strengthens me. This is not some promise that you can just do anything you want to do through Christ because God is not obligated to endue me with power. God is not obligated to, listen, to endow us with strength, to enable us to do anything that's not His will. If something is not His will, God is under no obligation to strengthen us and to enable us and to empower us to do it.

But, listen, anything and every single thing that is the will and purpose and plan of God for your life, God has obligated Himself to be and to do and to provide every single thing we need in order to get it done and to get it done well. That is the promise of God. So therefore, we have a right to be confident. When we understand the basis of that confidence is the indwelling presence of a supernatural God who knows every single need of our life, who has everything at His fingertips to provide for us, we have a reason to be confident. And yet, many of God's people wake up every morning full of bondage, in bondage. Fear, doubt, worry, uncertainty, what about this, suppose I fail here, suppose this doesn't happen, and fear of rejection or fear of failure, worried about things that could happen, most of which probably never happen.

Doubting, listen, doubting that God loves them, doubting the presence of God, doubting the power of God, doubting their own sense of self-worth. I want to ask you: Why in the world should you get up on a single morning, acting and feeling that way when you do not have to? That is all the harassment of Satan. God wants His children to wake up bright. God wants His children to wake up alive. God wants His children to wake up and face the world, listen, to face it with confidence. I can do every single thing I need to do in the will of God today through the indwelling presence of the Spirit and the power of God who strengthens me and infuses His strength within me today. You have the privilege of saying that.

Say, "Oh, I couldn't say that". Why not? "Oh, I couldn't make such a statement as that. I'm not educated, I'm not this, I'm not that, I'm not the other". You know what, circumstances have nothing to do with it. Paul didn't say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me when my circumstances are right". He didn't say that. And I want to ask you: How do you awaken in the mornings? Do you awaken dreading the day? Do you awaken with uncertainties and fears and worries? Or do you awake in the morning confident that the, listen, that the... you listening? Say amen. The God who watched over you all night long and kept your heart beating. You didn't keep it beating. You were totally out of it. He kept your heart beating all night long. He kept your blood flowing through your veins. He protected you all night long. This same God who kept you through the night is the same God who'll keep you in any and every circumstance of life, no matter what.

You say, "But now wait a minute, you don't know my circumstances". You know what, it doesn't make any difference what they are. Listen, the circumstances may be painful. We've all been there. The circumstances may be circumstances that I can't fix and I can't change as much as I'd like to. I'd like to change this person or fix this or heal that or whatever it might be. But you know what, in spite of that, you and I can have confidence. Listen, things may not turn out exactly the way I want them to, but I can live in absolute confidence my God is going to enable me and assure me and strengthen me and undergird me and overshadow me and surround me. He's gonna give me every single thing I need either to walk through this difficult, trying time, or He's gonna give me the confidence in such a fashion that I can walk over it. Whichever way He chooses, but He has promised to be there and to provide us everything we need.

So, when he says here, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," the Apostle Paul, even in this one chapter, he says listen, when you have the presence of God and the peace of God and the power of God and the provision of God, what is it we can worry about? Now, there may be some things I would like to change that God isn't gonna change. Listen carefully, does that mean I'm to lose my confidence? No. My confidence is in almighty God, listen, who knows what's best. My confidence is in a God who does what's best. My confidence is in the God who will provide His best. Sometimes it'll come out exactly the way I wanted. Sometimes it may not. But one thing for certain, the Apostle Paul didn't say I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me when my circumstances suit me. But, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," period, no matter what. You know why? Because he knew that relationship. He had a relationship with God in the Son, in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.

So let me ask you this: Do you have a relationship with God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, that makes it possible for you to awake in the morning and be confident that no matter what you face, God will enable you, no matter what? And so you see, God's people should be people of great confidence, blessed assurance, unshakable by the circumstances of life. Does that mean we won't weep? No, it doesn't mean we won't weep. Does it mean we won't hurt? No, it doesn't mean we won't hurt. Does it mean we won't have trials and difficulties and all kinds of situations and circumstances just like the rest of the world? No, it doesn't mean we won't have those.

Here's the difference. The difference is, look, you and I can look every single circumstance, every difficulty, every hardship, we can look it square in the eye and know it is not as big as our God. It is not as great as our God. It is not as strong as our God. Our God who indwells us has promised us the power to overcome, to be victorious, to triumph no matter what. You have that privilege. That is your position as a child of God. You have the right and the privilege to claim, listen, and to walk in absolute confidence whatever God calls you to do no matter what it is.

Now, so with that in mind, I want us to look at a warning. Here is a very important warning in the scripture. I want you to turn, if you will, to Hebrews chapter ten. Look in Hebrews chapter ten. A good warning for us. Verse thirty-five, look at this, "Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised". Don't, listen, don't throw it away because someone else sent you some negative idea.

Now, what causes us to throw it away? What causes us to lose our confidence? Well, I think there are two things primarily. Number one, when somebody sends us, and oftentimes, you see, sometimes your friends are your worst enemies. They're your worst enemies. Now, they say these things because, well, I'm just telling, and you know, I have your best interest at heart. Well, don't give me any of that negative stuff if you have my best interest at heart. Well, you know, I'm just looking out for you because I don't want you to get hurt. Let me get hurt. In other words, just let God handle my hurts. So, oftentimes it is the result of listening to wrong advice. That's one reason. But a second reason is sin. Sin will short-circuit your confidence. Because what does sin do?

Now, watch this. Sin will cause guilt. Guilt causes us to feel unworthy. And therefore if I feel guilty before God, it's gonna be real difficult for me to have real, genuine, true confidence in God when I feel guilty about something I have done or something I've said. So sometimes, now watch this carefully, sometimes it is sin, guilt as a result of sin. Sometimes it is false guilt. That is, false guilt is a feeling of guilt that I have based on something that has no validity. For example, when Satan says, "Well, why do you think you can do that? Look back yonder in your life. Look what happened back yonder. You remember this and you think God forgave you for that? And what about this over here"? And so what does Satan do? He brings up the junk and the trash that God has forgiven you for. Wiped it out, cleansed you, and made you whole and perfect in His eyes, holy before Him.

And what does Satan want to do? Satan wants to heap up some kind of false guilt on you. Well, now you know, I know you probably can. It's Satan talking now. But, you know, after all, you're not everything you ought to be. Who is? And I mean, so what does he do? He tries to heap up all this false guilt on us. So false guilt will, listen, false guilt will cancel out your sense of confidence and true guilt will cancel it out. So, you don't want to listen to negative attitudes. Now, it's one thing to listen to wise, godly counsel. But wise, godly counsel's not going to, listen, when you're getting wise, godly counsel, you're gonna know it's wise, godly counsel.

When you're getting somebody's attitude, and sometimes that attitude may be out of jealousy. Well, you know, I've never been able to do that. Well, I don't know, I'm not too sure you can handle that. Well, I never had that, so I'm not sure you oughta have something like that. I mean, people do all kind of things to us and they don't even realize what they're doing. I'm simply saying to you that God wants His children to walk in a sense of absolute confidence. Does it mean my confidence will never be shaken? It will only be shaken when my focus is removed from almighty, omnipotent God down to my circumstances. And when I start looking at them and weighing them, listen, weighing my circumstances against my own flesh, against my own innate abilities, against my own sense of self-confidence, that's when I'm gonna lose it.

Now, big question. How do we develop this kind of confidence? By knowing who God is. If I realize that my God is a loving Father who loves me unconditionally and is forgiving and kind and gracious and good. If I realize that my heavenly Father is faithful to keep every single promise He has made. If I realize that my heavenly Father has my best interest at heart and always acts in my behalf for what is best for me, do I not have a right to have great confidence to face anything and everything in life? Yes! Yes, yes, yes! Where does it begin? Knowing God. The second thing that greatly helps build confidence is meditating upon the Word of God. I can tell you that has been one of the most awesome, to me personally, awesome building confidences, methods of building confidence. Not that I set out to build it, but I just look back and realize what great confidence in God had built in me, as I began to search the scriptures and meditate upon men like Joseph and David and Daniel and the rest.

How God worked in their life and what was the outcome when they did what God told them to do. It builds great confidence in your relationship to God. There is a third very important step, and that is drawing near to God in your prayer. Drawing near to God in your prayer. That is, not, listen, not just praying on the run. Spending time alone listening to Him. And as I think of so oftentimes that I've been in difficulties and situations and circumstances and great battles battling for my life, and looking around me and looking at the circumstances and thinking, "God, humanly speaking, there is no way. But God, here's what You said".

Now, watch this carefully because here's what happens. When you and I go to prayer and we bring our big challenge before God, here's what happens to most people. They give God all the details. They tell Him why it looks so bad, and why it looks so hopeless, and why they feel so helpless. And they give Him all of that and ask God to help 'em and get up and walk away. You want God to build your confidence? You get on your face before God and you tell Him all of that. You tell Him how bad it is. You tell Him how hopeless you feel. You tell Him if He doesn't intervene that you don't have a ghost of a chance. And then here's what you do. Having laid out your genuine, heartfelt, gut-level feelings, then you refocus. God, here's what You said. Here's who You are. You said You love me unconditionally. You said You're living and indwelling me. You said You would only act in my behalf that which is good. You said the angel of the Lord encampeth round about me. You said You would fight the battles of those who put their trust in You.

When you get your focus on God, you, listen, and you begin to talk to Him about what you know about Him and you begin to confess your faith and your trust in Him and the fact that He is a God who's never failed. God, You're a faithful God. You have to keep Your promises. Here's what You've said in Your Word. Listen, time you get up off your knees, you have such an awesome sense of confidence, there's not anything out there that can cause you to tremble one single bit. Why? Because what happens? Because as you drew yourself to God in prayer, God enabled you to see your circumstances in the light of the one who's gonna face 'em on the inside of you is this omnipotent God who controls every single circumstance of life. And therefore, because He loves us unconditionally, He has everything under control and only works in our behalf, I don't have to worry about it. I don't have to worry about the outcome and I don't have to fret and I don't have to doubt that things are gonna turn out right. But you see, the key is to focus.

Now, watch this. When I tell Him how I feel, that's one thing. And I walk away having told Him what I think and how I feel and how I hurt. If I walk away then, I walk away with the same stuff I carried in there. But if I say, "Now, God, in the light of who You are and what You have promised and what You have done in the past and what You've promised in Your Word and how You've worked in the saints of old, in the light of that, God, I'm putting my trust in You. How many times have I gotten in the prayer room, or in my study at home and wept and felt hopeless and helpless and looked out yonder and think, "God, it's so far to the end. When will the end ever come? I can't get out there and draw it close to me. I can't change it, I can't fix it. I can't change people's attitudes, I can't fix minds. And be under a big load.

By the time I get through talking to Him about how absolutely fantastic He is, I'm telling you, it's like Kilimanjaro became one grain of sand on the beach. You know why? That's because of who God is. Drawing close to Him in prayer. There's no way for me to tell you, my friend, how very important that is. Knowing who He is, meditating upon His Word, and coming to Him, listen, by yourself. Tell Him, listen, you want to weep? Tell Him. If you're angry, tell Him you're angry. Just tell it to Him exactly like it is. But then don't make the mistake of getting up and walking away. And then why don't you say, "Now, God, why don't You talk? I've said enough. I've said enough, God, why don't You talk? I've said enough".

And you know what happens? I can't tell you how this works except I can tell you this. Something surges within you. Something, and I know what it is. It is the person of the Holy Spirit. What's happening? It is what Paul said. He says when I feel the weakest, that's when I experience the greatest amount of what? Of the power of God, the confidence that I can go at this again. And I can think about times in my life when, day after day after day after day after day, after week after week, after month after month. Somebody says, "Well, how do you handle that"? One day at a time, one experience at a time, one moment at a time, trusting that the almighty God who made me a promise, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". I will strengthen you, I will enable you, I will make it possible for you to walk through this victoriously, keeping your focus, listen, glued and focussed and fastened upon God.

There's not anything in life that can shake the confidence that is based absolutely, totally, and completely on God. When Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," here's a man who is beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, stoned, left for dead, criticized. They tried to assassinate him everywhere he went. And what is he saying? Hm, hm, hm! There is this awesome peace, friends, that passes all human understanding. You wouldn't explain it if I told you. That's what he was saying. You know why? Because this man knew God through the person of Jesus Christ. You know what, he didn't know anything you can't know. Now, listen carefully. Every single one of us has the privilege. Every single one of us has the privilege of waking up every morning saying the same thing.

Thank You, Father. I know that today, because You're indwelling me and because You love me unconditionally, because You're faithful to keep Your promises and You only work in my behalf for what is good for me, I can! I can face this day no matter what and I will face it victoriously. That's our privilege.

Now, here's the catch. You listening? Say amen. That's God's awesome provision for every single one of us. Now, here's the catch. I have to choose to believe that He's who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. If I am willing to make that choice, I can walk in confidence no matter what.
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