My wife woke me up last night to tell me there’s a possibility I might be preaching at our home church in a few months. Apart from really loving preaching and feeling quite excited that I might actually be able to do it at our home church. (In the past I’ve only done it at churches we used to go to or at youth camps.) I also felt incredibly nervous. The church we are at, at the moment is very clever – not that the others aren’t – but most people there are graduates and the preaching is very expository and detailed. Whereas I’m used to using themes and blah blah blah…In short – I’m nervous and don’t feel too confident.
Even though at the moment preaching only seems a possibility. I got really nervous. And so this morning as part of my quiet time I lifted it to God and asked for Him to help me with confidence. I wanted to share a little seminar/talk/notes I got. The acronym is i-face (like iphone 😉 )
I – Identity (foundation truths). This is probably why I get so nervous about such things! I base a lot of my identity on how other people perceive me. Therefore if I do a “good” talk people will like me and if people like me then I am a precious person! At least, that’s the reasoning in my head. It’s an achievement & popularity based identity. In truth this is a form of idolatry, idolising myself and others – letting their opinion count more than Gods. The book of Ephesians is a great book to help us understand what God’s opinion of us is. Looking at Chapter 1 we see four foundation truths about ourselves
- V7 We are Forgiven – No matter what we’ve done wrong and what we should have done but didn’t do right, God forgives us and doesn’t count it against us. He can do this because Jesus died on the cross for our sins!
- V4&11 We are Chosen – Although a lot of people have spent a lot of time debating the finer details of what this means, simply it means God wants you on His team. You are good enough (because Jesus died for us on the cross) to be on God’s team. And if you are on God’s side, you have nothing to worry about.
- V5 We are Sons/Daughters – In the gospels Jesus unpacks this in many many ways. But one of my favourite is found in the Gospel of John (15.9) “just as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Think about how much a perfect God loves His perfect Son, Jesus says here that that amount is the same for which He loves us! This is HUGE!!! (See: Rom 8:14-17, Gal 3:23-4:7)
- V12&14 We are instruments for his Glory! – God wants to use us to bring Glory to Himself…This should make us excited.
Therefore our Confidence has to start and be built on these foundation truths! Not on our appearance, achievements and popularity etc. But on what Jesus has done for us.
Because this is longer than I thought it would be I’ll post FACE up tomorrow.
Saying all this, believing these four foundation truths can be difficult especially in a world that does place value on us according to how much we earn, what grades we get, how good looking we are etc. Therefore a really helpful thing we can do is PRAY!!!
In the Gospels we have an account of a Dad whose son is possessed. The Father brings his son to Jesus and says: “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us”.
Jesus responds by saying: “If you can!… Anything is possible for the one who believes.”
The Dad says, and I think in regards to struggling to believe the foundation ID claims we should pray like this: “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Father God, I do believe that I am Your son and, I am forgiven, that you see me as Holy and set apart, that you use me for Your glory, that You love me and have Chosen me. And nothing will change this or separate me from Your love. I believe that Your Word over me is infinitely more important and significant than any other man (including myself), but please help me overcome my unbelief – particularly when I forget it! Amen