February 11, 2016
READ: James 4:13-17
What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that” (v.15).
Each year Lake Superior State University in the US publishes a list of words they believe should be banished because they’re so annoying. Topping their list in 2013 was selfie, a term that received more nominations than any other. Other contenders included twerking, hashtag, and twittersphere. This list of words is a reminder that language is always changing and can persuade, impress, or annoy us.
What words would you like to banish from your life? If James were to make a list, it’s likely he would include self-confidence. After he encouraged believers in Jesus to draw near to God and not to judge others (James 4:1-10), James presented the following characteristics of a prideful person who’s far from God:
He’s self-assertive. “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year” (v.13).
He’s self-centered. “We will do business there and make a profit” (v.13)
He’s a self-made man who couldn’t possibly know what the future holds. “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (v.14)
His boastful self-confidence clouds the reality that his life is limited. He desperately needs a perspective that’s centered on Jesus and affects his entire life (v.15).
While self-confidence in itself isn’t wrong, self-confident boasting reveals a lack of trust in God and dependence on Him. May our confidence spring from the relationship we have with Jesus and all He’s done for us—not what we’ve done or achieved. Only as we humble ourselves before God will we experience godly confidence—the kind that doesn’t need to be banished! (v.10).
365-day-plan: Exodus 15:22-27; 17:1-7
Read Proverbs 19:21, Acts 18:21, and Romans 1:10 to see what it means to have confidence in God and depend on Him.
In what situation(s) do you struggle with boastful self-confidence? How will you replace it with God-honoring trust and dependence?