In the movie What About Bob?, Bob’s psychologist gives him a book he wrote called Baby Steps, about taking small steps on the way to a larger goal. Bob then keeps saying things like “Baby steps to the elevator,” until he gets there, but at least for a while, this works. One thing that prevents change is early frustration. People want to accomplish an awful lot in a short amount of time. With their psychological issues, when they revert to the way they were, they often assume their new strategy is a failure and give up. If you are reading this and looking for an instant change, you need to first get your expectations in line with reality. Change does not happen instantly. You cannot magically undo habits that have become ingrained in you over years or decades. It took time to build these beliefs and it will take time to undo them. You must have patience and faith in this program to work. It will work, but it will not cure you instantly. It will not change your life in a quick Saturday afternoon of study. The seeds may be sown there, but they must be watered and tended for you to really bear fruit.
Now, how do you get this confidence? Let’s start with what it is. The world’s definition of confidence says that you believe in yourself and your abilities; in other words, you have the power to get what you want yourself. The goal is achievement. Indirectly, this means the goal is being better than other people. For example, say you want to become rich. Rich is a relative term. $100 here in the US is not that much. In many African countries, it’s more than an average annual wage. So rich means you have more money than most people around you. Same thing applies to wanting to be smart or beautiful or having an important job and being good at it. If you’re not above average in these, you’re failing. The world’s definition of confidence may tell you that’s ok, that you’re still valuable, but it says it’s ok because you will eventually succeed if you believe in yourself. There’s no way around it being achievement-oriented, which means your worth is still achievement-oriented.
The Bible has a different take on it. It says that you are valuable because God made you and chose to love you, enough that He sent Jesus to die for your sins so you could become His adopted sons and daughters. You don’t deserve it and you can never even begin to pay Him back, but you have a new identity if you choose to accept it. In other words, you can’t increase or decrease your value by your actions, achievements, possessions, abilities, looks, relationships, or anything else. There is only your value in Him and no other interpretation or opinion of your self-worth matters.
To get it, the first thing is to know who God really is. Your view of Him has to be right before His view of you will matter to you. If you view Him as vindictive, changing, apathetic, cruel, or in any other way than holy, loving, omniscient, and eternal, then you will dismiss His opinion of you or try to earn a more favorable standing in His eyes. He loves you, right now, as you are. He does not want you to stay there, especially if you’re walking in sin, but He can’t love you more than He does, nor will He ever stop loving you.
This can’t be a head belief, either. It has to be in your heart. The problem is that the heart doesn’t want to change itself. It is selfish to the point of self-destruction. We saw that in the Garden of Eden. We’ve seen it in every single human since. You need God to change your heart, so the first step to seeing Him as He is and loving Him is to ask Him to help you.
Second, you need learn about Him. Study what the Bible says about God. I’m not even talking about what He thinks of you – that will come later – I’m talking about about who He is. King of the Universe, holy, just, loving, infinite, beyond compare or comprehension, omnipotent. Get these things into your heart and a love of God will become far more natural.
A knowledge of God, however, is not enough. Satan knows God better than anyone on earth does, yet he hates Him. You need a love for Him, and that requires knowing how He feels about you. We’ll cover that more in the next post.