“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7 NLT)
God did not give us a spirit of timidity—but as Christians we seem to have picked it up somewhere along the way! Many of us have become tentative in our faith, perhaps full of spiritual doubts we’ve never addressed. So what can we do to develop a confident faith—one that we will want to share with others? Here are four practical areas to help us, even if we naturally tend toward timidity:
1. Knowing the Teachings of the Bible Helps Builds a Confident Faith
Let these words of Jesus, from John 8:32, soak in: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (emphasis mine). Jesus wanted us to be secure in the knowledge that what we believe as his followers really is true. Equally bold, he declared in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Notice the definite article; He wasn’t saying He is a way, truth, or life, but the! This is a knowledge we can rest in—and spread to others.
The apostle Paul added this daring declaration in 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”We need to respect the rights of others to believe as they choose—while helping them understand the many reasons to choose Christ.
The apostle Peter contributed this key exhortation: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). This passage captures the biblical mix of bold assurance of the truth along with the right attitude for talking about it with others: one of humility.
2. Logical Thinking Helps Bolster Confidence
Have you ever been told you’re wrong for thinking you have the truth and need to share it with others? I have. But if you reflect on this for a moment, you’ll realize it’s a bit silly for people to condemn us for thinking we are right—because aren’t they simultaneously thinking they are right in saying we are wrong? Or, broadening the point a bit, who in their right mind doesn’t consistently think that they are right? If a sane person thinks he is wrong, doesn’t he immediately change his thinking and begin to believe what he now thinks is actually right? If so, then doesn’t he once again think he is right and that anyone who contradicts his new belief is, by the very nature of logic, wrong? Clearly, we all think that way.
So we’re not out of line to be confident in our Christian faith—as long as that faith is backed up by clear logical thinking, as well as facts and good evidence, showing that what we believe is based on truth—which leads us to our next point.
3. Evidence Can Increase the Confidence of Your Faith
Many reasons can be given for believing in the truth of the Christian faith. In my book, Confident Faith, I present twenty arguments that form a cumulative case from science, philosophy, history, archaeology, experience, and evidence related to the Bible. Also, Lee Strobel’s powerful book, The Case for Christ, goes much deeper into the historical evidence for the faith, and especially for the truth of the resurrection of Jesus.
After reviewing that barrage of information (and some of the data that supports it), I’d have to agree with the title of another book: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek). I hope this evidence—and the other information, answers, and stories of life change that are peppered throughout this Room for Doubt website—bolsters your faith as well.
4. Deepening Your Relationship with Christ Will Give You a More Confident Faith
My friend Marie Little, widow of the classic Christian author Paul Little, used to remind me, “Mark, keep explaining to people that being a Christian is much more than just accepting a message; it’s getting to know a real person—one whose name is Jesus!”
C. S. Lewis put it like this, “To believe that God—at least this God—exists is to believe that you as a person now stand in the presence of God as a Person…. You are no longer faced with an argument which demands your assent, but with a Person who demands your confidence.”
How does this make us more secure in our faith? It takes us beyond the semi-arid world of evidence and information, as important as those can be, and into the warm embrace of the Heavenly Father who made us, loves us, redeemed us and graciously shares his life with us. It is he who enables our hearts to cry “Abba, Father,” as his Spirit “testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Rom. 8:15–16). When you combine that kind of relational connectedness with the broader supportive data available to us, it’s easy to see how it all comes together to give us an increasingly confident faith—one that will withstand the tests and trials, one that boldly addresses and overcomes doubts, and one that is worth sharing with the people around us.
So let me urge you to deepen your knowledge of God’s Word, sharpen your discipline of clear thinking, get well acquainted with the evidence that supports your faith, and do all you can to strengthen your relationship with God. As a result you’ll be a more confident Christian, and you’ll become a much more effective influence for Christ.
–Mark Mittelberg is an international speaker and the bestselling author of The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (With Answers), Confident Faith, and The Reason Why Faith Makes Sense.