May 272014 12 Responses

The Most Confident Christians

The most confident Christians may not be Christians at all.

Some confess their Christianity without any evidence of doubt. They shout their convictions, boast of their beliefs, and judge anyone who dares to disagree.

For many, these confident Christians are the poster children of faith.

Yet I often wonder if they truly know Jesus. (See: What I Mean When I Say ‘You Are a Sinner’)

While a Christian can be confident in Jesus, the teachings of Jesus do not give birth to self-confidence. And the ways of God are so unlike what comes natural to humanity that a Christian stands in constant surprise of the nature of God and what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

But some who claim to be Christians do not seem to have this sense of wonder.

They do not seem to be surprised by Jesus. They speak of him as though he is exactly what they expect him to be.

Their politics are his politics.

Their frustrations are his frustrations.

He loves what they love and hates what they hate. (See: Why We Don’t Like Grace)

They are so confident it never crosses their mind to think they could be wrong. They never change their opinions, never doubt their convictions, and are never surprised at what the Bible commands.

From where does this confidence come? Is it born of years of study and Biblical understanding? Is it a byproduct of a deep prayer life? Is it the result of a heart powerfully transformed by the gospel?

No.

The confidence is not born from a deep understanding of the Christian faith but from a total ignorance of the Christian faith.

They don’t doubt because they haven’t studied.

They don’t question because they haven’t searched.

They don’t struggle because they haven’t truly encountered God.

They are confident because they have created a pseudo-Christianity. Instead of choosing to follow Jesus, they have chosen to create a faith in their own image. (See: A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will)

It might outwardly resemble some aspects of the Christian faith, but at its core, it is foreign to the gospel.

One characteristic of a true follower of Jesus is someone who is consistently challenged and surprised by Jesus.

He loves who we don’t love.

He commands what we do not desire.

He challenges us at the very core of who we are.

Show me someone who is confident about every aspect of faith and how it applies to their lives and I’ll show you someone who has probably never truly encountered God.

Someone can be confident about their eternal security.

They can be sure of God’s love for them.

They can be certain of the basic elements of faith. (See: Three Lies Christians Tell Themselves)

Yet there must be something which confuses them, someone they are challenged to love, some opinion they have changed, some tension between a political belief and a religious belief.

Where there is no tension there is probably no Christian faith.

God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Whenever we become a follower of Jesus, we begin a life-long transformation process of becoming like him. At times this is easy, but most of the time it is a gut-wrenching, life-altering challenge to every thing we think we know about life. In nearly every circumstance we are forced to change our opinion, attitude, or concept about what we thought we knew.

If we feel no tension in the transformation process, we are probably not becoming more like Jesus. We are likely trying to make him like us.

Confidence is not a certain sign of faith. As a matter of fact, it is often a symptom of someone who believes they are a follower of Jesus but they are actually simply trying to follow themselves. (See: God Shows Up In Unexpected Places)

They claim the Christian faith, but their beliefs hardly align what what Jesus taught.

The most confident Christians may not be Christians at all.

12 Responses to The Most Confident Christians
  1. Nathan Ransil Reply

    Well said Kevin! This is really good stuff, and has something for all of us to consider.

  2. Christine Reply

    Your message ‘ the most confident Christians’ is so encouraging.
    My life has been turned upside down in the last couple of years! I thought I knew & experienced what forgiveness, grace, love, hate meant but I was so challenged again…
    I’m only sure that without God life is meaningless. Thank you. Your messages are always very encouraging & spot on.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thank you Christine and thanks for reading. I think the Christian life is one of continually thinking we have it only to find out there is so much more to it.

  3. betty5ue Reply

    Slight disagreement. I gave my heart to the Lord at age 4. I have been studying the Bible in earnest since I could read. No, Jesus doesn’t surprise me at all. I occasionally surprise myself and have to realign myself with Him, but He is no surprise. He is constant; I am volatile. He loves everyone (why would that surprise me?) I have to work at it. Does that mean I always like what I know to be the commands of the Bible? Not at all. Doesn’t surprise me, just challenges me to grow. Does Jesus agree with me politically? No, I agree with Him. His word has clear guide lines for right and wrong and I constantly try to align with that, not the other way around.

    So, though I agree that most who sound overly confident probably haven’t really met the Almighty, there are some of us who, though not confident in ourselves, sound like it because we are confident in Christ.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      betty5sue, it might just be a semantical difference, but I’m shocked by Jesus nearly every time I preach about what he said. I agree he is constant and I’m the one who has to change, but his words are so surprising–blessed are the poor in spirit, forgive 7 times 70, and so on. It surprises me that he loves everyone because I struggle to love just someone. At nearly every turn, he acts in a way I would never expect. That is why he surprises me.

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  10. Neil Bradshaw Reply

    Seems like I am reading this blog at least 3 years after others – but delighted to read this. Feel uneasy when people say they “Know Jesus well”. How can I claim that when he does constantly surprise me. Yes Jesus did love everyone He met, but He his interactions with them are so different to how I would interact with them, He would do things that dont fit in with my definition of love. He is gentle with the weak and has little regard for the strong. I am the complete opposite – gentle with the strong and little regard or time for the weak…. This is one of the many reasons I need to follow Him.

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