Boast In The Lord January 23rd, 2023

Ecclesiastes 12:13
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

I have a self-confidence problem.
I do.  I see every flaw and weakness I have magnified and highlighted in my memories.  
A friend of mine recently commented that he hoped in heaven one day he would be able to see a “highlight reel” of all his great (high school) sports moments.  The comment made me laugh…and also realize that I was more likely to remember the shots I missed than the times I succeeded.  Not just in sports, but in life.  I’m much more likely to remember, in living color, every detail of that thing I shouldn’t have said/done/thought, or conversely, that time I should have spoken up/acted/thought through.  In other words, my mental “highlight reel” rolls more like a “lowlight reel.”  
So imagine my shock when I discovered that the root of my self-confidence problem is, in fact, the same as my self-reliance problem; (and that of my self-esteem problem, too, come to think of it!)
It turns out that the problem I have is not in the “confidence” or the “reliance” or the “esteem.”  The problem is in the “self.”
Philippians 3:3 reminds us that “we [who have been reborn from above] are the [true] circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh….”  The interesting thing about this verse is that it doesn’t say this is how we SHOULD be…it says this is who we ARE. 
The world tells us we need more self-confidence (alternatively known as “confidence in the flesh”).  We don’t.  We need more God-confidence, more God-reliance, more God-esteem.
Which brings me to my chosen verse:  
“The end of the matter; all has been heard.  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13
This verse captivated me when I read it many years ago.  Think about it.  The WHOLE DUTY of man – therefore the whole purpose for my life – is to fear God and obey Him.  That’s it.  It’s that simple….And also that difficult!
Because we humans have a very strong inherent sense of SELF.  I’m sure that it’s so ingrained that it will take a lifetime – or more, to conquer it.  And it will only be accomplished through a moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour, surrender to the Holy Spirit, laying down of self-issue by self-issue.
When my focus shifts from self, my self-confidence becomes God-confidence, my self-reliance becomes God-reliance, my self-esteem becomes God-esteem and my life moves from self-preservation to God-exultation.  Then my “highlight reel” becomes what it actually should be – not a focus on MY life, but an amazing unshakable testimony of God’s faithfulness.  Then I can truly boast in the Lord.

Heavenly Father, as we daily surrender to You, may we experience more of Your presence and purpose in our lives in 2023.  May our desire be like that of John (the Baptist) who prayed, “less of me, more of You.”  May we moment-by-moment lay down “self” that You might be exalted in us and through us.  May we fulfill our duty – our purpose – to fear You and obey Your commandments with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.  And as we daily become lovers of God rather than lovers of self, may You receive all the glory!  Amen.

Erica Blickens

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