The church column with Rev Neville Simpson

Rev Neville Simpson.
Rev Neville Simpson.

Confidence is apparently a desirable attribute. You are more likely to find someone attractive if they possess it than if they don’t.

You are also more likely to get a job at interview and have a better social life. If you are confident according to the experts you have faith in your own abilities and a positive outlook on life.

You are also willing to risk disapproval of others because you trust your own judgement.

Being confident has popped up in my life twice lately.

Firstly, while on a training course about shaping and sharing a vision for the future. Yes even we in the church are looking for organisational change and team harmony!

We were told that to achieve this you need to be confident in yourself but (oops I’m not supposed to use the b word!) also confidently and positively sharing the way forward with other people who will then get on board.

The second was a conversation with a person who has just returned from a business trip to Vietnam.

They were staying in a very busy city. Apparently, the roads were packed with traffic particularly mopeds and motor cycles loaded with various products and large numbers of people. ]

One moped had a rider and five goats on it!

The hotel gave advice on crossing the road in the incessant traffic ‘step out with confidence’.

Great advice for others but more difficult to apply to self. Having, stood by the road for quite a while and seeing no break in the traffic they finally came to the conclusion that unless they stepped out ‘with confidence’ they were going nowhere.

So after a deep breath they stepped into the road and hey presto the traffic screeched to a halt for them to cross. The hotel was correct in their advice.

It appears confidence also helps us to trust, take risks and to progress.

I have been pondering for a while the challenges facing Christians in sharing our faith with through word and deed in a country where the Church faces not persecution but indifference from the vast majority of the population.

It feels like the Church has lost its confidence in sharing with others the wonderful way God transforms lives and the benefits of following Jesus.

So how do we who are not naturally confident people achieve this seemingly essential state?

Pentecost is the time when the first disciples are transformed from cowering; frightened insecure people into bold, outgoing fearless people.

Suddenly they confidently started sharing about Jesus Christ with anyone who would listen and the church established and grew at a prodigious rate.

Their confidence came not from a self-development programme but from God.

Their confidence was not in their own ability but in Jesus Christ who had risen from the dead.

A great story even an inspiring one but what has that to do with us today?

Well when Jesus promised to send the power of God the Holy Spirit to them he also promised it to us today.

Christians believe in the ability of God to transform us and through us the world for the better.

The challenge ahead isn’t faced in our ability but in God’s ability and His promise to be with us so let’s ‘step out with confidence’ in God and share his love in the world.