I recently listened to a Bill Johnson message on confidence and it got me thinking about the difference between confidence and arrogance. Personally, I have struggled with a lack of confidence both in myself and in what the Lord wants to accomplish through me, so this message really intrigued me. Bill made the point that oftentimes confidence and arrogance can look the same. It’s difficult to tell the difference from the outside. That’s why it is important for us not to judge other believers, as we cannot see their heart. We don’t know if the confident facade of the well-groomed and attractive gentleman on stage at church is confidence or really just arrogance. We don’t know because we cannot see the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” As I have thought about what the difference really is, I believe it has to do with the condition of our hearts.
The word confidence literally means “full trust”. As a believer, we can have full trust in our God and what He says about us as well as what He says He will do. Paul says in Philippians 1:6 that “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” In other words, we can be sure that God is faithful and true, which means we can trust Him, and because He is trustworthy, we can be confident in who He says we are as well as what He says He will do.
I think that for so long I have been so afraid of appearing prideful, that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction so that I lack confidence. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being confident, but it seems that the church has decided that confidence is akin to pride and arrogance, and since pride is a sin, we need to squash anything that looks like confidence. According to dictionary.com, the definition of arrogance is “an offensive display of superiority or self importance; overbearing pride. That sounds like a heart issue to me, and it sounds nothing like the definition of confidence. Maybe arrogance is trusting in oneself apart from God, and confidence is trusting in God working through us. There is obviously a large difference between confidence and arrogance even if we cannot tell the difference on the outside.
It seems to me that this may well be an issue that the Enemy has sought to confuse in our minds. He would love nothing more than to squash our confidence because if we are not confident about what God says about us and what God says He will do, then the Enemy can steal our power. He knows the tremendous power of a believer who is confident of their standing in the Kingdom of God, and he knows that if we are unsure of who we are and whose we are, then we have been disabled in the battle. Confidence is not the same as arrogance. You can be confident without being arrogant, and don’t let the Enemy tell you otherwise. Hebrews 10:35 says, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”