Two different people said the same thing; “You should have moved ahead in confidence.” When two unacquainted people say the same thing, it can jump out at us. I had been waiting for permission and encouragement. Now I understand that it would never have come, because it had already been granted. How did I miss that? Am I, are you, missing that in other areas in our lives? How many opportunities and directives from the Holy Spirit do we miss in this way? Here are 9 things to consider as you pray about whether it is time to take initiative and move ahead in any area of your life;
1. Sometimes we think we are waiting on God, but He is actually waiting on us. When we ask Him what to do next, He may be waiting for us to do what He already told us to do before giving us further instructions. The first thing needs to be accomplished before revealing the next step. Psalm 37:23-24 explains that, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way.” First things first. You need to be confident enough to take those first steps.
When we ask Him what to do next, He may be waiting for us to do what He already told us to do.
3. God lines things up and reveals a perfect time to achieve everything that He asks us to do; don’t miss it! Kairos (kīräs) is the Greek word meaning the right, supreme or opportune moment. This word is used about 80 times in the New Testament. Timing is important in God's Kingdom. In Luke 12:56-57, Jesus scolds the Pharisees for understanding the signs for the weather better than the leading of the Lord. He says, “Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”
Here Jesus makes it clear that there is a time to act, and we need to take initiative that lines up with what the Lord shows us. We must not fear missing that moment, because the Holy Spirit will tell us. But we need to be listening, just as much as we keep an eye on the weather. To use a modern expression, we are to strike when the iron is hot. Otherwise, we may need to wait for God to line everything up, again, at a different time and place. We must not miss our opportunities as they arise, and we should be ready to jump at them as they arise. Some people refer to these times as “suddenlies.” We should be ready for them! They sometimes hold the biggest prizes if we respond promptly.
We need to be listening, just as much as we keep an eye on the weather.
While keeping your eye on the prize is important (see Philippians 3:14), Hebrews 10:35-36 explains that confidence is necessary to persevere and complete your task; “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” The most popular advertising slogan of all time, by Nike, sums this up.“Just do it!” Don’t fall into “Give Me One More Sign Syndrome.” There is a time to move forward. If God so leads, then begin your journey, and persevere in confidence.
5. Don’t let fear of failure stop you from moving ahead. God wants us to trust Him and rewards faith. Fear is not of God. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” Proverbs 3:3-4 says, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Trust that He will be with you as you move ahead.
Do not be rendered paralyzed and ineffective by fear. God loves you, has you covered and will reward your trust in Him. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” –(Hebrews 11:6) Moving ahead in faith actually builds our faith. We will need to reject and overcome fear to do great things for God.
Do not be rendered paralyzed and ineffective by fear.
6. Don’t let past disappointments and failures keep you from trying again. Philippians 1:6 tells us that God is not done with us! It says, “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. He is a God of second, third, fourth, and whatever is needed, chances. He forgives us “seventy times seven times” (see Matthew 18:22), and He will help us up over and over again. Psalm 40:2-3 tells us how it can sometimes be;
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.”
Sometimes God closed a door in the past because He had another path that was better for your life.
7. God cheers us on to be strong, courageous and confident in Him. I love this about God! He is our biggest cheerleader. Think about Joshua, as he was about to go into battle. God told him not once, but 3 times, to be courageous. In Joshua 1:9 He says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” In verse 5, He says, “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
You are never alone without your loving Father beside you. Jeremiah agrees, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” (Jeremiah 17:7). And Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
8. You don’t need to be perfect or recommended by men to act in confidence. Some of us are waiting for earthly recommendations, accomplishments or approval to move ahead. Paul says that the Corinthians needed “like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you” (2 Corinthians 3:1). He tells them that, instead, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone” (verse 2). He is saying that his confidence came from the fruit that was evident in their lives as a result of his ministry to them. His confidence did come not from the recommendations of men. The result was “confidence we have through Christ before God” (verse 4).
Jesus said this same thing in Matthew 7:20; “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” In this verse, Jesus did not require for us to wait for other people’s stamp of approval in order for us to be validated. In fact, in I Peter 2:9, Peter calls us “a royal priesthood.” Each of us has our gifts, and we should use them. I Corinthians 1:28-29 makes it clear that God is not wanting just the best among us and in us. Paul describes the person that God uses; “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” He is concerned about humility. In fact, according to James 4:10, the humble are in the best position; “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
You are more equipped than you realize, and stronger than you think!
9. We should not care what people think. Paul tells the Galatians that if he cared what people thought, he would be ineffective; “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) In Colossians 3:23 he tells us where our focus should be; “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
The gospel of John teaches how a need for the approval of man can kill faith. “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.” (John 12:42-43) Paul later says, “We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” (1Thessalonians 2:4) It may be necessary to confess that fear of man is at the heart of our lack of confidence and faith. God wants us to be free to live for His approval, not man’s. The many heroes of Scripture all had to learn to not care what people thought in order to do great things for Him.
You are more equipped than you realize, and stronger than you think! 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” If the Holy Spirit is prompting you to move ahead and begin a new work in Him, then go ahead! You have every reason to move ahead in confidence. Many of the conditions that we are waiting to fulfill are not from God. Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Here you are granted permission to move ahead in confidence!