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How Is Jesus Helping You Lose Confidence in Your Own Efforts?

Here’s Paul’s story in Philippians 3:3-9 (emphasis mine): For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh — though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."

How do you think God accomplished that in Paul? Is it something he learned at a seminar or in the school of hard knocks, where is own best effort could not work the works of God? God has often in my life led me to the end of my own efforts and because I’m a fairly capable person that took a while. I finally gave up trying to make anything happen and instead follow the simple nudging he puts on my heart. The difference has been amazing.

How is this happening in you? How are you losing confidence in your abilities and finding more joy cooperating with this?

God’s grip on me is not dependent on my grip on Him. I can" LET GO " knowing HE WON’T LET GO of me. Being an A-type personality I am rather " self-sufficient " and I am discovering that this self-reliance runs deep within in my " bones and marrow " and can work deeply and subtly in the hidden recesses of my soul without me being aware of the distorted motivations that energise my prayers and behaviour. It seems as though God deliberately thwarts my plans and efforts bringing me to a healthy frustration and exposing the inner shadows and distortions and revealing my need of His EMPOWERING GRACE. I think it’s called deliverance.

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God’s way of transformation is to let us come to the end of ourselves. He doesn’t nag, manipulate, coerce, etc. It is an inward change that eventually produces an outward change. I had to realize for myself that what I try in my own strength doesn’t work for long, if at all. Trying to please God by my efforts is trying to get something I already have. I am pleasing to God simply as His creation. Anything I do counter to God deprives me of relationship with Him, from my end, not His. That is what Paul eventually realized. His persecution of the Church was actually his persecution of Christ.

I do things that grieve God, as a result of my sin nature. Something I remember you saying Wayne, is that we practice sin because we don’t realize how loved by God we are. There are times I struggle with that immensely. I look for validation in the wrong places, generally from people who are not able to give it to me. As a result, I get down on myself and compound the problem. I get further away from God and then wonder how I am to get out of my negative situation. Until I encounter God’s presence, as Paul says, to gain Christ and be found in him, I will continue to be lost.

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The way this all came crashing in on me (or my house of cards collapsed) was when I went through one book where an author compared God’s love to 1 Corinthians 13. I loved it so much that I went out and tried to live out 1 Corinthians 13 in my own strength (or self-effort) and wow what a failure my flesh turned out to be! It seemed like I only kept seeing myself fail over and over again. See my story at this link in this discussion:

I eventually thought God was not doing His part to work in my life with His almighty power, so I got furious and started arguing with God. It seemed like God showed me that I was only doing those things in my own strength (or self-effort) and that was why I kept failing.

Sometimes I still have difficulty loving the unlovable and I need to go ask God for help. Just last month I sensed that I was growing cold-hearted, and I asked God for help and He helped me again. I sensed a need to listen to a recording of someone that spoke on these same issues. Wow! It was very inspiring to listen to.

I also need to remember that you can’t force these things on people because it will only cause arguments, harsh attitudes, and hurt feelings. We need to show love, and not force ideology on others.

I’m also loosing confidence in my own efforts in other ways, such as what you can see in my favorite quote from chapter 12 (see it at this link in this discussion). It’s about relationships, not structures; friendships, not meetings.

I tried to start a house church about 5 or 10 times over the last several years and each time it fell flat and never got started and everyone backed out on me at the last minute. I think that this was why… It’s about relationships, not structures; friendships, not meetings. Thank God I’m finally getting it, and beginning to understand. :slight_smile:

Bailey, NC


Well it is good to hear that I am in some really good company here, :grinning:.
Yes I too am one of those that likes to do things for himself, but has discovered that often that does not work out the way I had hoped. I would like to say I am getting past that and have discovered that if only I let go of control and letGod take control it all works out for the better, but I cannot.
That is not to say I do not recognise this principle or that I have not practiced it, I do and I have. But what I discovered, in hindsight, is that as I did practice letting Him lead and keeping my hands off the guidance controls, was that I get impatient! And when He takes His time to provide guidance I am prone to making my own decisions and heading off on a path I should not have taken.
It is wonderful to me to recognise that even after doing this, God is gracious and still makes course adjustments for me to follow back to His path, but that strangely simply fed my desire to make my own decisions and that in the end got me well off course, and then it was, once again time for God to let me lose myself again!
And yes you guessed it, eventually I woke and realised I was far from where I had set out to be and in need of rescue all over again.
I am only too grateful to say that He rescued me again, and will no doubt do it all agan if I get impatient again, but I am trying to learn that particular lesson of waiting until He speaks and guides, but thankfully He IS patient.

Pete from Peterborough UK

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God started this process a few years ago in me. I left a church ministry position to launch out on my own and felt like I was called to start an organic church. I even reached out to Wayne for some “confirmation”. But Wayne cautioned me to not start anything. Still, I felt the “call” and my wife and I launched an organic church in our home. My intentions were good; however, about as quickly as it grew, it diminished. I quickly realized people weren’t looking to be led by the Spirit, they wanted more teaching and leadership, which I was reluctant to give.

That has been a few years since then. I have to say I am still trying to discover where God is nudging me. Just recently, I heard him say, “Just enjoy me right now.” That took a lot of the pressure off. Right now, I am learning to enjoy God instead of “doing stuff FOR Him.”

There has been a bit of frustration, some joy, and a good bit of peace in this process. I still get impatient, but those times seem to be less and less and my contentment in Him and in my current situation are growing. Even my wife has noticed. :slight_smile:


Lenny - I’ve been there with the house church thing. We started one and then it ended about a year after it began. It was a great experience, but I think that was God’s way of telling me the same thing you realized. What’s been tough for us is maintaining those relationships. Everyone here is very institutional church-centric And it seems hard to break into some circles. Glad to know there are others on the same journey - cheers! :slight_smile:


Enjoyed reading both your posts here Will, I had a similar experience where I was invited by another chap I worked with to join his new group, they were breaking away from the IC they were involved with, long story short he wanted me to help. I did for a number of Sundays. I noticed you said something that was quite apparent with this group I had a short visit with,

I quickly realized people weren’t looking to be led by the Spirit, they wanted more teaching and leadership, which I was reluctant to give.

Most encouraging as I put that down to the change that the Spirit has invited me into, then you said this which was simply the cherry on top,

That has been a few years since then. I have to say I am still trying to discover where God is nudging me. Just recently, I heard him say, “Just enjoy me right now.” That took a lot of the pressure off. Right now, I am learning to enjoy God instead of “doing stuff FOR Him.”

I love that, I have so often found myself in self judgement avenue and whilst walking along that nasty road I pass Him looking rather amused and he says, “if you stop striving and just relax I have you, I’m your best teacher.”

Reminds me of the Message passage in Matthew 11:28-30
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”


Ian -

Appreciate the encouragement, brother. I’ve had a lot of de-toxing to do. Every time I think I’m close to being done, the Lord shows me something else that needs work. That used to be hard for me and my perfectionistic nature. Now, I see it as Father’s great love for me and wanting to lead me to what is BEST, not just what is good.

Man, I LOVE that version of Matthew 11 - definitely going to share that with some folks.

Happy Friday to you!

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