A quiet confidence.
In athletes we sometimes refer to it as "ice-blood in their veins." Under pressure, a top performer makes the foul shot, hits the home run, scores in overtime.
Musicians and other artists demonstrate it when they are so consumed by their presentation they manage to grab our hearts and minds, and we feel what they feel. Their words, their actions, their art speaks to the very depths of our souls, and it moves us.
In people of faith, "quiet confidence" shows itself as courage, trust and humility. A dynamic faith in the Creator God does not grant us immunity from the struggles of life. Followers of Jesus still get sick, still wrestle with broken relationships, still feel economic pressures. But, in spite of the circumstances, we also find joy, experience peace and have hope.
There is a parallel to the lives of elite athletes and artists. Those who excel at the "top of their game" are the ones who have dedicated time, energy and resources to their craft. It has been their highest priority. As strange as it may sound, growing a quiet confidence is very similar. Learning to trust God, building a quiet confidence, is not a passive process.
Of course, we must take great care to ensure we are not creating a performance-based religion. Yet Paul does stress that our spiritual formation is an act of discipline. He uses the metaphors of the hard work of farmers and soldiers, and speaks of transformation through the renewing of our minds. The author of Hebrews compares living by faith to a marathon; something for which we need to train! Bottom line: it isn't easy; it doesn't just happen.
The good news is we are not alone, nor does it all depend on us! The Holy Spirit is constantly engaged in our lives, transforming us, changing us, convicting us, maturing us so we can become quietly confident in the Lord our God. He will use a variety of tools: learning of God through the Scriptures, relationships with people and the community of faith, life experiences, spiritual disciples - there is no limit to the tools at His disposal. At the heart of God's love for us is His desire for an intimate relationship with us. He is not going to abandon us to figure this out on our own. But maturity in faith doesn't just happen.
Let's commit to learning to walk in faith together. Let's encourage one another as we grow our trust in God. Let's share our struggles and God's faithfulness. Let's build our quiet confidence in our God, for He Is Good!