To be overconfident is to be ‘foolishly adventurous or foolishly bold.” One is overconfident when they go beyond confidence. It is one thing to believe your car is the safest one on the road. It is another thing to drive without your seatbelt on to test the safety of your car. It is one thing to believe that your seatbelt is working. It is another thing to drive into a telephone pole to prove it. That is going beyond confidence. The safety features should encourage safe activity, not increase foolishness. The people sailing the Titanic should not have been so confident in the safety of their ship that they did not equip it with things that would ensure its safety. The old-timers don’t call that confidence. They call it foolhardiness… “foolishly doing things that are too dangerous or risky.” Life is risky enough without going out of your way to prove how confident you are in yourself. Yet people do this every day.
God will ask the believer to do some crazy stuff. Just following Jesus is an adventure. It may cost you your job, your prestige, some friends, and possibly even family members. But the only thing crazier than following Jesus is not following Jesus. I don’t know how people make it through life tragedies without Christ.
Confidence is a good thing. Confidence can be defined a couple of ways. It is “a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something.” It can also be defined as, “a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something.” The Christian version of confidence is a blending of these two. Christians have confidence that we can succeed at whatever God asks because we believe that Christ has the ability to succeed at whatever God asks of us… because Christ is working in us. The apostle Paul, who had some experience with shipwrecks, put it this way, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13) So we are to work out our own salvation, knowing that God is working in us. That sounds like cheating. But didn’t the smartest kids always seem like they were cheating? In reality, they just knew what needed to be known, and were confident for the test. Knowing that Christ is our confidence is not cheating. It is knowing the reality. That brings confidence for our tests.
Paul, a man who had a lot of earthly reason to be confident in his own life, also wrote that we as believers have “boldness and confidence access through faith in Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:12) So even if God asks us to set sail on a ship that doesn’t have enough lifeboats (our own life), we can confidently do so because Jesus is our lifeboat. Now, if God doesn’t tell you to sail a certain course, and you launch out on your own, good luck with that. You will likely be brought down by a big chunk of frozen water. And how ironic is it that the biggest, most advanced ship in the world was sunk by contact with water? There are two things I know. I cannot trust myself without Jesus. And I can totally trust Jesus with my life.
To quote Paul once more, “To Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us - to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21) Understand that Paul’s life often looked like a foolhardy, overconfident exhibition. But when you live in faith (confidence) as he did, you come to understand that the only unsinkable plan is to get in the boat with Jesus.
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.