Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Confidence Breeds Confidence-A Lesson in Leading

"I think I can! I think I can!" the Little Engine replied as he pulled the long and heavy weight of the long train up the towering mountain. Other large and seemingly capable engines were asked to do the job but they refused. It may have been due to the condition of their engines. One may have been fearful, another complacent. Whatever the reasons the task was given to a simple little engine with a lot of confidence and a huge dose of availability.

This old time American Story Book is packed with the value of optimism. Critics say it is the metaphor of the American Dream. I say it is more so the metaphor of God's dream. His dream for us.

Obviously the Little Engine was no giant. There was no outward appearance that would win the confidence or respect of others.It was a simple "I think I can." that brought this outwardly puny little engine great victory and success. He did not seek fame or recognition. He just saw something that needed to be done and stepped in to do it. In a sense, the Little Engine's confidence was in something greater than himself. Just as Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

The other day as I was visiting with a friend, she shared with me a revelation that God gave to her mother. She said that there is not a verse in the Bible stating that God will never give us more than we can bear. Did the little engine pull more than he could bear in the natural? Yes. It took a miracle and much confidence to be able to pull the entire length of that train up a mountain. The fact is that God at times gives us more that we can bear or pull because it is His strength that enables us to bear under weights in our lives. If we could bear things alone we would not need our God who says His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

This also reminds me of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). David was the youngest and seemingly weakest of eight sons. Goliath was calling out a man from the Israelite army to fight him. When Goliath defied the armies of God, they quaked with fear. (1 Samuel 17:11). David's three oldest and "seemingly well fit for the job" brothers folded in terror. One day, as David was tending his father's sheep, he was sent by his father to take food to his brothers and to check on them. As David arrived and inquired of this giant's demands, David volunteered to fight him. His brothers ridiculed him as they had little respect for the little brother who only tended scrawny sheep.

As the story continues, David went out to face the giant with only his staff, five smooth stones and a sling. The only armor he possessed was the armor of the Most High God. AS he faced the nearly 10 foot tall giant whose spear head itself weighed 15 pounds,he looked up into his eyes and boldly stated, "You come to me with a sword and a spear and a battle axe, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled. This assembly will know that there is an extraordinary God in Israel. And everyone gathered here will know that God doesn't save by means of a sword and spear. The battle belongs to God-He's handing you to us on a platter!"(1 Samuel 17:45-47)
We all know the ending. David did just that. Goliath was dead meat with no head after the fact. Now this is confidence and confidence is contagious. David was a man after God's heart and in the beginning he stood alone. God did the impossible through a young man who was only willing.

With this kind of confidence look what David did with the God who gave him sufficient strength. When God gives us His confidence what are we supposed to do with it? According to John C. Maxwell's book, "Be a People Person", we are to keep refueling it. "Confidence is not constant but fluctuates according to our success and failure ratio.
We all have defeats which occasionally and temporarily lower our confidence level. If you accept the fact that you will not be outstanding in everything you attempt, you will not be devastated when your best is not good enough."

God given confidence is meant by God to be contagious. It will spread throughout your sphere of influence. There were no giant killers in Saul's army because they shrunk in fear of the giant. However, David was one man with a great amount of God confidence. David the giant killer became king. Many giant killers rose up afterwards. Powerful giant slaying kings became a common commodity in the army under David's leadership.
This very thing demonstrates that it takes a giant-killer to make another giant killer. As you grow closer to God the more bold and confident you become. Then your friends, family and others around you will increase in their own confidence levels.

We must remember that David killed the giant and the Little Engine made it up the mountain not because of any special skills, but because they were full of confidence. David killed the giant because he knew he could do it. The Little Engine thought she could make it. She had confidence. Likewise we too can climb mountains and pull heavy loads. We too can strike a giant, serve him on a platter and be confidence breeders. It only requires a firm and bold conviction of 'I think I can"
And when we get to the top or when the head of the giant has been sliced off you will look with satisfaction and say, "I thought I could. I thought I could."

I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives me Strength. Phil. 4:13

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor.12;9


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