What’s the Difference between Confidence and Arrogance?

I saw this video today and it got me thinking a bit about the nature of confidence, and I think it can tie in nicely with what we’ve been reading about and the confidence we can have as we look ahead to our future. So I thought I’d share.

While I may want to quickly define the difference between confidence and arrogance as the difference between a smile and a smirk, there’s a bit more.

This video makes it a break down between internal and external. Confidence, he says, is internal–a self-belief in which you know you’re good enough (smart enough, and by golly that people like you). Arrogance is external and is about trying to prove to others your worth, often by putting others down.

You regain confidence by knowing how great you are. Again, it’s about what you have in you. “You are amazing.” In this definition confidence is the result of being your own best cheerleader, rather than needing others.

While their may be some good from this pop-psychology, I’d say the confidence we have is actually external. It doesn’t come from within but from one the only one who can give us real value. We’re wired to need something outside ourselves, and it is just a matter of where we look to find it.

At its root, the word confidence means a having a firm trust. It is a self-confidence in the first definition. But the confidence we gain through Christ is external; it is not trust in ourselves. It is a firm conviction of our value and our identity through the eyes of God himself. It is not based on my work, but on the work of Jesus. That is something we can trust in and have true confidence because of.

2 Corinthians 3:4-5
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…

(I first found this video and a discussion about confidence and arrogance here | Lifehacker)

Questioning the Resurrection of the Dead

Continuing the topic of resurrection in chapter 15, Paul voices some of the questions or objections that he has heard to this fantastic notion of the dead being raised. Some have asked how this happens? If in fact it does happen, what sort of body will they have?

Paul uses several mini-parables to answer this, looking at seeds, animals, and celestial bodies. Even with his concise illustrations this can still be a difficult passage. Or maybe I should say, of course it is a difficult passage. Resurrection is not an easy thing to believe in. In a very literal sense, it’s not natural for us. Nature allows for birth and death, but no more. The resurrection is supernatural.

For such an amazing concept, maybe watching a short video will help. Here’s NT Wright on resurrection and its understanding in the first century. It’s not very long (6 min), but it is part of a much longer video, if you’re feeling adventurous.

I Will Not Boast in Anything–No Gifts, No Powers, No Wisdom

I always enjoy posting music that fits our readings so enjoy this wonderful song describing our God’s great love for us. The following lines especially fit with our repeated theme of boasting, and not doing so about ourselves, but only in Jesus Christ.

From How Deep the Father’s Love for Us:

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.

Jesus May Be Mocked, But He is Always Worthy of Praise

When Jesus was crucified, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, it certainly appeared foolish. Here Jesus is seen as a common criminal, a failure, and powerless. In Mark we read these words of how he is mocked at the crucifixion:

And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

Mark 15:16-20

That is our savior. Paul won’t waiver from this painful sight–the Messiah dying on the cross. It seems foolish. But it is our savior. It is love in action.

I thought I’d share a hymn that puts these two concepts together. Each stanza begins with what appears foolish: birth in a manger, a wandering existence with no home, his beating, and finally his crucifixion. But coupled with these scenes is the fact that such humble events do not diminish our Lord. Each stanza asks, “Who is this?” And the answer is always, regardless of circumstance, “our God.” We still praise him. Jesus Christ is the Son of God in these times and judging by the world’s standards, or by the world’s wisdom, does not fully comprehend his real power and glory.

Who Is This, So Weak and Helpless?

Who is this, so weak and helpless,
Child of lowly Hebrew maid,
Rudely in a stable sheltered,
Coldly in a manger laid?
’Tis the Lord of all creation,
Who this wondrous path has trod;
He is Lord from everlasting,
And to everlasting God.

Who is this, a Man of Sorrows,
Walking sadly life’s hard way,
Homeless, weary, sighing, weeping
Over sin and Satan’s sway?
’Tis our God, our glorious Savior,
Who above the starry sky
Is for us a place preparing,
Where no tear can dim the eye.

Who is this? Behold him shedding
Drops of blood upon the ground!
Who is this, despised, rejected,
Mocked, insulted, beaten, bound?
’Tis our God, Who gifts and graces
On His church is pouring down;
Who shall smite in holy vengeance
All His foes beneath His throne.

Who is this that hangs there dying
While the rude world scoffs and scorns,
Numbered with the malefactors,
Torn with nails, and crowned with thorns?
’Tis our God Who lives forever
’Mid the shining ones on high,
In the glorious golden city,
Reigning everlastingly.

You can also listen to the song here, in a rendition from Indelible Grace, sung by Sandra McCracken (although the video was not made by them):

Psalm 145, with bonus video

Psalm 145:3-8

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty–
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works–
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

In reading through the Bible we can’t help but see the greatness of God that is still so hard to fathom even though it is throughout the scriptures. But even though he is so good, we at times fail to take that next step of sharing his goodness with others. We do not witness to his mighty acts, passing on such good news from generation to generation.

In taking this year, I pray that it has been time to “meditate on [God’s] wonderful works” and may that spur us on to tell of his power, proclaim his great deeds, and celebrate. Our God is so gracious and compassionate that we ought to rejoice and sing praise to him.

As a bonus, enjoy this video by Shane and Shane based off this Psalm.

Music from the Psalms – Psalm 130

Several months ago I bought an album by Indelible Grace that leads off with the song “From the Depths of Woe.” It is a long song that builds from its mournful opening to a confident and hopeful end. I had heard it played a little differently before, but this is a powerful version that I was eager to share with you. But since it is a song based off of Psalm 130, I had to wait until this week when it falls within our readings.

Quick bit of history: It was written by Martin Luther way back in the 16th century. Not the psalm, of course, someone else wrote that. But he paraphrased it into German. If you didn’t know it yet, Luther was not only an accomplished nuisance to the church and great reformer, but he was a man of many talents, such as writing hymns.

If you enjoy playing the music, as well as listening to it, here is the music for it. (The links are on the right).

Isaiah 43 – Do not fear

I love coming across scripture passages that immediately take on a certain cadence because I first learned the words in song. In college I used to sing Isaiah 43, and the best version of it I could find I included below. (I found other versions of the song with better production quality, but this is almost exactly how we sang it with the echoes and everything.)

You can also listen to another version here: Isaiah 43 – YouTube

And the music (chords, lyrics, demo) can be found here: Isaiah 43, Indelible Grace