I told a friend recently that if he wanted to gain confidence as a public speaker, he should practice. I told him to just accept any invitation, large or small, and get some hours down.
He thanked me but also mentioned he wanted his confidence to come from God, from his faith. He wasn’t being snooty or anything, trying to passively let me know what a great Christian he was, because if he’d been doing that, I’d just have shrugged my shoulders and let it go. But my friend was being genuine.
The truth is, though, he could have all the faith in God he wanted, but if he really wanted confidence as a public speaker, he’d need some hours. God wasn’t going to grant him confidence. Even Moses had absolutely no confidence. And God even stopped the mans stutter. It was experience that gave Moses confidence.
The funny thing is, if you wanted to be a locksmith or a plumber or a cab driver, you’d never pray and ask God to magically give you the ability. That’s not how God designed life. But in those fuzzy areas of emotions, we suddenly believe God is going to act like a magician.
The Christian faith is a practical faith. God employs experience in order to teach us, to develop our abilities. And even then, He is more interested in the interaction He has with us in the process than He is in teaching us anything at all. God is not our boss, He is our Father. The whole world is an educational playground God is using to bring you toward perfection, to raise you as His own child.
God gave David confidence keeping lions from his sheep, then killing Goliath, then running a country, God did not give David a country and then instill in him magical confidence.
It is very difficult for us Americans to believe in the God who guides us through educational experiences. Advertising teaches us that if we invest something, we get magical products that solve our problems. But God is more interested in being with us, than in entertaining us from a stage.
Are there contradictions to this? Absolutely. But there aren’t many.
I have a pastor friend who, for a while, decided to stop preparing his sermons. He’d just read the Bible and pray all week, and then get up on Sunday morning to preach. He quit after a while because everybody thought his sermons were terrible.
The truth is, if you do the work and gain the experience, you’ll have more confidence because you’ll actually know what you’re doing, and you will have spent some great time with God.