For most of my life, I remember being insecure about how I looked, talked, and performed in school or sports.
I felt afraid of rejection or not being liked in friendships because I was chubby, couldn’t read very well, and wasn’t smart or athletic enough.
I was always looking for approval from friends, women, or family. Over time I learned to ignore my insecurity and pretend it wasn’t there, but it never left.
I have tried to put my security in things, people, and what I can do. But the insecurity inevitably returns as all of those things are unable to consistently give me the confidence I need and desire.
There have been times in my life where I was very confident, and all of those times involved a focus on God. But I have struggled to sustain that confidence.
My aim for us in this study is to answer the question, “How do I develop confidence in God?” through 5 helpful steps.
Believe confidence is found in God
One of the most significant challenges for me in becoming confident is to believe God’s way is better than whatever I am trying to do to find confidence. This is the first and most crucial step.
Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places. I’m overwhelmed by the privileges that come with following you, for you have given me the best!  The way you counsel and correct me makes me praise you more, for your whispers in the night give me wisdom, showing me what to do next. Because you are close to me and always available, my confidence will never be shaken, for I experience your wrap-around presence every moment.  My heart and soul explode with joy-full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure.Psalm 16:6-9 TPT
This scripture gives us a picture of what it will look like when we genuinely develop confidence in God. God promises us a few things if we turn to him for confidence.
He promises to lead us to “pleasant places.” He promises to show us what to do next. He promises to always be available for us.
God sets us up to be close to him (Acts 17:24) and guides us along his “pleasant path” through the Bible (Psalm 119:105) as well as by putting people in our lives who point us to him (Hosea 11:4). When we believe these things about God and decide to believe His word over our emotions and insecurities, we will be confident and secure.
Pause and reflect
- What will you look like when you are confident and secure?
- How is God guiding you now?
- Find a scripture to hold onto that gives you faith that you find confidence in God. Read it, pray about it, and choose to believe it daily!
Identify your confidence killers
There are so many places I choose to put my confidence other than God that I am not always even aware of. I need to slow down, think, and identify where else I’m going for confidence.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.  But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.James 1:5-7 NLT
God says that he will give us anything we ask for if we rely entirely on him. We have to be fully committed, which means getting rid of whatever we turn to instead of God. It’s essential to identify where we turn, so we can understand the effects on our lives and others when we turn away from God.
When trying to get confidence in temporary and superficial things, we end up unstable and unsettled. I have consistent insecurity and worry about people not approving of me, a good situation going wrong, or unbelief that a bad situation can get better. This instability internally makes it so I can’t enjoy life while I live it, even when most of life is going well.
Jeremiah 17:6 describes this as not being able to “see prosperity when it comes.” In order to change, we must first identify the fickle places where we put our confidence and correctly identify them as “confidence killers.”
Where do you try to place your confidence?
- Control/Circumstances (Proverbs 28:26) – We think if our circumstances change, then we’ll be confident (health, finances, dating, marriage, job).
- Money (1 Timothy 6:17) – We think more money will bring confidence.
- Achievement (Proverbs 11:7) We think accomplishing goals in work or life will bring confidence.
- People (Proverbs 29:25, Proverbs 25:19) – We think people liking us or respecting us will bring confidence.
- Pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11) – We think feeling pleasure will give us confidence.
Pause and reflect
- What confidence killer(s) do you turn to? Why?
- How has turning to these affected you, others, and your relationship with God?
- How can you turn from your confidence killer(s) to God?
Pray with unashamed honesty
It may have been hard for you to identify your confidence killers. If so, you’re not alone. It’s hard for me to admit my sin and weaknesses without feeling ashamed. Yet when I hide my sin and weaknesses inside, I remain insecure and unchanged.
I’m exhausted! My life is spent with sorrow, my years with sighing and sadness. Because of all these troubles, I have no more strength. My inner being is so weak and frail.  I’m desperate, Lord! I throw myself upon you, for you alone are my God! My life, my every moment, my destiny—it’s all in your hands. So I know you can deliver me from those who persecute me relentlessly.  Let your shining face shine on me. Let your undying love and glorious grace save me from all this gloom.Psalm 31:10, 14-16, TPT
In this prayer, David is gut-level honest with God. To develop confidence from God, we have to rely on him, and that means putting everything we think and feel out into the open. This is the most significant roadblock to me being close to God.
I don’t like expressing emotion and need for God even when it’s so evident that I need help. When I see the truth of my flaws, fears, insecurities, and sin, I feel weak inside and like I need help.
I spent most of my childhood and young adult life running from those emotions. What I have come to realize, though, is that if I don’t face those weaknesses I have on the inside, they end up driving my life and actions whether I like it or not. I live out my insecurity, fear, and frustrations, which lead me to be self-focused and not fun to be around.
God wants to and is meant to be that safe space for us where we can tell him anything, and he will not run. Like the scripture says, he has “undying love.”
There is nothing we can say or do that he doesn’t want to hear about. And when we are completely honest with him, he gives us the clarity and courage to be honest with others.
Pause and reflect
- What are the hardest things for you to pray about? Why? (emotions, sins, needs, dreams, desires, pain, gratitude)
- Decide to be courageous and pray about the hard things. Make a choice to trust God at the end of your prayer.
Obey God to build confidence
God’s word is powerful, and even just reading it builds faith (Romans 10:17), but the real confidence comes from applying it.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.
 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.James 1:22-25 NLT
You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.James 2:22-23 NIV
There is an understanding, belief, and confidence that can only come when we do what God tells us.
In high school, I had an excellent basketball coach. His focus was for us to become the best-conditioned team and for everyone, regardless of talent, to work really hard on defense. We listened, we ran, we worked hard on defense, and we put into practice everything we were taught.
I would get angry at our coach for wanting us to run more, would be afraid of messing up, and would disagree with how he taught us. I didn’t want to obey him half the time, because what he asked us to do was painful and uncomfortable. But I had enough faith to do it anyway.
By the end of the season, I was in the best shape of my life. We were ranked 10th in the state and were undefeated in our league. The whole city would come out to watch us play.
I learned a valuable lesson from that experience, which we can apply to God and his word. If we listen to God and do what he says, victories, confidence, and the blessings will come.
We will need to persevere when it’s not easy. But a little faith in action goes a long way (Matthew 17:20). God wants us to succeed and win, and He wants to bless us.
In James 2, we learn that, when you have faith enough to act, the actions you take will only increase your faith, because you will see God’s word coming true in your life.
Pause and reflect
- When was the last time you read a scripture and then obeyed it?
- What is an area of your life where you need a breakthrough?
- Keep it simple! Find a scripture that applies to that area and obey it for a week.
Develop confidence daily
One of my challenges with developing confidence in God is sticking with the steps above daily. I don’t stick with it because it’s uncomfortable, and in my pride, I can ride off the confidence from the day before.
I see this same lack of discipline in other areas of my life – eating healthy, working out, keeping in touch with friends and family, or finishing a book. Maybe you can relate. Anything that has gone well in my life has been because I’ve stuck with it. We must do the same with God.
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.  Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.Galatians 6:7-10 NLT
Each day we have an opportunity to plant by choosing to follow God and do good, or to choose to satisfy our sinful nature. Each day matters, and each choice matters. And each day that we choose God, our confidence will grow.
And when we live life God’s way, he comes through for us, helps us grow, and guides us to do good for other people. Developing confidence in God is more important to others than we realize. God places family members, friends, coworkers, and even strangers in our paths that we are meant to influence and change for the better.
When we are close to God, we have the confidence to share our lives, give generously, and sacrifice to help others. When we believe God has our back, and we allow his word to guide us, there is nothing that can stop us from loving to the full. So when you get tired, remember – never give up!
Pause and reflect
- How can you start to apply these steps to develop confidence in God daily?
- Whose lives around you would be positively impacted if you intently pursued developing confidence in God? How?
- Decide to do whatever it takes to develop confidence in God.