The Subtle Difference Between Self-Confidence and Self-Reliance


Let's make one thing clear today: God wants us to love ourselves. God commands us to be confident in who we are. Yes, we shouldn't love ourselves more than God, but that doesn't mean we are to be motivated by self-pity, remorse and self-hate.

Mark 12:31 tells us, "The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

So in one way God tells us to love ourselves, too.

However, in many cases there can be an excessive love of the self. How do we make sure that we have a proper view of the self such that it honours God?

The key lies to understanding the difference between self-confidence and self-reliance. There is a call to have confidence in us, but to not rely solely on our own abilities, capacity or qualities.

Be Confident in God's Opinion of You

Our self-confidence can stem from an intact understanding of what God thinks of us. There's a paradox that lies behind God's view of us. While He loathes and despises the brokenness that is in us, He loves us beyond measure and trusts us enough to make us part of His plans and purposes.

We can be confident in God's opinion of us, but not to the point that we rely solely on ourselves to get things done. At the end of the day, we cannot do things apart from God. So be confident in God first and then with that as your background, believe in what you can do for and through Him.

We Did Nothing to Deserve God's Goodwill

At the heart of the gospel is a message that speaks of our disqualification from God's grace. We do not deserve God's goodwill, but still he gives it to us because He also gives us the ability to carry out His will. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

While we cannot and should never rely solely on our own ability, we know that through God's grace we can find confidence that we can carry out God's good, pleasing and perfect will.

Put Your Confidence in Christ

The biggest difference between self-confidence and self-reliance is the presence or absence of Christ. Because we can only do things through Christ, our confidence lies on His presence in our actions and living. When we rely only on ourselves and not in Him, we're in trouble.

But confidence that stems from knowing that the cross was our victory and that our sins were nailed to it so that we can receive God's crowning glory is the healthy confidence that we must walk and live in for the rest of our lives.