Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 7b-10 (NIV)
In the competition to be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom there is considerable ‘confidence’ on display.
It seems to me that ‘confidence’ is an underpinning attribute that people seek from their lawyer. A moment’s reflection should however reveal that ‘confidence’ might not always be linked to competence. I know which attribute I’d much prefer in my advocate.
There is a distinction to be drawn between godly confidence and a godless self-confidence, with the latter being the outward display of conceit.
I am a slow learner; too often I fall into the trap of believing that, as I labour as a lawyer, my skill, experience and wit can alone solve my client’s dilemma. As I seek to address this delusion, every morning, before I turn to the day’s labour I first look to the God of grace, thanking him for the gifts and training he has given me.
Godless self-confidence is an occupational hazard for the lawyer; it sits alongside conceit. We might see it clearly in others, when we see it in ourselves do we confess it and ask the Lord to root it out? The apostle Paul faced it and named it when writing to the Corinthians.
I’m not yet brave enough to put these words at the bottom of my website profile: “For when I am weak, then I am strong”.
I can be confident but not in myself.