Confused But Confident

“Confused” and “confident” are two states of mind that seem to be in such conflict with each other. And yet Scripture tells us that we can be confused about what God is doing in our lives while still confident that He is working all of it together for good.

Let’s say you make a decision, stepping out on faith in a way that you believe God is leading you. But then things don’t go the way you thought they would. You don’t succeed. You run into trouble. You have new problems that you wouldn’t have if you were not on this path. Perhaps it even appears that to continue walking by faith, you must change course once more. So you find that you’re confused about what God is doing in your life.

This kind of experience puts you in good company. In 2 Corinthians 4, the apostle Paul writes that he and others were “perplexed but not driven to despair.” They were at a loss over what was happening to them as they fulfilled God’s call to preach Christ. They were, at times, unsure what to do next. And yet they were not at an utter loss. They had not renounced all hope. By grace, they had confidence that came from the person and work of Jesus Christ, and they were compelled to continue walking by faith.

A good question to ask might be, “Until I face this kind of dilemma, am I really walking by faith?” Do you have a clear sense of what it would look like to walk by sight in your circumstances? As Christians, we are always pulled in two directions: obeying God’s moral law or breaking it. When things are difficult, we are often drawn toward breaking His law in order to resolve a situation or get some relief as we suffer. That’s walking by sight. We want to force some kind of result, but we have to break God’s moral law to do it.

Walking by faith is different. It involves following God’s ways when we don’t naturally want to. We may not even be sure that we have the strength to obey God’s law and follow His ways. So where do we get the strength to obey in those times and circumstances? Scripture teaches that we don’t  get that strength by just looking at the rules or being told the moral law. We receive that strength as we look to God and know Him, and we do that by seeing the magnificent glory of Christ and His gospel.

Back to my original point, taking steps by faith does not always produce the results that we want right away. We may do the “right things” and get confusing results. If the apostle Paul can admit that he was “perplexed” at times, so can we. He was confused, and yet he and others experienced God-given confidence based on who Christ is and what He has done for His people. Jesus has enabled us to follow God’s way even as sin pulls at us relentlessly. Moreover, Jesus has empowered us to continually renew our efforts to obey despite our repeated failures because we understand that Christ Himself is our righteousness before God.

If you are in Christ, you have these enemies: the sinful nature, the sinful world, and the devil. If you are trying to obey God and walk by faith, you will definitely face opposition from all three! But by grace, you will carry on. As you go, you’ll see more and more of the sinfulness within yourself, and at times, that too may confuse you. But as you then look to and commune with the living Lord Jesus, you’ll be more and more confident that He can and is working all things together for good. And you’ll be driven deeper not into despair, but into faith.