One of the toughest positions in Major League Baseball is that of the closer—the relief pitcher who enters the game in the late innings to try and save the win for the team. One closer said that his was the only role on the team where, if he has a bad day, the whole team has a bad day. Lots of pressure. In a sense, how the closer handles that pressure becomes critical to his performance; and critical to handling that pressure is confidence. When a closer is lacking in confidence, perhaps because he has had a few bad outings, it has a huge impact on his ability to perform. Instead of going after hitters, he may start to nibble at the corners. Perhaps instead of using a curve ball, he sticks with the fast ball too long because he isn’t sure how the curve is going to work. That lack of confidence can be absolutely devastating to the closer and his ability to do his job—sometimes resulting in that pitcher leaving baseball altogether because he no longer has the ability to be effective.
This issue of a lack of confidence, which can be so difficult for a relief pitcher, however, can be very helpful to the follower of Christ. If life and experience have taught us anything, it is the danger of having confidence in ourselves and our own abilities. In a world that is much bigger than our ability to cope with it, we also need to live confident lives; but our confidence is not in ourselves. Our confidence is in Christ. Paul told the Philippians: “We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (3:3).
Why do we have no confidence in the flesh? Because we are inadequate and insufficient for what the world throws at us. We, however, can put our confidence in God, because “the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught” (Proverbs 3:26).
Not only is it unwise to put our confidence in ourselves, it is unnecessary. The Lord will be our confidence, and that is a far greater resource than we could ever have in ourselves. It is a resource we can rest in.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain