While you have likely heard that there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness, the two are miles apart. Confidence and cockiness originate from very different places. For the Christian, confidence flows from humility, from knowing you are fully approved and qualified because of Christ and not because of your own merit. Cockiness comes from trusting yourself, from believing you are better than others.
When we move from confidence to cockiness, we set ourselves up in opposition to the Lord, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
When we walk in humility and confidence because we are His, He takes note. When we stand in our own merit, He only knows us from a distance, for “though the Lord is exalted, he takes note of the humble; but he knows the haughty from a distance” (Psalm 138:6).
How can we recognize the drift in our own hearts? Here are four warning signals you are drifting from confidence to cockiness:
1. You start thinking more about your gifting than Him.
When you think more about His gifts than Him, you love those things more than Him. When you think more about how He has gifted you than you think about Him, your gifting is making you cocky and you are consumed with yourself, not Him.
2. You rejoice more in what you do for Him than what He has done for you.
When you are more excited about what you do for Him than what He has done for you on the cross, you are focused on yourself and not Him.
3. You begin to think you are owed more.
When you walk in humility, you are content with what you steward because you know it is all a gift from above. When you believe you are owed more, your thinking is self-centered.
4. You are crushed when your goals are not met.
Every ministry or organization defines winning differently based on its unique mission. Thus, every driven leader has different goals. If your goals are not realized and you are crushed, it means you believe you are the one who causes things to happen. The person who takes too much blame is the same person who takes too much credit. And obviously, the person who takes too much credit is cocky.
Without continually walking with the Lord, we will drift from confidence to cockiness. When the drift occurs, we are wise to come back to Him again and again.