On the wall of University Church of St. Mary the Virgin at Oxford University is a plaque containing the names of 23 Reformation martyrs put to death between 1539 and 1681. There were many more, but these are noted for their connection to Oxford.

            Three names are well-known today: Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer. Latimer’s last words to Ridley have echoed through the centuries: “Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man, for we shall this day light such a candle in England as I trust by God’s grace shall never be put out.”

            Thomas Cranmer’s final words were quoted from the Church’s first martyr, Stephen: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit….I see the heavens open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56, 59)


The Promise of Confidence

            What gives Christians confidence to face death for the sake of Jesus? And, if we can have confidence in death, wouldn’t we also have confidence in life?

            The source of confidence is found in a promise Jesus made to His disciples: “When they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11-13, emphasis added).

            Jesus says His followers can be confident even before the hour of testing, living confidently because the Holy Spirit will give us the words we’ll need. Don’t worry before you need the words. Know that, when you need to speak and act, the Holy Spirit will be there for you.

            The possibility that we will have our faith tested as never before in the days ahead is high. Therefore, we should take Jesus’ words to heart: The Holy Spirit is the source of our confidence.


The Provision of Confidence

            Such well-founded confidence comes with an obligation: To go and live a confident Christian life! It’s time to realize, “I can do this!”

            When we say, “I can do this,” we’re echoing the apostle Paul on living the Christian life: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).

            And Christ lives in the Christian by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us by His Spirit (Philippians 4:13).

            It is a matter of walking by faith—the foundational principle of the Christian life (2 Corinthians 5:7). That makes all the difference between living a life of worry and living a life of confidence. The Holy Spirit is God living in you knowing what you need before you do (Matthew 6:8). Your confidence is not in your ability but in His.

            Early in his Christian life, the British Bible teacher Oswald Chambers battled with spiritual barrenness—until he decided to trust the words of Jesus in Luke 11:13: “How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” It completely changed his life. His teaching and ministry took on a dimension of power he had never experienced because he decided to believe God would give him what he needed through the Holy Spirit.[1]


The Practice of Confidence

            A confident, Spirit-dependent person resembles someone who has an invisible counselor walking beside him or her throughout life, available at every moment to give advice, courage, wisdom, and knowledge.

            Jesus’ promise in Luke 12:11-12 is consistent with the Greek concept of the Holy Spirit as Counselor (NASB, NIV) or Helper (NKJV). The Greek word parakletos (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) literally means “one called alongside to aid or help.”

            So, if the disciples were called before authorities to answer for their commitment to the Gospel, the Holy Spirit would be by their side (dwelling in them) to provide the aid and comfort needed.

            When we are filled with the Spirit and have not quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or grieved (Ephesians 4:30) Him by our sin, He knows we are receptive to His aid, direction, and comfort.

            If you want to live a confident Christian life, you want the Holy Spirit! And you have Him if Christ is Lord of your life. So start living like you can do this!


David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.

[1] Robert Morgan, From This Verse (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998), August 11.