"A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them." Luke 7:37-38 (NIV)
Ever meet a woman who seemed to light up the room when she walked in? Her laugh said, "I don’t take life too seriously." Her carefree walk let you know she was comfortable with who she was. Her hair and outfit seemed to be perfect. Then again, maybe it wasn’t. Actually her hair was held up in a casual bun and she had on workout clothes. So what made it seem like she had it all together?
I used to think confidence was something you were born with. If you were the perfect package — body, hair, family — you had confidence.
But I met a woman in the Bible who has changed my mind.
This woman demonstrated a very unlikely confidence. I call it unlikely because the Bible describes her as "a sinful woman." Most likely, she was a prostitute. We meet her in Luke chapter 7, and her story begins in verse 36:
"When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them" (Luke 7:36-38).
Do you see the confidence? Confidence to walk into a house full of judgmental men looking down on those unlike them.
What would have given this unwanted woman the confidence to approach the perfect Son of God? To push past all that rejection?
Jesus called it out. "Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven — for she loved much …" (Luke 7:47a, ESV). Her love for Jesus gave her this unlikely confidence.
What caused her to love Jesus so much? We’re not given details about her except she was a woman "who lived a sinful life" in that town.
What had she seen? And experienced? Luke 7:11-15 offers a clue:
"Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out — the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’ Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother." (Luke 7:11-15, NIV)
Maybe the woman was in this crowd and saw Jesus’ compassion, love, kindness, caring.
I’m not sure exactly what happened, but one thing is certain: She encountered unconditional love and it gave her the confidence to push past rejection. She knew she was wanted and it compelled her to show love in return.
Based on her past, I’m sure she knew no man could fill the gap in her heart. Yet this Man, this perfect One, loved her and it gave her unshakeable confidence.
Love empowered her.
This woman shows us: Confidence doesn’t come from doing everything right or having it all together. Confidence comes from knowing we are loved. Jesus gave it; she received it.
We, too, can find confidence, no matter how unlikely it may seem to us. Confidence to push past our barriers in order to receive and return Perfect Love.
Confidence isn’t something you’re born with. Nor do you get it from the perfect childhood or the model marriage. Rather, it comes from knowing you are loved by the One who gave His life for you.
Dear God, I want confidence like this woman. Confidence to push past my past and find expressions of love for You. Thank You for loving me and empowering me to love You back. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 3:12, "In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." (NIV)
Hebrews 4:16, "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (NIV)
If you know a young woman who is suffering from a lack of confidence, Lynn Cowell’s book, Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants can help. Purchase your copy here.
Visit Lynn’s Cowell’s blog for more encouragement on discovering God’s confidence, and learn about her empowering Wednesday Wisdom Tips.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Has there been an event in your life or a sin you’ve struggled with that has taken away your confidence?
Ask God to heal your heart, remove your sin and help you walk daily in His confidence.
© 2016 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.