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We are definitely small fry in a tank full of sharks when it comes to a lot of religious issues. We are new on the scene, small in numbers, incredibly poor, fairly uneducated, and a long way from being respectable.

But sometimes the small fry can say things the know-it-alls can't. We can say, for example, that it isn't so important that people respect or believe us as it is that they respect and believe God. We can say that others can hear from God as easily as we can hear from him. And we can say that God is not going to roast people in hell for being skeptical about what we say, since we're a little skeptical ourselves sometimes.

Matthew 7:29 says that Jesus (unlike the Pharisees) preached with authority. The Pharisees had formal education and respected positions in the religious system. But real authority does not come from these sort of things. It comes in the same package with Truth. And if the truth is that we don't have all the answers, then we may actually exude more authority by admitting it than we would by bombastically trying to cover it up.

Even Jesus said he didn't know how to do anything unless God showed him (John 5:19, John 5:30) John the Baptist-the greatest prophet that ever lived up till Jesus-did not even know he was a prophet. (John 1:19-27, and Luke 7:28) He said he was just a "voice".

James said, "Don't try to be an expert in every field, or people will not believe you when you do know what you are talking about. (James 3:1-2)

And Jesus said that there is greater honour in under-estimating your authority than there is in overestimating it. (Luke 14:8-11)

Obviously there are some areas where we have more confidence than others. But true confidence does not have to be arrogant or boastful. "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)

So let's not get defensive about ourselves personally or ourselves as a group. Our confidence needs to just be in God's love, Christ's teachings, and honest recognition of our own unworthiness. Believe it or not, that will give us more true authority than any amount of shouting and hollering.

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