The End of Insecurity

End of Insecurity

I John 5:18-20 (NLT)  We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.

We know…or do we? Sharing with the women’s group on Tuesday night, I am overtaken by the realization that although our confession is total reliance on grace that if it were really true – there would be a far greater bond among us. Relationship. We know…begins the verses in I John 5. As God’s Children, we do not make a practice of sinning…and so on and so forth. However, before charging off into life, one must stop for a moment and consider am I God’s Child? No, I am not questioning your salvation or even my own. I am thinking about relationship. My relationship to God is as a child. I am His Offspring through Jesus Christ. One must consider the relationship before doing all the things associated with it. Do I act like God’s Kid? Do I live in the confidence of our connection? Do I truly believe that I am His Child through spiritual adoption that allows me the privilege of His Presence and fortune of His Favor?

We know or do we? Do I fully recognize that although the enemy has control over the world that my Father has control over me? What loving parent would forsake their child to danger? The relationship that I have with God the Father through Christ the Son is of a parental nature. He doesn’t just save us and leave us until the end of our life. He is with us. Christ lives in us. However, compromised trust and disbelief make it difficult to live in such a relationship. Common sense tells us this is too good to be true. We must preserve some of our independence. Our sinful nature is born desiring its own way. What child doesn’t pitch a tantrum when restricted? What toddler does resist restriction? We know that we are Children of God but live like orphans sometimes.

We know that the Son of God has come. Of course, we celebrate the Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who is the Savior. Right? We praise Him in church. Worship Him with our life. Try to stay true to His Word. What does all this mean if we do not “KNOW” that we are His Children? Nothing really…nothing at all. The relationship between Jesus Christ in us and the God around us must connect and form a union that bears confidence. Otherwise, our insecurities will overtake us even in the midst of serving God.

Psalm 63:8 (NLT) I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.

Do you know today? I am asking myself the very same thing. Is His Grace enough for me today? Grace is not just for the forgiveness of sins but allows us to give ourselves away to others freely in return. Every seed God plants yields a harvest. Grace is Christ’s investment of us. It is the security that fills my insufficiencies. He offers power for my weakness that only works when I submit. Give in. Give it all to Jesus. Grace is my full assurance that God’s Strong Right Hand holds me securely.

Everyone thinks that their dad is the strongest, smartest and bravest without rival. If there was a father or father figure in our life – he automatically has super hero status. I believe that it is our desire for God that creates a need to put such a label on the men folk in our life. We desire the Father’s Blessing. The eternity in our heart searches for it. Yet even those who live for years nurturing and cultivating the seed of faith in their heart will struggle with acceptance and security in the Father’s Hand. Relationship comes first. We must come to know and understand and agree that Christ is enough to secure our righteousness and restore our relationship with God our Father. Living in such a relationship allows our faith to grow into true confidence in the hope that we have freeing us from any and all insecurity in life.

Ephesians 4:13-15 (NLT)  This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

There are many who claim Christianity as their religion. However, religion sometimes can lend to insecurity in our overzealous attempt to secure something that is found in Christ alone and given sufficiently by grace. Spiritual maturity is defined by security. His Grace must be enough to become a Child of God. Grace is defined by favor that cannot be earned or obtained any other way but as a gift. We must accept God’s Grace. In doing so, it fills us with free love. Love that is no longer self-produced but overflowing in copious amounts from God the Father. When my children walk in the room and I catch a glimpse of them, I can feel my heart swell, a smile creeps across my face, and I long to reach out to touch them. They are my children. I love them. I cannot spend enough time with them. I desire to bless them. I do not want them to want or need anything. I long for them to live long and satisfied lives. I am only human. Imagine how the Father feels about us?

It is the Will of God and purpose of Christ in us that the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s son will produce spiritual maturity that allows us to measure up to the full and complete standard of Christ which is love and security. Nothing can separate us from God’s Love. (Romans 8) No one can snatch us from His Hand. (Isaiah 43) Am I secure in the Father’s Hand? Hmmm. Insecurity is defined as a lack of confidence. It is self-doubt. To be insecure means fearful, anxious, uneasy, and not firmly or reliably placed. It is in essence to “be tossed and blown about” every time the wind changes, situations rise up, circumstances happen, or conditions change. It is to evaluate ourselves according to other people and appearances rather than examination of our heart. How do I know if I am insecure or bound by insecurity?

I Samuel 16:7 (NLT) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Who has the greatest influence on your thoughts today? Is it God or man? Let me help you. When Samuel came to find the next King of Israel, Jesse lined up his “best” sons. As Samuel made his way down the line, it was clear none of these fine young men were the one. He asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” No, there was still the youngest out tending the flocks. So Jesse sent for David, and when he walked in – “the Lord said, ‘this is the one; anoint him.”

We are all judges. We judge people every day based on personal or even public appearance. Once a judgment is formed, comparison begins. It is human nature. It is just what people do. Clearly instructed not to…it is still just a basic instinct.

Luke 6:37-38 (NLT) “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Sharing time with the girls at our Bible study last night, I looked around the room at those beautiful faces. Each one representing a life of found grace and growing faith. For a moment, just a second, I realized that the judgment of others is not the most debilitating condition but it begins by judging ourselves. Insecurity begins by the lie that God’s Grace is not enough to cover my sin, regret and shame. To put some things under the Blood of Christ and allowing them to be caught up in the sea called forgetfulness but holding on to others as our cross to bear. His Grace is enough. I can’t do a single thing to earn or quality my life to receive it. Jesus chose to give it to me – free and clear. I can only accept it. If I am successful in doing so, my insecurity will begin to give way to full assurance that Christ is enough for me. My need to “do” more and “be” more to prove my love will dissolve in the true revelation that He is enough and all that I need to be free to love and be loved without reservation. I will not need to judge others. I will not condemn them with my words. I will be able to forgive the deepest offense because it cannot take root in my grace-filled heart. Such a gift, God’s Grace will return to my lap as His Favor takes over my life with all the bountiful fruits of His Glorious Spirit. The Bread of His Body will heal all the breaks in my heart mending every relationship until the Body, His Bride becomes one. I must give all my heart to this thing called grace to know is sufficiency and experience full security in God’s Love for me. The end of insecurity is the fulfillment of God’s Grace.

Hebrews 13:8-9 (NLT) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NLT) Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

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Beyond the Shadows

Beyond the Shadows

I John 5:13-15 (MSG)

My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.

 

Each morning I take our little dogs out back to take care of their business. With a single light shining in a grassy corner, I carefully watch over them until ready to come in…with good reason. One of them weighs seven pounds and the other around four pounds – this labels them as a food source for the many predatory birds that live in the protected areas around our neighborhood. Case in point, right before we obtained the second dog, I was in the backyard trying to see off in the darkness as the little man strolled around the yard. In the distance, I could make out what looked like an owl sitting on the sign at the school across the street. I could hear his distinctive call, but then thought maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me when I looked again and it was gone. I caught a glimpse of movement just in time to see the great horned owl perch on the fence with wings in attack mode trying to see the dog now running for the door. So many times, I stand in the backyard convinced I hear or see something in the darkness, and only one time have I been right in my assumption. Most of the time, it is only my vast imagination getting the best of me. I worry about the little dogs in my care afraid that some beast will carry them off for their next meal.

Our mind is a powerful thing. It can be quite convincing without validation or truth as we are born with quite the imagination. It is important to take each thought and subject it to the Word of God and His Wisdom. Worry is the enemy of faith and destroys the foundation of truth being built in our life. Yet most of us live in such a mode, worry and anxiety overtake faith and confidence in God creating certain insecurities. Insecurity is a dangerous position for any man or woman. When surveying our life, there are inherent strengths and weaknesses. Things that we determine about ourselves based on self-evaluation and life experiences. These ideals can be dream stealers, faith crushers and life destroyers. The saddest part is that such notions are simply not true. We have taken inaccurate information as the truth. We buy it hook, line and sinker because it lines up with what we believe about ourselves and drags us deep into discouragement, depression and despair. God wants to free us from these shadows of insecurity that arise in our life so that His Wonder Working Power will prevail in our life.

John 8:12-14 (MSG)

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.” Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true.

 

Pharisee or not, we have all been there. “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on…” Oh, no you don’t. We think we do but that is just because we are still insecure in our faith. It is not strong enough to keep us attached to the hope that we have in Him. I can totally relate to this passage on most days. I am a very visual person. I want to see it. Touch it. Toss it around. The whole “take my word for it” thing doesn’t generally work for me. I have trust issues that I am still dealing with day by day as I fight the good fight of faith. How about you? Do you always take God’s Word for it? Come on. No one really does completely that I am aware of. Everyone has doubts and insecurities that manifest as worry.

Yesterday, I received a call from my son. The one who has had cancer. Healthcare is an ongoing issue for him and recently has been visiting the “routine” doctors in his life. Approaching one year of remission, I don’t get the number of calls that I used to. I have tried to let him live a somewhat normal college life now that I do not have to be at his side all of the time. This is not the kid that calls. An occasional text is status quo. I jumped at the caller ID and grabbed it quickly. A test came back showing a minor problem that needs to be addressed. No biggie. I am not at all worried about the procedure. However, his life experiences for the last three almost four years tend to keep me a little edgy where he is concerned. I have no reason to fear. Immediately, I took it to the Lord in prayer. At my desk, on the job, I just asked the Lord to heal him, protect him and guide us in the matter. Instant peace. Why was that so easy? After the last few years, I have determined that God is 100% and completely faithful when it comes to my children. Issue resolved. BUT… there are a number of other areas in my life that I am still facing challenges in this area.

Jesus is the Light of this world. I must use His Word and His Power to call my life from the shadows of doubt and pockets of darkness filled with insecurities until every part of it is in the light. Even those parts that I thought I could manage or keep under control, must all be surrendered if I want God’s Fullness and Completion in my life.

James 1:2-8 (MSG)

 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

 

Whether the worries in our life are real or perceived they are equally dangerous for our faith. When we are tested or challenged in this life, it forces our faith life out into the open. We can see just how strong and relevant it is by how we respond to problems in our life. Jesus is the Light of the world. A light is only good if you turn it on and use it. A flashlight hidden in a drawer with dead batteries will not get us through a stormy night when we lose power. We must keep that flashlight in hand constantly checking to make sure that the batteries are fully charged to make a difference when the darkness comes. Our faith must be empowered by the Word of God and held tightly by our Hope in Him. We must be cognizant of what the Lord is capable of doing and convinced that is going to do it enough to keep on until He does. Unfortunately, we let go and let God…but still try to help Him out!

Colossians 2:8-10 (MSG)

Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.

 

When we come to Jesus with every single detail of our life, dragging it all out into the openness of prayer yielding it ALL to Him and letting it go completely by faith and confidence in the Lord we become free as His Power extends into EVERYTHING we are doing or trying to do in our life. We must release the empty traditions of religion. God doesn’t have a “you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours” mentality. I am and I will. That’s what the Lord says. He may or He might is what insecurity says. He can and He will is the position of those who live by faith. Our faith must excuse all other options to release the fullness of His Power in our life.

Philippians 4:4-9 (MSG)

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

I have no reason to worry. I do not have anything to fear in my life. Every detail of my existence was handwritten and fully prescribed by the Hand of God. There is nothing that surprises Him or catches the Lord off guard. Only me. Even when I fail or fall short, He knows and has already provided the love, grace and mercy that I need to keep after this thing called faith. I have every reason to celebrate God every single day of my life – good or bad. He is always good. His Goodness pursues me in life. I know this. I have read it. I believe it. Yet I still have days that I struggle with worry, anxiety, fear, and yes, even doubt. I am only human. On those days, I just have to fight a little harder to open up my life to the Light of His Great Love. There is potential for improvement in every moment of my life as God completes the good work that HE started and by His Word, says will complete WITHOUT my help. I just need to have enough faith to silence my insecurities to release the Power of God hidden inside of this weak and broken vessel built to contain and run over the Glory of God in life.

Worry, doubt and fear that comprise our insecurities are best dealt with in prayer. We must stop complaining, grumbling and talking about our problems with everyone else and take the time to turn them over to the Lord. God’s Wholeness and Completion comes to those who do not let worry take over their faith in God or destroy their confidence in Him. You are not called to be the strong one in life. You are called a Child of God. I will fight for my children. I would lay down my life for them. I would die for them if ever called to do so. They are my life here on earth. They are my world. If I love them that much and care about them like that, oh how God loves us. I have nothing to worry about. There is no reason to fear. Today I will drag every insecurity, lack of confidence, self-doubt and instability out of the darkness and subject them to the Light of His Love and attempt to leave them there until all the shadows are empty and filled with His Love.

I Thessalonians 5:4-8 (NLT)

But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.