With this Letters To The Hurting series I’ve been compelled to put myself in the shoes of the respective audience each week. For me, last week’s topic was easy to identify with (Dear Worn Out & Weary). My wife and I find ourselves needing periodic recharging and re-centering. Certainly in raising a family, balancing work, kid’s activities, and ministry opportunities, we find ourselves needing to make rest a priority. I can easily relate to those in a similar place.
Today’s topic is one that I have struggled with in the past as well. Not so much now as I once did. But in my coming of age years and into college and early adulthood, I definitely wrestled with insecurity. Who am I? What is my life’s purpose? What will I be known for? In all of this, I struggled to find any peace if what I was after was not about Christ. I pursued things thinking “This will be what I’m about. This is what people will think when they see my name.” But I found in looking for that thing (whatever it was), I did not find relief. I did not find security. In fact, I only wrestled more until I regularly and routinely released the question back to God. “Who do You want me to be Lord? Who do You say I am?”
I believe insecurity comes because we have misplaced our hope. We’ve talked about it a lot here and some previous blogs may be of some benefit (see True Identity, The Weakest And The Least, Lies About Ourselves, and Who We Are). But we quickly go back into old habits and pick up other things; shiny things, even good things and put our value and worth in them. Instead, what if we put our hope only in Jesus? We would see everything else flows from Him. All our longings are met in Him. Insecurity has to flee because we know He has claimed us: we are His and He is our identity.
With all this to lay the groundwork, let’s once again go to the feet of our Savior and Lord. Hearing Him speak words of life and truth reminds us who we are in Him. Let’s go.
1. Look up
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much. Ephesians 2:4
It’s time for one big, bold statement. Ready? Here it is: Your identity is not based upon what you do, but on what Christ did. I so wish I understood this as a teenager and college kid. Even in my 20s and 30s, I still did not have this figured out. I won’t say I have it perfect now (far from it!), but I understand it so much more than I once did. Jesus is the source of my identity. His completed, finished work on the cross says so. I know who I am because I know Who He is. He calls me His own. His word repeatedly tells me so.
If we are practical about this, it means we stop living in a way that attaches our worth and value to other things. My job is not the source of my identity. My wife and kids are not the source. My hobbies, my talents, my interests, my money, my possessions….none of those things convey the truth about me. Not if I am in Christ. Those are add-ons and bonuses. Some are things I’m given stewardship over. But they do not define me. He does. And as His child, I find my self-worth again and again. I am first and foremost a child of God and everything else follows from it.
2. Look in
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2
If we’ve looked up and glimpsed into the face of our Savior and Lord, we can then start doing some self-assessment. This is not a time of condemnation or beating ourselves up (remember: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1). Rather, this is a time of saying “Search my heart O God and remove anything that is not of You.” Here, after identifying the source of our identity we simply have to repent of missteps and misaligned patterns of the will. “Have I offended or grieved You at all this week Lord in my walk with You? Reveal it to me. I am sorry.”
Looking in is not always comfortable. And for the insecure, it may seem like just another strike against our already beat-up and troubled soul. But looking in is necessary. With it, we find freedom. With it, the burden of insecurity vanishes and is replaced and rushed in with the peace of His presence. We need to remember the cross puts us all on a level playing field. No one has a better scorecard or higher merits. We have all sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23). Into that realization, Jesus says come and trade your sorrows for My joy.
3. Look out
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35
The temptation we all struggle with is to keep all of this information to ourselves. Whether it be out of fear or just not feeling the burden, we tend to avoid engaging the world on this very issue. And the world is struggling with identity. It is constantly telling us what to find our identity in; what will bring fulfillment and peace to our souls. The world is bankrupt in this area, however. It has no real answers, only fake and phony alternatives to what Jesus offers.
If we have discovered our true identity is in Christ, it should motivate us. It should bring us into action with a strong desire to show and share the world this love. In the Book of John, Jesus spoke of the fields being ready for harvest. The fields were symbolic of the lives that the disciples would be called to reach. It wasn’t a case of the fields not being ripe enough or the disciples not being mature enough. The harvest was ready and Jesus told His followers they must go. If we do not have our identity figured out, we’ll miss the boat. If we are insecure and lack a true understanding of Who Christ is in us, the baton will get passed to someone else. We must look out and see the harvest!
Today as we talk about insecurity, we know that many around us carry this weight daily. We may carry it ourselves from time to time. Satan constantly whispers into our ear various lies. These lies can take the form of: You’re not good enough. God doesn’t want to use you. Does God really have your best in mind? We have to take these thoughts captive and make them known for what they are: complete and utter falsehoods. If we have the word of God in our hearts and are daily renewing our minds, the voice of the Enemy will consistently diminish and the Lord’s voice will increase.
Once again, I’d love to talk with you further off-line about any of this. Perhaps you have wrestled with a calling upon your life and you feel ill-equipped or unworthy to step forward. Let me tell you I’ve been there. Even now, days come when I am tempted to say “I cannot do this Lord.” But in those moments, I am reminded that whether or not I succeed or fail, it is Him that ultimately does the work. And His plans are for His glory and our good. If I remember that truth, it helps me flee insecurity and run safely back into His arms.
Until next time! I love you guys!
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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17