By David Faust
A lot of what happens in the world, both good and bad, occurs because most people are insecure.
Activated by Apprehension
On the positive side, a healthy awareness of one’s own weaknesses leads to humility and reliance on God. Only by knowing their limits can athletes find a way to surpass them. Overwhelming danger makes a warrior find the courage to fight. The enormity of the mountain motivates a hiker to rise to the challenge of climbing it. The desire for approval and applause drives actors and artists to practice and perform with excellence. Comedian Ray Romano has admitted, “It’s my insecurity that makes me want to be a comic, that makes me need the audience.”
Insecurity leads to negative consequences too. In some people it causes unhappiness, withdrawal, and depression. It makes others cocky, critical, and mean-spirited. Insecure individuals may aspire to leadership because it gives them the chance to push others around. Unable to face their own inadequacies, bullies experience cruel self-gratification by picking on the weaknesses of others. Deep down, personalities who appear self-confident, ambitious, and arrogant—from history’s dictators to Hollywood’s divas—are actually among the least secure. Insecurity drives them toward dominance and fame so they can feel better about themselves. That’s my theory, anyway.
Security for the Soul
In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul dealt with the great themes of liberty versus legalism, the fruit of the Spirit versus the deeds of the flesh. The letter helps us understand what it means to be spiritually and emotionally secure.
Security can’t be based on popularity with others. Paul asked, “Am I trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
Security cannot be attained through personal achievements. Even the great apostle Paul wasn’t good enough to be saved by his own merits; he relied on God’s grace. He learned, “We may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified” (2:16).
Our egos gain strength, not from the relentless pursuit of self-esteem, but by accepting the fact that imperfect people find our ultimate identity in the perfect Christ. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (2:20).
In Christ we not only find ourselves; we discover true unity with others: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:26-28).
Self-generated self-esteem is shifting sand, but Christ is a solid rock. Just as Jesus broke the bread before he blessed it, he usually has to break us before he blesses us. When all is said and done, our broken souls find security and significance in Christ, and Christ alone.
1. Do you agree that many of today’s problems are caused by insecure people?
2. What makes your soul secure?
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of The Lookout.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for May 25, 2014
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
2 Samuel 8—10
2 Samuel 11, 12
2 Samuel 13
2 Samuel 14, 15
2 Samuel 16, 17
2 Samuel 18, 19