Weekend Devotion: Killing Insecurity 

  
Image created with wordswag, used with permission. 

Weekend Devotion: Insecurity is not humility. Humility is a right assessment of oneself in relation to God. Let’s explore pride. 

Pride is preoccupation with self whether positive or negative. Pride refuses help-I don’t need or want assistance even if it is greatly needed. Pride fuels unbelief (not agreeing with God), bickering (I know better than you), jealousy (I deserve that attention), competition (I deserve to be first), put downs, mean sarcasm/excessive criticism, racism and sexism (someone must be inferior for me to feel superior), rebellion, self pity, insecurity, clamors to be promoted (give me a title, put me in charge), unwilling to serve/sacrifice for others. And a host of other things…

I did not feel bad about myself until I stepped into ministry. It is okay. God has healed the damage done by well meaning Christians. 

When I entered ministry I was told feeling like dirt was humility. I needed to pretend to be bad at things to give God glory. Not sure how that works? “Oh God, I am ugly, untalented, have nothing to offer, horrible“,. God responds, “Ummm I made you, so you are saying as a Creator/Artist I am not very skilled?” 

He is the Artist, we are His artwork. Insulting the artwork is insulting the Artist. 

I noticed people who ascribed to worm theology (some not all) struggled with loving others. Why? Because they thought so low of themselves. We can only give away the love we have first received. If I feel like dirt, how am I going to love, empower others? If I feel like dirt, I will most likely struggle with jealousy/comparison, and cut others down to feel better. 

I also realized worm theology and “I am dirt” is just the flip coin of pride. It is saying, “My opinion of me is more important than God’s. I know better than God. Me! Me! Me! Woah is me. I am but a wretched worm.” 

I love what Pastor Bill Johnson says, “I can not afford to have a thought in my head that God doesn’t have in His.” 

How do earthly parents feel about their kids? Just look at Social Media and you can see it. They brag on their kids all day, every day. God loves infinitely more. He is not looking to suppress what He has given or created. 

God is proud of His kids. He cheers for His kids. He believes in His kids. He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He, through Jesus, seated us in heavenly places and made us joint heirs with Jesus. We are His workmanship created for His glory. We are highly valued by God. Jesus paid for our lives with His. God doesn’t make junk. 

We are not God. We are not to be worshipped, elevated to His equal or above Him. We are though to honor what He created. It brings Him glory. 

How did Jesus walk out humility? I never read of Him having perpetual pity parties or insulting Himself, nor pretending He wasn’t who the Father said He was. 

Jesus served. He did not demand others serve Him. Humility is willing to serve, even without credit/glamor. 

Jesus forgives. Pride holds onto grudges. 

Jesus empowers others. He believed in the disciples, gave them chances before they proved themselves, and knowing sometimes they would fail. 

Jesus accepted help from others. Pride doesn’t want help. Jesus invited the disciples to pray for Him. 

Jesus sacrificially loved. Pride is “me focused”-serve me, love me, bless me. Me! Me! Me! 

Jesus acknowledged His dependence on the Father. 

Jesus had a right assessment of Himself in relation to the Father. 

Jesus gave others chances to shine/step into their destiny. After He multiplied the fish and loaves, He invites the disciples to do the same. 

Jesus associated with the weak, broken, outcasts of society. He wasn’t too good to be with the least of them. 

He did not look down His nose on others. 

Jesus empowered women and treated them with respect, honor, dignity. 

Jesus did not have to send out business cards “Messiah”, or walk in the room and say, “I am here, bow to Me peasants.” He walked in agape love and power; it drew people to Him and the Father. 

Jesus washed feet. He served those who would later betray Him. 

Jesus said, “When you see Me, you have seen the Father.” He invites us to abide in Him so other’s see the Father. 

Jesus submitted His entire life to the Father. Out of love He submitted. Pride hates to come into agreement with others. It demands it’s own way. 

Good news, if we have pride there is forgiveness and mercy. I am not immune from pride. I have found when I disagree with God, that’s pride. When I focus too much on me, pride. When I overshare out of excitement and forget to listen or to consider my audience, pride. God says, “Come be loved by Me.” 

Pride melts away in His Presence. He doesn’t beat me up. He loves me to life. Being with Him and agreeing with Him leads to transformation. He, as the Masterful Surgeon, prunes away in love. We are all in process, being transformed from glory to glory. 

So may you and I abide in His love, stay connected to the Vine, agree with God, and love ourselves as He does. The love we receive can be poured out on Him. Then we can love our neighbor as ourselves.

Knowing Jesus Leads to Confidence!

20131123-185808.jpg

We’ve spent months studying identity in Christ and insecurity. It’s easy to talk about insecurity. It’s quite another to walk out of insecurity and into confidence.

Here are some of things that work against confidence:

1. Caring what people think. The Bible says the fear of man is a snare or trap (Prov. 29:25). No matter what you do, there will be someone, somewhere who has a problem with you. You’re not living for people. You’re living for God. We don’t know our own hearts or motives, therefore people aren’t the best judges of one another. God can see the heart fully.

2. Fear of being arrogant or prideful. Someone decided teaching people they are worthless honors God. Nothing is further from the truth. Insulting a painting doesn’t glorify the Artist. Why would you come to save something of no value? Jesus gave His life because of God’s great love for people.

Pride says, “I’m self made. I’m more important than others. It’s all about me.” Confidence says, “God made me, and He doesn’t make junk. I am who God says I am and can do what He says I can do. I’m significant and so are you!” Arrogance is selfish and self centered, confidence serves others.

3. Trying to fix yourself! The truth is intimacy with God leads to confidence. Reading the Bible, positive self talk, reading books about confidence; these are all good things. The best thing is relationship and intimacy with God. As we behold Him, we become like Him. Being with God, abiding in Him, leads to fruit! Jesus was not and is not insecure. God is confident.

20131123-194123.jpg

4. Looking to sources other than God for identity. We have talked quite a bit about this. Society tries to switch the focus to beauty, youth, success, money, relationships, or sex. If God is not the source of identity, our identity is on shifting sands.

5. Rely on feelings! I’ve heard more people say, “I don’t feel…fill in the blank.” Feelings are not always a good indication of truth. Feelings are not bad.They can work for or against you. God’s word is truth.

Many times the heart needs a truth encounter. We are called to live by the Spirit not be led by the Flesh. This is a process that develops through intimacy with God.

Final Thoughts:

Jesus didn’t come to beat us down; He came to lift us up.

Confidence is thanking God for who He created us to be. As a loving Father, He doesn’t want us to insult or undervalue what He created and who He loves.

We are so blessed in Christ! He has given us so much through relationship with Him.

Jesus paid for us to have confidence in Him! Apart from Him we have nothing, with Him we have everything! Live confident, bold, and fearless in Him.

20131123-194237.jpg

What’s Your Status? (Killing Insecurity Part 8)

20130817-174248.jpg

Today I wanted to touch on a topic that causes many people to be insecure. It’s the area of status. Two questions we normally ask adults are, “What do you do?” and “Are you married or seeing someone?” It’s easy even in a Christian environment to place a certain value on people or lack of value based on status (marital or financial).

I recall being in a ministry long ago with mostly married couples. The women when they found out I wasn’t married and did not have children, did not want to engage much with me. I’ve heard married women say, “I feel so sorry for all the single women out there. I’m so glad I’m not single.”

I don’t base my worth on being a wife or mom. However, I know women who do. If it’s not marriage or kids, it’s being successful. Some don’t enjoy life because they have not “arrived” at this place of ultimate status. The desire for marriage is not wrong, placing self worth in the ability to find someone is unhealthy.

Any source of identity or worth outside of Christ is an idol. Marriage, money, titles, or being a parent do not make a person more valuable. I truly believe the divorce rate being so high can partially be attributed to idolatry. God is our source. Anything He gives us in addition to Him is a means to thank Him more. He never intends to take second place to anyone.

You must not have any other god but me, Exodus 20:3.

If you are not the CEO at your company, if you’re not married or you are divorced, if you don’t have children, or the praise of your peers…you are valuable to God. Your worth is determined by who you are in Him. It is not determined by your status.

I’ve heard people teach you are half a person without a spouse, therefore you must get married. Jesus never taught this, nor did Paul. Marriage was God’s idea and when it’s done His way, with Him at the center, it’s a beautiful picture of creation.

Some will never marry, some will be widowed, some will choose service to God over marriage, some have the gift of singleness (read 1 Corinthians 7). Paul wrote the majority of the New Testament as a single person. Jesus never married. I often think if Jesus or Paul walked into our midst today, they would be rejected. Our culture celebrates the rich, beautiful, married, and successful.

Throughout history there are many singles who have done great things for God. Being single didn’t make them special, finding their identity and worth in Christ propelled them into a great destiny.

Whether married, single, tons of kids, no kids, rich, poor, successful or struggling, your worth is only determined by who you are in Christ. Everyone is loved in God’s Kingdom. There are no inferior people. You are so valuable and deeply loved.

May we as the Body of Christ treat every person with respect, honor, and dignity.

Perfectionism is Self Abuse (Killing Insecurity Part 7)

20130810-161900.jpg

There are many things that cause us to be insecure. I am not sure there is one quite as powerful as perfectionism. I’ve struggled in the past with perfectionism and have traded it in for seeking excellence. It still rears it’s ugly head at times, but I recognize it’s not healthy.

Perfectionism is this driving force that causes people to strive for what may not be possible. It is a way to boost self esteem. It says, “If I do everything perfectly then I am good. If I make no mistakes or have no flaws, then I am valuable.”

Perfectionism fuels the ego and pride. It is a way to be in control, bypass outside criticism, or gain praise (even if it’s self praise).

Perfectionism says, “Your worth and identity is wrapped up in appearance, performance, or the ability to be in control.”

Magazines tell us what the perfect body is supposed to look like, and advertisers tell us what we need to buy or do to have a perfect life. We are praised and rewarded in school for getting the highest marks. Our society applauds this “man made” version of perfection.

The church isn’t always immune from perfectionism. There are standards of what a “perfect” Christian does. There are things God tells us to do, and we should obey Him. There are other things that are traditions of men. God doesn’t love us more if we spend all day serving Him. Our doing for Him does not win us more love. We do what God says out of our love for Him. We cannot do enough good works to earn our own righteousness. If we could, there would have been no reason for Jesus to come. We are fully dependent on His perfection and righteousness, not striving to obtain our own apart from Him.

Perfectionism is self abuse because our value and worth is tied up in something that is unstable, ourselves. When we make a mistake or fail at something, along comes condemnation, guilt, shame, fear, and for some self loathing.

You and I are not perfect. God alone is perfect. Without Him we can do nothing. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John 15:5. We can’t breathe without God. Even people who don’t believe in God are alive because He allows them to be. God is perfect and because He exists, we exist.

So what’s the cure?

Finding value and acceptance in Jesus. He was perfect for us. We invite Him into our lives and rest in what He’s done.

We accept, though it is not easy, that we have flaws. We will make mistakes in life, and we rely on God’s grace. We don’t make mistakes on purpose nor are we passive or lazy. We seek to be excellent for God’s glory, not perfect for our own glory or self esteem.

When our identity is in what Jesus has done, we are free to be who we are and we follow His lead. We allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and to empower us to refrain from sinning.

The key is to not have our worth or value rooted in our appearance, ability, talent, knowledge, skill, or meeting some standard of perfection. It’s not easy in our world to bypass this trap of striving for some standard of perfection. However, it is much easier to abide in the True Vine. His yoke is easy and His burden light!

20130810-162017.jpg