One of the main thrusts of our society over the past few years, one in which society is willing to give an admonition, is the concept of confidence.
Having a positive self-image.
Through having a positive self-image – confidence – your security is derived through how you view yourself.
Society teaches a concept of thinking positively about your hair color, hair style, style in general, that through having this outlook on yourself this will instill a confident life.
Confidence in living.
Our culture disapproves of our lack of confidence. We call that insecurity. Therefore, everything is set up to create worth, value, and the view of yourself.
Insecurity is offensive to many because it is an offense to the worthiness of the individual. God, likewise, disapproves of insecurity because it is an offense to His worthiness. You see the difference.
Our culture teaches that you must depend on, and view, yourself differently. That brings confidence. Yet, in all of our efforts to create self-confidence, security in who we are, what we are, and what we have, we are producing more and more insecure people.
The Bible teaches that you must depend on God, view God differently, and that your confidence is through your relationship with God.
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh…” Philippians 3:1-4 (NKJV)
The Jews referred to Gentiles as dogs. Yet, here, Paul is telling the Philippians to beware, not of Gentiles, but of those who are of the circumcision, or were about cutting things off or, literally, mutilators. Jews, who would follow behind Paul and say to the Gentiles, “If you’re really serious about knowing God, what Paul said is okay as a beginning point, but you need to be circumcised if you want to be truly spiritual.”
There are still those today who imply that, to be spiritual, one must be miserable; those who say, “If you’re truly spiritual, you’ll do this and not do that; you’ll go here, but not there.” It’s those who want to put their limits on you. They want you to become secure through their concept of security, which really leads to insecurity. Of them, Paul says, beware.
The true circumcision are not those who want to inflict pain. The truly spiritual man is one who worships God in the Spirit, rejoices in Christ Jesus, and has no confidence in the flesh. True circumcision is not a mark on the flesh; it’s a mark in the heart. We teach people through our words, customs, and our confidence in the flesh to become insecure. Confidence in the flesh is the basis of insecurity.
1. Insecurity is being distracted from God by being preoccupied with ourselves.
Insecurity gets in the way of doing what God called us to do: love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and to love others.
Let me ask you, how many times have you backed off of what God has asked you to do because your outfit just isn’t right, your pants are a little clingy, or your hair is having a bad day? You don’t do what God wants you to do because you are self-conscious! Not God-Conscious but self-conscious.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NKJV)
2. Insecurity is often dissatisfaction with God’s provision.
Insecurity is often nothing more than grumbling for better manna. We are sick of adequate nourishment; we want extraordinary flavor. We don’t like what God has given; money, position, appearance, personality, and we grumble for something better.
The pursuit of confidence in the flesh is ruining our view of God. It causes dissatisfaction with God and His provision in our lives. Such discontentment is a snare of “many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1Timothy 6:6-10 (ESV)
Our dissatisfaction with self is often nothing more than our dissatisfaction with God.
3. Security found in the approval of others
Insecurity often reveals that our confidence is found in the approval of others. We want other people to like us, love us, and judge us worthy, at the expense of what God, and how God, views us.
God doesn’t care what you drive, what you wear, what you have, or what you don’t have. We all know it, we understand it, and will even amen that. However, we still care, but only because they still care. We care more about the things that make us worthy of a like, versus what will make us worthy to stand before Him.
Insecurity shows that we are still, in some way, believing that our justification is based upon our own attributes and accomplishments. We lack confidence and trust because we are trusting in ourselves versus trusting in God.
“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10 (NKJV)
One of the greatest weapons in the arsenal of your enemy is doubt. Satan loves to bring doubt into your mind. Doubt causes insecurity.
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV)
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)
Doubt and worry cause anxiety, and this is displeasing to Jesus.
Our opening Scripture tells us that we shouldn’t be anxious about what we shall eat, what we shall wear, or what we shall drink.
Worry, fear, and doubt about your future are insecurity in the provision of God. This is the breeding ground for depression. Insecurity leads to a lack of peace, and then fear sets in. We become depressed about that which we don’t have, all the while forgetting all we do have.
When we doubt, have fear, worry, or are insecure about God, Satan wins.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NKJV)
Insecurity will cause you to distrust others. Remember Saul and David. The closer you get to God, the more secure you are.
The Training of Circus Elephants
I found the following passage in a book written by Gavin De Becker in 1997 entitled: The Gift of Fear, Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence. It essentially explains the dynamics of learned helplessness:
“The way circus elephants are trained demonstrates this dynamic well: When young, they are attached by heavy chains to large stakes driven deep into the ground. They pull and yank and strain and struggle, but the chain is too strong, the stake too rooted. One day they give up, having learned that they cannot pull free, and from that day forward they can be “chained” with a slender rope. When this enormous animal feels any resistance, though it has the strength to pull the whole circus tent over, it stops trying. Because it believes it cannot, it cannot.
“You’ll never amount to anything. You can’t sing. You’re not smart enough. You’re a loser. You should have more realistic goals. You’re the reason our marriage broke up. Without you kids I’d have had a chance. You’re worthless.
“This concert is being sung in homes all over America right now. The stakes driven into the ground, the heavy chains attached, the children reaching the point they believe they cannot pull free. And at that point, they cannot.
“Unless and until something changes their view, unless they grasp the striking fact that they are tied with a thread, that the chain is an illusion, that they were fooled, and ultimately, that whoever so fooled them was wrong about them and that they were wrong about themselves…”
The spirit of Southern Illinois is tied to our past; how you were raised, how you were brought up to believe. It is learned helplessness, learned poverty, learned depression, learned religion. You can break the chain, you can cut the rope.
The church must introduce them to Jesus, and then we, as the church, cannot tie chains on them.
The view has to change, the faith has to be increased. The chain is an illusion. The concept is a lie.
We must take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and cut the rope off of ourselves and others.
Our God shall supply all of our needs – Philippians 4:19
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want – Psalms 23
We are the sheep of His pasture and we are secure in Him. Our confidence isn’t in anything we have done, or that we will do. Our confidence is in Christ and His finished work.