Insecurities are something we all face!
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (ESV Strong's)
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
When I am weak, I am strong, but you know what, I don’t feel strong! My weaknesses still feel like gaping holes in my life, massive eyesores on the landscape of my existence, and I struggle to see how any weakness of mine can be considered a strength in any way.
In this series I want to look at many of the weakness we can plainly see in ourselves, and discover how in God we can see those weaknesses transformed into real strengths in our life and character.
In that passage, Paul says that he is glad and content in his weaknesses, because he sees the power of Christ resting upon him. So your weakness, however powerful, however distressing, however big a part of your life and your character your weakness may seem, it can and will be your greatest success if you seek God first.
SEEK GOD IN YOUR WEAKNESSES
Over the last month or so we have talked about success in life, and overcoming giants. We all have giants, and many of these giants are weaknesses that seem to defeat us over and over again, that control us and how we grow, how we develop. We will not become all we can be in God until we confront the giants of our weaknesses and let God transform them.
The thing is, we need to take our eyes off the weaknesses and place them firmly on Jesus. Usually when we recognise weaknesses we either ignore them and hope they go away, or we try and overcome them ourselves. But neither of these responses will truly see you overcome your weaknesses.
We are so ashamed of what we see as weaknesses, but it’s about time we changed how we view them, because out of what we see as weakness God can make great strength grow. Paul wrote,
2 Corinthians 12:5 (ESV Strong's)
On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—
The Greek word for weakness actually means “want of strength,” and that’s why Paul could boast in it. It’s not about our weakness or feebleness, so much as it’s our lack of strength, and that’s why we need to change how we see our weaknesses… can we see that they’re not inadequacies in us, they are opportunities to let God transform us!
“We must form our estimate of men less from their achievements and failures and more from their sufferings.”…
The first weakness I want to speak about is insecurity…
INSECURITY- POOR SELF WORTH
Insecurity is a common weakness, and it happens in varying degrees. The fact is, outside of God no one is truly secure, because we all crave approval from our loved ones, friends, fans or peers. From a movie star to a Prime Minister, from a millionaire to a footballer, to a pastor to a skid row drunk, all of us want to be loved and approved by someone, and we feel insecure if we are not affirmed.
Paradoxically, often the most successful people, movies stars, pop stars and even dictators, are still hopelessly insecure. Bono, one of the most successful rock stars on the planet can write, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” and Joseph Stalin, one of the most powerful and evil dictators in history, executed thousands of loyal friends in purges in the 1930s, because he worried if they might turn on him. Stalin was incredibly powerful, but hopelessly insecure.
Job 11:18 (ESV Strong's)
And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.
Security is ready, but Insecurity is a full time job! Insecurity makes it almost impossible to experience inner peace, and in the end it all comes down to who you can trust. I meet people all the time that sabotage their relationships because of their insecurities. The opposite of insecurities is obviously security, which gives rise to peace and rest. If you are insecure, you never get peace and rest, you’re constantly on edge, constantly worrying!
PLANTED BY THE PAST
Your insecurities are always a product of what you have experienced in your past. If you were rejected by your parents, you fear that you’ll be rejected by someone now. If you were abused, you fear that someone now will abuse you. If you tried something in the past and failed, you will fear that if you try something now you will fail again. Memories, especially bad ones, beget insecurities.
Your current insecurities are products of what was planted in your past. But today is the day we can make our past past at last!
Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong's)
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
When you come to Christ, whatever hurt you’ve experienced, whatever sin you’ve committed, whatever rejection you’ve endured, however strong their hold might seem upon you, you are a new creation, and unless you give them permission they can’t control you! Listen to this verse,
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV Strong's)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
The old is gone, it’s dead to you, so if it is dead, buried it, don’t prop it up in a corner and cuddle it every night!
WATERED BY THE PRESENT
Our past may be where insecurities are planted, but it is current circumstances that water and fuel their power over us. If you struggle with insecurity, your default position is fear, fear of loss, fear of embarrassment, fear of being betrayed, and you will find it hard to trust others, and also to trust God. But God says…
Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV Strong's)
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
He might as well say, do not be insecure, because despite how things look or how you feel, ultimately God is in control. So how do you connect with and trust God when everything seems to be far from secure, when everything seems to be falling apart, when you find it hard to trust anyone? Well, it starts with a choice…
Listen, circumstances do not determine destiny, choices do. Joseph was in a pit, then became a slave then was thrown in prison. Pretty grim circumstances, but Joseph had a dream, and he realised that if he maintained integrity and obeyed God, that God could and would change circumstances to prosper those who serve Him.
If you’re insecure in any area of your life, the best thing you can do is make the choice to listen to what I say, and then choose to respond and trust God. The antidote to insecurities is faith, and faith is about knowing someone and trusting them.
If we struggle with insecurities, we almost always cover them over, and explain them away. This gives temporary relief, but does not ultimately see you more secure. If you are insecure, worried about life, circumstances, loss, people you love, jobs, anything, you can start along the road to faith and true security with one simple decision. Take a few moments now to say Lord, I decide right now to trust You and be blessed.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong's)
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,
So let’s get practical and talk about…
As individuals in our own strength it is almost impossible to overcome insecurities. Even as believers with God’s Spirit living within us, it is difficult. You could have 10 positives, and one negative, and guess which one you remember! But there are steps we can take in overcoming insecurities…
1. IDENTIFY YOUR INSECURITIES
Everybody experiences different insecurities, often dependent on what we have experienced in the past. If you’ve been hurt or rejected or betrayed by a relationship in the past for example, you will often find it hard to trust your new partner. This can cause many people to sabotage their current trustworthy and positive relationship, by creating insecurities that simple are not there! This is why hurt people hurt people.
If you’ve had a business failure in the past, this fuels sensitivity and insecurity in the financial area. If you’ve had a bad experience in church, then you tend to be insecure and very sensitive to your new church. These insecurities cause us to be more sensitive than we should be in certain areas, and this means that the new pastor needs to work harder before you trust him!
So identifying your insecurities can help to guard you against their effects right now, because if you can identify your opponent, you can often combat them and deal with your negative thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV Strong's)
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
If you can identify a thought that is creating insecurities, take it captive and dispense with it.
2. STEP BACK AND LOOK OBJECTIVELY
It is one thing to just identify insecurities, but it is another thing entirely to see them from God ’s perspective. True faith is seeing things God’s way, and His ways are higher than ours.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV Strong's)
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God brings good out of bad, and He makes lemonade out of life’s lemons. If you take your eyes off your circumstances, off your insecurities and fear and place them on God you change perspective.
Romans 8:28 (ESV Strong's)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
3. REFLECT ON YOUR SUCCESSES
When David faced an impossible situation, when he stood before Goliath, he had every opportunity to be insecure. The whole army had run, and this guys was enormous, but note what David said…
1 Samuel 17:37 (ESV Strong's)
And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
David has previously beaten lions and bears, and these past successes gave him reason to be secure, even in the face of great danger and imminent defeat.
So if you are feeling insecure, stop for a moment and look back on some of the victories you have experienced. I once wrote a songs called “Trophy of My Grace,” for Fiona, because I believe that as she has triumphed over many difficult situations, She became like a trophy to God. He sits her on His mantelpiece and says to the devil, look at this one, she is a trophy of my grace, because she triumphed over what you tried to do to her, and I’m so proud of her!
Whatever problems, whatever pain, whatever abuse, whatever defeat you’ve suffered, think about the triumphs you’ve had. I once heard it said that if the devil tries to remind you of your past, try reminding him of his future.
4. ASSESS YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES IN FAITH
Feed your fears and you’ll fail, feed your faith and your fears starve to death. Insecurity is all about fear, and last I heard,
2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV Strong's)
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Fear is often described as false evidence appear real, because the vast majority of what we fear never actually happens!
Let me talk for a moment of the opposite of fear, which is faith. If you are insecure you need faith, but you need real faith, not the fake, blab it and grab it kind of TV evangelist faith. The great Biblical example of faith is Abraham, and when I was struggling to understand faith God led me to him. He showed real, genuine faith, not fake name it and claim it faith.
I had been told that faith was positive confession, it is calling things that are not as though they were, and indeed faithful people speak positively. But there is a difference between telling God what He needs to do for you and positively confessing that, and hearing from and obeying God.
I saw people trying to convince themselves that God was going to do something, and they talked about raising their faith level. Listen, faith level does not appear in the Bible! Faith is not something you drum up, it’s not something you convince yourself of, you don’t have to raise it to a certain point before it comes true. In fact true faith has less to do with you and everything to do with the object of your faith, which needs to be Jesus!
Romans 4:17-21 (ESV Strong's)
as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. (God does this, not you) In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Abraham did not try and convince himself that he was virile, he did not ignore the facts, but he looked squarely at them, acknowledged they were bad, but said, “My God is bigger than you!”
5. NEVER WALK ALONE
Why come to church? You can see better preaching on God TV or YouTube, right? But what you don’t get is fellowship, people who know and love you walking with you. And as good a preacher as TD Jakes or Joyce Meyer may be, they don’t know you from Adam.
The Bible commands us to meet together because God knows that we can love and support each other to overcome our fears and insecurities. Most people going through a hard time isolate themselves, but we need to share the burdens with those who love and walk with us.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV Strong's)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another,
Whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, come meet with us at Ignite and let us share the burden with you.
6. FILL YOUR MIND WITH GOOD THINGS
We say this often, but in computer terms, garbage in leads to garbage out. If you fill your mind with junky TV shows, dodgy websites, negative songs and horror movies, don’t expect to think godly thoughts when you need to.
Philippians 4:8 (ESV Strong's)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
There’s so much junk out there, but so much goodness in the Word of God. This is why I keep urging you to read the Bible Reading Plan. If you don’t have it, get it, or download it from out website or app. Putting God’s Word into your mind daily renews your mind, washes it clean and washes out many of the insecurities you face.
7. COMMIT TO INNER PEACE
As the Eagles once suggested, we live life in the fast lane. I find myself rushing from appointment to appointment, taking little time to slow down, and this promotes stress rather than peace. The problem with being in the rat race is that, even if you win, you’re still a rat! Yet our flat out, hyper stressed, 100 mile an hour, adrenaline ladened lives crave… peace.
People go to India, contemplate their navel, do yoga and take holidays searching for peace. And we Christians have it here, right at our fingertips, right here in our hearts, peace with God, with man and with ourselves.
We just looked at the verse about thinking good things, but the 2 verses before it are telling…
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV Strong's)
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
As we pray, as we read the Bible, as we commit our lives to the Lord, His perfect peace guards our hearts and minds. Instead of being insecure, instead of being fearful of what may come, instead of worrying about life, ask God for peace… perfect peace.
Isaiah 26:3 (ESV Strong's)
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
ANTIDOTE TO INSECURITIES… FAITH
The antidote to insecurities is faith, and the way you can overcome even deep seated insecurities is to grow your faith in God. Faith comes by hearing and by the Word of God. But when you strip it all back, faith is not something you have to drum up, convince yourself of or fake it until you make it, real and genuine faith is simply knowing God, and trusting Him no matter what!
Faith is not what you know, it’s who you know. Kathryn Kuhlman once said, “I am not a woman with great faith, I am a woman with a little faith in a great God!”
You no longer have to feel insecure when you face any situation. No matter what has happened in the past, no matter what scars it has left, today is a new day, and you are a new creation. When you face anything with God, you plus Him is always a majority. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil!” God says,
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV Strong's)
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Today, if you struggle with insecurities, if you have fear because of your past, if you struggle to face situations with genuine faith, I want to pray for you.
Your insecurities can create mountains in your life, but faith can move mountains!