Security vs. Insecurity
(Where do you place your identity)

     There was a story of this young man who loved the outdoors and to go hiking.  He also liked being alone and often hiked alone.  One day, while hiking, he came to a challenging cliff.  Being a man, he took the challenge to conquer and headed up the face of the mountain.  He carefully chose his hand and foot holds and inched his way upward.  After hours of exhaustive work when he had almost reached the top, there came a strong gust of wind along which threw him off balance.  He lost his hold and began to free fall toward the jagged rocks below, surely to his death.  However on his way down he spotted a limb of a tree protruding outward from the rock wall.  In desperation, he twisted his body and managed to grab the limb with both of his hands thus stopping his fall.  There he was clinging to a tree limb still over 100 feet from the ground.  There were no hand or foot holds on the face of the cliff in the area.  There was no way to climb up or down.  To let go would mean certain death.  In desperation, he began to shout for help.  "Help. Help!  HELP!"  However, no one answered his cry or came to help.  He began to pray for God to send someone to help, but no one came.  His hands and arms ached with fatigue.  He almost without thinking in a desperate cry, shouted,  "God HELP!"  At first there was a long silence, then he heard a deep voice that seemed to echo from below.  "Let go and I will catch you."  In bewilderment, seeing no one, he cried, "Who is it?"  The answer boomed back, "It is the LORD.  Let go and I will catch you."  It was a moment of decision.  How much longer could he hold on to the limb?  Certainly not long.  Would someone come to his rescue before he fell to his death?  There was no assurance that anyone would come. Would he let go trusting that God would somehow safely catch him before he hit the ground?  I will leave the conclusion of the story with you.  What would you do?

    What are you clinging to for your security?  How much longer can you hold on?  Can you trust that anyone else will come along to save you?   Will you let go and trust in God?

    Anything that we trust in which can be taken away from us brings insecurity.
Only that which can not be taken away from us brings security.

Produces fear, worry, and anxiety. Produces boldness and a sound mind
Produces restlessness, fatigue, and insomnia. Produces rest, peace, and joy.
Produces indecisiveness. Produces decisiveness.
Produces avoidance of others. Produces love, confidence, and fellowship.
Produces depression. Produces thanksgiving and praise.

Some Biblical Examples

I. Job.
Job was self-righteous.   "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil" (Job 1:1).  Later in the book the Word says, "So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes" (Job 32:1).  Elihu said, "For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment" (Job 34:5).  This self-righteousness produced fear.   Job did not sin in his actions or even in his words when his wife wanted him to curse God and die.  However, his problem was in his thoughts!  He was a man filled with fear.  He offered sacrifices for his children that perhaps they might have sinned.  He also had many guards for his possessions.  Furthermore, he was afraid of losing his health. He confessed, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came" (Job 3:25-26).  It is not until the end of the book that Job makes the confession:  "Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.  Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.  I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:1-6).  Self-righteousness brings insecurity and fear, but faith in God produces security and boldness.  Job in the end came to know God.
II. Moses.
Moses found his identity in himself.  Moses had been tutored to become a pharaoh and responded in that fashion when he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and the next day when he tried to break up two Hebrew who were arguing.  When they confronted him about seeing him the day before, he feared.  He left Egypt and went to the land of Midan and became the husband to the daughter of a shepherd.  He lived there for forty years as a shepherd.  His identity became that of being a shepherd.  When God met him at the burning bush and told him that he was to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt, he said, "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Exodus 3:11b).  He had lost his confidence in being a leader of any kind other than that of sheep.  When God insisted that Moses should go, Moses responded, "But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee" (Exodus 4:1b).   God then asked Moses what he was holding in his hand.  Moses responded, "A rod."   However, it was much more than just a rod.  It was Moses's rod, a symbol of who he was.  Moses was holding on to his identity of being a shepherd.  God instructed him to throw it down.  When he did, it became a poisonous snake and Moses ran from it.  However, God called him back and told him to pick it up by the head which meant the snake could have turned on Moses and bit him. However, when Moses picked it up it again became a rod, even the rod of God.  What do you have in your hand?  Are you willing to throw it down and trust God?  Are you willing to allow God to give you his identity.  Where is your security?
III. Samson.
Samson's security was in his physical ability, his appearance, and his wit.  "Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done" (Judges 14:5-6).  Then we can see his wit again when he had a big party.  "And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:   But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.  And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle" (Judges 14:12-14).  God gave him his strength and wit, but he began to find his security in these rather than in God.  Later when his wife, Delilah, pressed him, he revealed to her the key to his strength. The long hair which he wore was a part of the Nazarite vow. She gave him his first haircut and he lost his strength. "And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him" (Judges 16:20).     The next verse is very sad.  "But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house" (Judges 16:21).  Are you trusting in you physical ability, appearance, or wit?  How long will that last?  What will happen when that fails?

When I was in college, I was quite strong ... probably stronger than nine of ten men my size.  I worked out with weights regularly.  I would take most anyone on at most any sport and usually came out on top.  For example, I went bowling about five times a year.  However, one night I went bowling with my Uncle who was a league bowler.  Than night, I bowled one game that was a 236, leaving just two open frames. My sport was table tennis and I won  trophies at that while I was in college.  I had a friend who played varsity tennis; however, I would give him a challenge.  I am now over sixty years old and I can't do physically all that I used to to.

IV. Solomon
Solomon began by searching for knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and riches through experience.  His book of Ecclesiastes starts, "The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.  Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2).  Solomon further states, "And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow" (Ecclesiastes 1:17-18).  "I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:    I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:    I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:    I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:    I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.    So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.    And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.    Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun"  (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11).  Again, he concluded it was vanity.  There is little security in what the wealth of the world or experience has to offer.  Finally, Solomon concludes, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.    For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil"  (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).  The world is constantly changing, but God remains the same.  What was wrong and taboo from society's point of view a few years ago has become the norm now.
V. Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar was a self-made man, successful, and filled with pride. He was primary ruler of the known world during his time.  God warned him through a dream about his taking credit for what God was doing through him. However ...  "The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30).   He immediately went insane and was driven from his palace into the wilderness and lived there as a wild beast for seven years.  He lost everything.  Then at the end of seven years, he came to realize that he could not put his faith in himself or what he could accomplish... "And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:    And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?    At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.    Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase"  (Daniel 4:34-37).  Are you self-made??? Are you holding on to that which you have accomplished?  Better watch out for there is no security here.   Self-made men come and go every day.  Only God-made men survive when others fall.
VI. The rich young ruler.
He trusted in his riches.  "And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?    And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.    Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.    And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.    Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.    And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.    And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!    For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God"  (Luke 18:18-25).  One thing that I have learned about riches is that the more that you have, the more you have to protect them.  Riches bring insecurity!  Earthly riches can easily be taken away from you.  Jesus said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:    But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal"  (Matthew 6:19-20).   Jesus also gave us a parable concerning the insecurity of riches.  "And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:    And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?    And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.    And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.    But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?    So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God"  (Luke 12:16-21). The stock market can crash in one day, but heaven never fails.  Where are your riches?  Where is your security?
VII. Paul.
Paul once sought security in his Hebraic heritage.   Paul was well educated in the Jewish culture.  He most likely spoke Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin.  He declared, "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day" (Acts 22:3).   However, God arrested him on the road to Damascus.  "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:    And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"  (Acts 9:3-4).  He gave his life to the Lord and God totally changed his life.    Paul later declared, "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:    Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;    Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.    But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.    Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,    And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:    That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;    If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead"  (Philippians 3:4-11).  Paul declared that his security (confidence) was no longer in his Hebraic heritage.  For Paul to have confidence in such was to trust in a pile of manure!  Let us look closely.  He said to trust in being circumcised  ... to trust in being an Israelite  ... to trust in being a part of one of the twelve tribes  ... to trust in being a Pharisee  ... to trust in being zealous for God  ... to trust in all his obedience to the law  was nothing but a pile of manure, compared to the knowledge of Jesus.   The only thing that would bring him security was to trust in Jesus Christ.    There was only one thing that brings security and that is to know Jesus.

Anything that we trust in which can be taken away from us brings insecurity.
Only that which can not be taken away from us brings security.
    John, the elder, put it this way, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.    For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.    And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever"  (I John 2:15-17).

    Jesus said it this way, "And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,    If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.    And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.    For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?    Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,    Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.    Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?    Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.    So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.    Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?    It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear"  (Luke 14:25-35).

My Experience:

One night, many years ago when our children were small, I had an unusual visit by the Holy Spirit.  He came with some grave questions.  I don't remember the exact order of the questions?  Elayne, my wife, had left the house with the children to go to some play or something and taken our brand new car.  One of the questions was, "If Elayne somehow had a wreck in the new car, would that be O.K.?"  Well, the new car was my pride, but I would survive it being wrecked.  Another question was, "If one of your children was hurt in the wreck, would that be O.K.?"  Well, I definitely didn't want harm to come to any of our children, but again, I could live through it.  Then the question became more intense, "What if your wife was killed in the wreck?"  I loved my children, but I was even closer to my wife. Again I had to answer that I could survive.

There were many other questions that night also.  We were living in a nice rented house at a very reasonable price.  "What if the house was taken away, would that be O.K?"  I had a rather large religious book library also.  "What if the house burned and the books were destroyed, would that be O.K?"  I knew of no way to replace the books, but again, it would be O.K.  Another question was, "What if your freedom was taken away and you were in prison, would that be O.K?"  My next thought was, "Well, if I only had my Bible."  You can guess the next question, "What if your Bible was taken away?"  I loved my Bible, but I would still have Jesus.  Another question was, "What if your health was taken away, would that be O.K?"  The conclusion to the test was, if EVERYTHING in my life was taken away, I would still have God.  We are to be like Teflon and be willing to let nothing stick to us but God.

If you have insecurities in your life, it is because you are clinging to something that can easily be taken away from you.  If you are anxious, worried, fearful, most likely you are trusting in or holding on to something that can be taken away from you.

Peter said, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.    Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour"  (I Peter 5:7-8).  Our "cares" are the things that we are holding on to that we are afraid of losing.

Even if you are trusting in a salvation based upon your own good works, that can be taken away from you by your failure.  You are living in a state of insecurity.  However, faith in a salvation based upon the work of Jesus can not be taken away from you.   John wrote, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (I John 4:18). When we receive God's perfect love through Jesus, fear is cast out!

Anything that we trust in which can be taken away from us brings insecurity.
Only that which can not be taken away from us brings security.

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