Who Am I ? "I Am Secure Because I Will Never Be Forsaken by God" Part One
June 12, 2016 Speaker: Allen Snapp Series: Who Am I?
Topic: Insecurity Passage: Mark 15:34, Romans 8:38–39, Isaiah 41:17
Who Am I? Finding Our Identity in Christ
Grace Community Church
June 12, 2016
Who Am I? I Am Secure Because I Will Never Be Forsaken by God Part One
We are in a series on finding our identity in Christ and this morning and next week we are going to be looking at an identity issue that almost all of us deal with in one way or another, the identity issue of insecurity.
Merriam Webster offers three meanings to the word insecurity: 1) to not be confident about yourself or your ability to do things well; resulting in being nervous and uncomfortable. 2) not certain to continue or be successful for a long time, or 3) not locked or well protected. This gives us a pretty good working definition of what it means to be insecure, but maybe the best description I've seen of insecurity is found in a story of a manager who stood with a sales rep who was struggling to meet his quota in front of a map of their marketing region. The map had colored pins stuck in it, with each pin representing a different sales rep. The manager turns to the struggling sales rep and says, "I'm not going to fire you, Wilson, but I'm going to loosen your pin a little just to emphasize how insecure your position is."
Insecurity is the feeling our pin is loose and could fall out at any minute. Insecurity is fear wrapped around our identity - it's all about us. It's this nervous sense that I'm going to blow it, I'm going to fail to measure up in some way. It's that inner nagging voice that says I'm inferior in some way and that somehow my inferiority is going to be exposed and I'll be revealed as inferior. And so we walk softly, tentatively, because (careful!) my pin is loose and I'm afraid of it falling out.
Insecurities come in different shapes and sizes. Your insecurities are probably not the same as my insecurities. I've talked to people who feel really uncomfortable about meeting new people or being in a group of people they don't know well. If that's where your pin is loose you dread having a train wreck of an interaction. I can relate to that: over 20 years of pastoring I've had my share of conversational train wrecks, I'm talking the "no survivors" kind. What I hate the most is the awkward pause where you just can't think of anything to say (and apparently they can't either) and you get trapped in this silence where you're staring at each other, no one saying anything but no way to end the conversation. I've had pauses go on so long - neither of us wanting to look away - and we end up looking into each other's eyes so intently that it feels like this is heading either to a candle light dinner or a boxing match. Fear the train wreck! The pin feels loose. But then you see a couple of good friends in the corner of the room and as you join them, the pin feels secure again. That sense of insecurity goes away - for the moment.
If awkward conversations were the worst that insecurities could do, we wouldn't need a message about them, but insecurities can keep us from realizing God's potential for our lives. They can cause us to shape-shift our personality, our opinions, our willingness to try new things, our obedience to God when He calls us to step out of the boat into a new venture of faith, in order to keep that loose pin from falling out. We can be insecure about:
Our communication skills
Our level of success economically
Deepest of all, we can be insecure in our relationship with God.
God knows and cares about our insecurities and speaks to them, but He doesn't speak directly to them. You're not going to find a Bible verse to assure you that your hair looks nice today (it does, by the way). Or a verse that promises you will never say the wrong thing at the wrong time, or that a friend will never reject you or let you down, or that your boss plans to promote you next week, it's not in there. The truth is that insecurity can't be overcome by trying to satisfy our insecurity, we need to get to the root of our insecurities or they will keep coming back.
We have a dining room chair and on the back of it there's a small finishing nail keeps backing out about an 8th of an inch. I can push it back with my thumbnail so that its flush, but a day later, the nail is sticking out again. We can try to push the loose pin of insecurity in but it keeps backing out. Someone compliments you today and your insecurity leaves…until tomorrow. Then the pin is loose again. You spend some quality time with friends and you feel really confident about where your relationship is at…then a few days later, the pin has backed out again and you're not sure they really like you. You got your project done at work before the deadline and the boss is happy with it, and your job feels secure. Then he gives you another assignment and your mind starts thinking, "what if I blow it?"
So God doesn't speak directly to our specific loose pin, He goes to the root and promises that we have been attached and anchored to Him in an everlasting, unbreakable, unloosable way through our faith in Christ. Many times and at critical moments of potential insecurity, God makes this awesome promise: I will never leave you or forsake you. It speaks of God's commitment to us, and how secure our pin is in Christ. And if we're secure in Christ, then - and this is what our hearts need to get - we are secure. No matter how we feel. No matter what else happens.
And so at critical junctions, when there was potential for great insecurity, God spoke this promise. Several times He spoke it to Joshua as he was about to take over for Moses: I will never leave you or forsake you. Jesus spoke it to his disciples in the positive before he ascended to heaven: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. It's a positive way of saying I will never leave you or forsake you. Over the next two weeks I want us to look at four points of insecurity we all can face and how God anchors us with His promise to never leave or forsake us.
God will not leave or forsake us over our sins because Jesus was already forsaken over our sins
Last week a 7 year old Japanese boy was found alive after spending 6 days in a bear-infested forest. His parents had forced him out of the car when he refused to stop throwing rocks at people and cars, and had left him on the edge of the forest, driving on a few hundred meters, with the intent of pulling over and his dad walking back to get him. But when the father returned to where they dropped the boy off, he had disappeared. Yamato Tonooka apparently believed that his parents had really abandoned him for good, and wandered into the forest. Thankfully he found a hut to spend the nights in, and survived the 6 days in relatively good health.
God will discipline His children for our sin, but Christians need never fear that God will abandon us by the
side of the road because of our sin, for a very deep and precious theological reason: God will never forsake us over our sins because He already forsook His Son Jesus over our sins.
The cross was a forsaken place
When Jesus hung on the cross, he hung there as a forsaken man. Isa. 53:3 says he was "despised and forsaken by men", but what was far more devastating to Jesus, he was forsaken by his heavenly Father, with whom he had enjoyed perfect fellowship from eternity past.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means,“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”Mark 15:34
At Jesus' hour of greatest need, in the utter darkness of suffering and the bleakness of bearing the wrath of God for the sin of the world, at the very moment when Jesus needed His heavenly Father's love and fellowship the most, at that very hour Jesus was abandoned by God, forsaken by God. It had to be so, because that is the ultimate penalty and consequence of sin - it breaks off fellowship with God forever. Hell's greatest punishment won't be a lake of fire, it will be eternal separation from God, being forsaken by God, forever. Jesus tasted of that forsakenness on the cross as he stood in our place.
Now, God never really forsook Jesus, in fact He was never more pleased with Jesus
than He was at that very moment. But He withdrew His loving presence from Jesus and replaced it with the dark, empty void of His anger and repulsion over sin and Jesus endured an eternity of forsakenness in just a few hours. We can never fully know how, or what infinite depth and width of suffering Jesus endured during those three dark hours when God pulled the curtain down and hid all that occurred between Him and His Son during that time. But at the end of it, Jesus cried out this painful question, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? The answer is so that all those who believe in Jesus will never be forsaken by God over our sins.
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38-39
Our lives are anchored securely in Christ and nothing, and no one, can separate us from the love of God. If Jesus is your Savior, God will never forsake you over your sin. He will never reject or abandon you because you blow it. He'll discipline us. He'll spank us. But He will never leave or forsake us. In Christ we are secure forever.
God will never forsake us in our time of need
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. Isa. 41:17
For a lot of us, insecurity pops up when we feel weak or needy. When we feel strong, when we feel like we're carrying our own weight, when we feel like we've got the world by the tail, then we feel confident. We feel secure. But hit a patch of weakness and neediness, and insecurities start popping up. Why? Because we're basing our security on our ability to handle things, on our ability to contribute, our ability to validate ourselves by being strong. What we think keeps the pin in the map is our strength and ability. Insecurities have a way of bubbling up when we ain't strong, when we ain't cool, when we don't bring anything to the party except our weakness and need.
If we feel insecure about something, almost by definition we feel weak in that area. If we are insecure in our friendships, it's probably that we feel that what we bring to bond the relationship is weak. If we feel insecure about our job it's probably not because we're producing twice as much as the next best guy. It's probably because we're afraid - the pin is loose and if I fail to make quota, I may lose my job.
Insecurities are fears wrapped up in our identity, so to cover our insecurities, many of us forge an outward image to keep anyone from seeing that deep inside, we're walking very nervously, waiting for the pin to drop. Someone is wounded deeply or takes a devastating emotional hit and inwardly they feel very vulnerable and needy. But they try to cover it up with bravado, or with humor, or with an "I don't care about anything" attitude. I've met people who are so outgoing and forward you'd think they don't have an insecurity in the world. But try to have a deeper conversation about emotions and hurts and what's going on inside, and they find it really hard to go there. The loose pin is a sense of weakness and neediness of the heart, and so they protect the pin from anything that might jar it by projecting strength and confidence and lack of need in any area.
God has a better way to help us. Isa. 41:17 gives us a glimpse into how God answers our insecurities indirectly with the promise that He will not leave or forsake us. This is a promise to those who bring nothing to the party. They are poor and needy and desperately thirsty. There is no water and they have no resources at all to provide what they need.
Into all that need God doesn't directly say, "I will provide them water", He says I will answer them (in their poorness and neediness) and I will not forsake them. See, if God just said, "I'll provide them water" then the next time they were needy and thirsty they'd be right back in the same place. Or if another need came up not having to do with water but, say, having to do with protection from danger, they wouldn't have a promise that dealt with that insecurity.
God promises something that secures us in every situation and every need: He will answer, He will not forsake them. God will be there, and He will be enough.
This transforms the neediness of insecurity into the security of neediness
Insecurity always feels like it needs to be reassured. Do you like me? I mean, really like me? You do…good! Do you still like me? How about now? Insecurity is a neediness that is never satisfied for long - which is why God doesn't directly address it. By promising that He will never leave us or forsake us in our time of need, God transforms the neediness of insecurity into the security of neediness.
God wants to bring us to the place where we can securely admit our neediness. I know I have needs. I know there are parts of me where it feels like the pin is loose. God, my God who will never leave me or forsake me, please help me and provide what I need. I need confidence for this presentation. I need help to be a better friend. I need help to get outside of myself and be others-minded. I need help to reach out to people I don't know with warmth and friendliness (and not to dread a conversational trainwreck).
And it reaches deep inside where emotional wounds and fears and insecurities reside and we can receive the peace of God that passes understanding, knowing deep inside that God will provide all that I need, that in my hurt, fear, loneliness, He will not abandon me. He will never leave me or forsake me. And in my need, I can feel a deep sense of security.
Next week we're going to look at where insecurities intersect with the fear of man and where it intersects when the Lord calls us to step out in faith. But I believe the Lord wants to do a securing work in hearts this morning.
Stand before the map of grace
God wants you to stand before His map of grace in order to emphasize, not how insecure your position is, but how very secure in Christ your position is. May the Holy Spirit penetrate our hearts with that knowledge deep within so that we can be who God made us and do what God called us to do.
More in Who Am I?
July 3, 2016Who Am I ? - I Am a Citizen of Heaven
June 26, 2016Who Am I ? An Ambassador for Christ
June 19, 2016Who Am I ? I Am Secure Because I Will Never Be Forsaken by God Part Two