Seeking security in an insecure world.
It seems like things are getting crazier and crazier in today’s world. Wars have broken out around the globe, saber rattling is taking place on a daily basis, only instead of sabers, and people are threatening to unleash nuclear war. Christians encounter challenges or ridicule about their faith and beliefs. Everything seems to be coming apart at the seams and as a result, more and more of us are feeling insecure and are seeking security in an insecure world.
‘Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. I believe that you sent your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to live and walk among us and to die for us. I believe that you raised Him from the grave and that He sits at your right hand. Father, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life whenever I begin to feel insecure when pressured by the world. Thank you – Amen.’
Our Scripture Reading
Psalm 123 – A prayer for our Lord’s Help.
To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the Lord our God, Until He is gracious to us.
Be gracious to us, O Lord, be gracious to us, For we are greatly filled with contempt.
Our soul is greatly filled With the scoffing of those who are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Matthew 7:24-27
Those words in Matthew chapter 7 verses 24 through 27 perfectly sum up what I want to talk about today. It is obvious that today’s world is full of uncertainty, chaos, and change. It seems as if we receive experience strange and difficult events every day.
As I said, the world is full of uncertainty and if we are to survive and even thrive in this new world, then it is vital that we make certain that the foundation of our faith and our lives is solid. We cannot afford to have a faith built on shifting sands because only with a strong, level foundation will we ever achieve a feeling of security in this insecure world.
When we have that strong foundation, then whenever the rains, floods, and winds of anti-Christian sentiment blow against us we will have the ability to withstand them.
Now days it seems that more and more of us are talking about how unsure we are of our faith, often we are unable to explain to non-believers why we believe as we do, why we are confident in the future and that is because in some cases we have built our foundations on superficial knowledge. There is no depth of belief, our pilings are not driven deeply enough into the ground, so we hesitate to respond; or when we do respond, it is with anger and we lash out at others. We become everything we are not supposed to be as Christians. We often do not know how to handle our feelings of insecurity.
To help deal with these feelings we need to explore several areas; first, what can we do when we begin to feel anxious about the future, second, where do we go when we feel insecure, and finally, do we have any type of promise from God concerning our feelings of security?
As I mentioned earlier one of the first steps we have to take is to make certain of our foundation. The one foundation we can always rely on is God’s truth. That foundation will not crack under the world’s pressure. We find written in Psalm 40 verses 1 and 2; “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.”
When we build our lives on Gods truth, we are able to handle anything thrown our way, no matter the threat. So is there a way to make sure our faith is solid?
What can we do when we begin to feel that insecurity arise?
The steps are actually quite simple and as Paul writes in Philippians chapter 4 verses 6-7 he tells us that our greatest security comes from knowing the peace of God through prayer; “Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It is easy to read ‘be anxious for nothing’, I have personally read that line several hundred, if not thousands of times, and over the years I have tried over and over again to make my requests with ‘thanksgiving’. I have also discovered how difficult that is, in the back of my mind, that little seed of doubt begins to pop up and I wonder if I should be asking God for this or that.
Then eventually after I reflect on the words, I begin to understand that last sentence “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I begin to relax and once I relax, I can feel my emotions coming back to solid ground and whatever was worrying me begins to depart. My faith is renewed and I am able to continue on the path, I was walking.
Once my faith is renewed, once I recognize and start dealing with my anxiety, I turn to the book of Romans chapter 8 verse 31, and again remind myself “ What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
The most powerful security blanket in the world is the knowledge that nothing can separate us from the love of God. The stories of those who try to separate us is as old as the church itself and continue today.
The early history of the church is full of stories of those who suffered the ultimate fate for their belief in Jesus and who refused to give up their faith and that belief in Jesus kept them going, kept them strong.
It seems, as 2,000 years later not much has changed, for in today’s world, there are multiple stories of Christians sentenced to prison or sentenced to death, by various governments and extremists nations, and yet they refuse to give up their faith.
“According to the Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors, which works in over 60 countries, more than 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015.” (Christian Post)
In China, a Pastor’s wife named Cheng Jie spent two years at a labor camp in China, for running a Christian school for children.
In Sudan, Two pastors and a Czech aid worker are among four people standing trial for “crimes against national security”. They face death if found guilty on all charges.
Also in the Sudan, in the first part of October, the government closed a Christian school with over 1,000 students. Established in 1901, the school Evangelical Basic School in Madani, belongs to the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. The first raid was on September 5 by police who presented documents ordering its handover to the government’s National Ministry of Guidance and Endowments.
In the Philippines, two Muslim men murdered Perfecto Padilla, 52, a dedicated church elder from Sultan Kudarat, Philippines. They drove by his house and shot him as he sat on his front porch.
An Indian pastor was kidnapped from his home by a communist gang and then murdered, leaving behind a grieving wife and four children. Pastor Yohan’s body was discovered July 30 near his home and his wife says that her husband was “killed for the sake of Christ.”
In Pakistan, Asia Bibi and Imran Ghafur have waited for justice for more than seven years. Both are Christians are facing life imprisonment for crimes against Islam.
Those are just a few examples of people who are facing persecution for their belief in Jesus. In those cases where death could be the outcome of their trials, a feeling of insecurity is natural, yet they refuse to give up their faith.
In America, even though currently we are not facing anything like those Christians; there are many of us who watch as various government rules and regulations are put in place. We begin to fear that the United States is in the first phases of persecuting Christians. As a result, many of us have begun developing deep feelings of insecurity, and we wonder where do we go when we feel insecure?
As I mentioned earlier, first turn to God in prayer and then make sure that we open up ourselves so that the love of God fills every empty place in our hearts. Remember God is in control. That in turn will help quiet down the nerves and anxiety that might be filling our minds and help us feel calmer.
Paul writes in Ephesians 3:14-17 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”
We must bow our heads in humble prayer and ask Him to give us the inner strength we need. Notice, I said INNER STRENGTH, it is not about how strong we are on the outside, or how tough we appear to others, it is all about how strong we are spiritually. Once Christ dwells (or lives inside) through our faith, we are deeply rooted and firmly in place.
Once firmly grounded in our faith, we are able to understand all things. Paul continues in verses 18-20, we read, “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth; and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us”
As I said, once the love of God fills the empty places in our hearts, not only the empty places, but also every part of our being; our ability to handle the situations and the negatives we encounter not only today, but also tomorrow and the next day is unmatched.
Around AD 90, the Apostle John wrote his gospel. Christians at that time were under pressure from Gnostics and many different groups with different understandings and teachings of exactly who Jesus was. Some Christian communities and churches began to doubt and felt insecure in their faith. So the purpose of John’s gospel was to reassure the Christian community about the truth of what they had been taught. In fact, in John 21 verse 24, we find “This is the disciple who bears witness of these things; and wrote these things; and we know that his witness is true.”
Because of the truth of the Gospels about the teachings of Jesus, it is imperative that we understand that our future is bright because we have a promise from God.
10:28-29 “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
Today we Christians seem to have forgotten that promise. Over the centuries even in the face of real physical persecution, in times when the state refused to acknowledge the church’s right to exist. In today’s world when Nation States are banning Christianity, closing churches, imprisoning Christians, and in some countries allowing their citizens to murder Christians those individuals were and are able to maintain their faith because they are secure in that faith and they have not forgotten that promise.
In the future, as our world becomes more and more shaky and we find our lives feeling less and less secure, take a minute and stand back. When we begin to feel anxious about the future, let’s check on whether or not the foundation of our faith is solid. We need to insure we have placed the pilings of our house deeply into the earth and they are not just resting on the top level.
If the feeling of insecurity continue, then we must remember to turn to scripture, turn to prayer, turn to God, and seek help. Remember if allow His love to fill every nook and cranny of our being, a feeling of peace will begin to push out the feelings of insecurity.
Finally, remember His promise to us. God does not lie, man lies, Satan lies, the world lies, God does not lie, Jesus did not lie, and as Christians, we owe it to future generations to prove that we are as secure in our faith as those who came before.
Why is it important that we stay secure in our faith? Because if we don’t the world is lost. You see, the United States is one of the few remaining countries were freedom of religion is still alive; I’m not going to say alive and well, because I believe we are under siege. It begins with making us doubt the validity of our beliefs, making us out to be villains because we believe in God.
According to a recent report in the Christian Post “Persecution of Christians is getting worse as up to 75 percent of the world’s population now lives without religious freedom,” It is vital that we continue to stand up for our beliefs regardless of what the secular world tries to tell us.
The first step in getting folks to turn away from a belief system is to make them feel insecure about those beliefs, so when those feelings of insecurity start to appear, try this prayer – ‘Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. I believe that you sent your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to live and walk among us and to die for us. I believe that you raised Him from the grave and that He sits at your right hand. Father, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life whenever I begin to feel insecure when pressured by the world. Thank you – Amen.’
That’s it for today folks, I’m the Reverend Hank Wilson, thank you for joining me here on the Christian Life Gospel Ministry’s – Dealing with life – A biblical guide to staying upright when life tries to knock you down.