God does not want to live with an abiding sense of insecurity. Rather, He desires that we are confident in Him, confident in His love for us, confident in who He has made us to be in Him, and confident of what He has laid up for us:
- In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in him (Eph. 3:12).
- I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living (Ps. 27:13).
- Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Pet. 1:8-9).
- Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen (Heb. 11:1).
The list could go on a long time. This is the posture of the Christian – it is not one of a cringing, pie-in-the-sky kind of hope, but rather one of steadfast confidence. It’s of a sure and certain belief that Jesus is who He said He is and He is doing what He said He would do. AW Tozer expressed this kind of confidence like this:
“The march, not the dirge, has ever been the music of Christianity. If we are good students in the school of life, there is much that the years have to teach us. But the Christian is more than a student, more than a philosopher. He is a believer, and the object of his faith makes the difference, the mighty difference.
Of all persons the Christian should be best prepared for whatever the New Year brings. He has dealt with life at its source. In Christ he has disposed of a thousand enemies that other men must face alone and unprepared. He can face his tomorrow cheerful and unafraid because yesterday he turned his feet into the ways of peace and today he lives in God. The man who has made God his dwelling place will always have a safe habitation.”
Yes. Yes indeed.
What are the marks of this kind of confidence? Surely they are not the marks of bravado and self-assurance that mark the so-called confident people of the world, for Christian confidence and security is entirely different. And yet that kind of internal security, brought to us not in and of ourselves and our abilities, but brought to us through faith in Christ and His work, does have signs. Markers. Evidence that we are actually secure in what we believe. Here are three such markers:
1. The ability to listen to someone who believes differently than we do.
It is a mark of security to listen. Especially to listen to someone who believes something different than we do. Conversely, it is many times our personal insecurities that keep us from listening and, instead, compel us to interrupt or to be planning our response while someone else is talking. When a person insecure in their faith finds themselves in a conversation with someone who doesn’t think, believe, or behave as they do, they take it personally and are quick to move on that perceived attack.
Listening displays not just the development of a polite habit; it shows that we have confronted our insecurities with the power of the gospel. In so doing, we are confident of our acceptance in Christ. And the confidence that comes from that knowledge, among other things, bolsters our ability to listen.
2. The ability to serve without recognition.
Jesus taught us clearly that we should be careful not to practice acts of righteousness in front of other people to be seen by them. But despite these words, the desire – even the need – for recognition is very strong in our hearts. We want to be seen. We want to be congratulated. We want to be lauded. And why do we want it – need it – so badly? It is because of our own insecurities. We need to be validated by someone else because we have failed to fully believe and trust in God’s validation of us in Christ.
A Christian who is secure in their faith will willingly, and joyfully, serve without recognition. Indeed, they will seek to do so and will rejoice that God sees and takes notice of what is done in secret.
3. The ability to rejoice with another without feeling entitled.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Simple enough, right? And yet very difficult, unless we are secure in our faith. Sure, we slap high fives or buy the Hallmark card, but we aren’t really rejoicing because somewhere down deep inside of us we feel entitled to what someone else is receiving or experiencing.
It’s only through the security the gospel brings that we can truly, and wholeheartedly, rejoice with someone else. It’s because we are secure in God’s love for us, and therefore we no longer see others as threats to us. Or in competition with us. Our security in Christ has conquered our sense of entitlement because we know that in the gospel God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
This is what we are moving toward, friends. It’s constant progress toward a greater and greater sureness and certainty of Jesus and His promises. So may it be with us; so may it be that we are, at long last, filled with a God-centered security unique to the children of God.