Feeling insecure, the disturbing sense that nothing is reliable any more, is the widespread mood of our times.
Everything we once depended on seems to be crumbling apart. We singles, without a spouse to lean on, look around for something or somebody we can trust.
We know we're commanded to cling to God in times of trouble, but how do we hold onto an invisible being who doesn't answer back?
We see how the world works. We get the impression that wealthy people can buy their way out of their problems. Money seems to be a powerful god.
It's easy to conclude that. We see rich folks on TV and they look happy. They have "people" to deal with their problems. They seem to exist on a higher plane than the rest of us. For millions, they become something to aspire to.
That's the central lie of the Prosperity Gospel you hear on TV. "God wants you to be successful," the preachers say. "Part of being a Christian is enjoying the abundant life," they quote from the Bible. Then they define that abundant life in terms of mansions, luxury cars, fine clothes, and wealth.
Yes, there is security in money, but only financial security. That's important when you have to pay your bills. I'm not denying the value of money. But Jesus himself warned against turning it into an idol:
Then (Jesus) said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15, NIV)
Many rich people feel insecure. They worry about losing money. They compete with other rich people to outdo them. They torment themselves over what other people think of them. They look at all their toys and sadly realize they feel hollow.
It's good to work, to volunteer, to do something constructive with your life. By participating in charitable events, you not only help your community, but you might also meet a prospective spouse!
Part of a satisfying life is setting goals and achieving them. God gave each of us talents. We do well to praise him by using our gifts in a god-honoring way.
If, however, you feel insecure unless you're busy every minute, it's time to ask why. We can't earn our way into heaven. It's admirable to help out but dangerous when you're unable to say "no" to some requests.
Balance and perspective are keys. Overcommit and you'll end up feeling not only insecure but frustrated as well. There's a line between being conscientious and being a people pleaser.
Many years ago I was intrigued when a professional football player felt let down after his team had won the Super Bowl. He had trained hard and worked his entire life for that achievement. His reaction the day after the win was, "What's left now?"
Well, certainly he had many choices and other goals he could achieve. Professionally, he had reached the peak. The high of hitting your goal is great, yet it eventually wears off.
People get their turn, whether it's an Oscar, Olympic Gold, Nobel Prize, or a raise from the boss. Then what?
Many men get their security and self-esteem from what they do on the job. Some are lost after they retire. Even though they're fixed well financially, they're insecure about their new place in the world.
Can we ever reach a point when we have no worries, when we're perfectly calm and relaxed about life?
Some people seem to operate that way, but to be perfectly honest, I find I can only do that for short stretches until a new crisis pops up to rattle my equilibrium.
So what am I doing giving you advice?
I follow Jesus. Jesus is a realist. Listen to what he tells us when we feel insecure:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)
Notice two things: First, Jesus says in him we may have peace, and second, the reason is he has overcome the world. What exactly does that mean? His death and resurrection guarantee his followers will have eternal life with him. Our security comes not from things in this world but in him.
Sure, I feel insecure sometimes when trouble threatens me, but I know, deep in my heart I know, Jesus has me covered. We don't call him Savior for nothing.
Be a good steward with your money. Save up and have an emergency fund. Be wise in your decisions. Go for regular medical checkups. Prepare as best you can. Jesus said we will have trouble, not that we might, but that we will.