Scripture teaches us that feelings of insecurity are burdens we should surrender to Jesus. It urges us to find peace and assurance in His completed work on the Cross. Scripture also encourages us to progressively strengthen our sense of security, realizing our identity as His children, with each passing day.
Our temperament, values and conditioned habits are affected by their past experiences. Some people view insecurity as complicity, meekness, and taking responsibility. Others see it as bravado and defiance. One person’s insecurity causes them to avoid attention when possible, while another person is driven to get as much attention as they can.
Insecurity is something we all know. But what causes it? And how can we overcome it? And most importantly, what does the Bible say about insecurity?
What is Insecurity?
Insecurity can be described as a form of fear.
That said, God intends for us to feel insecure about certain things.
- We should be insecure if we see the wood rotting on someone else’s second-story deck.
- We should be insecure if we live with or work alongside someone dishonest or abusive.
- We should feel insecure if we are riding in a military convoy on a lonely Afghan road through Taliban territory.
- We should feel insecure when we are first convicted of sin and then realize that God is punishing us because we have not been reconciled with him through Christ.
God created insecurity to warn us that we are at risk of some type of danger. It tells us to take protective measures.
In American lingo, “insecurity” does not refer to a situation of insecurity. It is a condition that is so persistent that it is called a state of being. Sometimes we refer to “being insecure” as being afraid of being rejected or disapproval from others, or even feeling inferior.
What are we to be afraid of? What are we to be wary of? Feelings of insecurity tell us that our identity may be in danger.
What Does the Bible Say About Insecurity?
Exposure is something we hate. This is why we avoid looking at our insecurity rather than examine it. Because we fear that the gauge will confirm our worst fears about our identities, such as being insignificant, inadequate, failed, or condemned, we are afraid to take a close look at ourselves.
The Bible says that “nothing good dwells in [us], that is, in [our] flesh” (Romans 7:18). And we know that our souls stand “naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). We still carry the fall-induced instinct to cover our shame in front of God and everyone else (Genesis 3:8–21).
Insecurity is not only a warning, it’s an invitation. God invites us to leave behind false beliefs about ourselves, our worth, and why we’re here. He also offers peace and refuge by allowing us to listen to what he has to say about these things.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate ending to insecurity. It’s not the final end, but an increasing and ultimate one. God invites us to identify with who we are in Him. We have the security of the Trinity around us.
Looking for great books on the Trinity?
Is Insecurity a Sin?
Insecurity can be sinful. Here are four reasons why:
1. Idolization of Self
Insecurity can hinder our ability to love God and others. Have you ever been in a situation when you could have reached out to God for prayer or offered help to someone in need, but instead your mind wanders through yet another round of insecurity about how smart you are or how awkward you feel? Self-consciousness is about being aware of oneself. When we obsess about ourselves, we aren’t loving others. We aren’t in humility counting them more important or more worthy than we are (Phil. 2:3).
We see David dance in an “undignified” way when the ark is recovered. He displays a beautiful sense of unawareness… He’s not idolizing himself, he’s probably not even thinking of himself. We’re not called to be pretenders or hypocrites – but to act purely and be true to ourselves.
2. Lack of Contentment in God
Insecurity can be nothing more than grumbling about the need for more things. We want exceptional flavor and not enough nutrition. We are unhappy with what God has given us–money, position and personality–and we want something better. This discontentment can lead to “many harmful and senseless desires that plunge people into ruin” (1 Timothy 6:9). Insecurity isn’t sin because it is an attack on our value (though that is true), but because it is an assault to God’s wisdom.
3. Letting Others Define Us
Insecurity is a sign that we desire justification before others more than before God. He doesn’t care if your inseam measures 28 inches or 34 inches, nor if you rent or own. This is something we know. We still care. . . Because they still love. We care more about what we believe makes us worthy of people than about what makes us worthy of the Almighty. The Lord is pleased with righteousness. We would prefer to have an enviable name.
Our minds become obsessed with pursuing more Facebook attention and a better job to boost our worthiness. We forget the righteousness of Christ, which actually makes us worthy (Rom. 1:16-17).
4. Trying to Earn Our Salvation
Insecurity is an indication that we still believe that our justifications are based on our accomplishments and attributes. While most of us don’t feel worthy simply because we belong to the tribe of Benjamin we might wish we had more children and a larger church. However, confidence in these things is not the same as confidence in Christ.
This is the insanity that Paul, the apostle, brings to our insecurity: “But any gain I had I counted loss for Christ’s sake.” “I count all loss because of Christ Jesus my Lord’s surpassing worth” (Phil. 3:7-8a). Paul wouldn’t say to us, in our insecurities and constant insecurity, “I know that you don’t feel worthy, however, you are.” God made you special.” Without God, our lives would be a constant cycle of job searches and crash diets. These are just our inept attempts to turn the other side of the same corroded coin. That would still be confidence in flesh.
What Does the Bible Say About Overcoming Insecurity?
The Bible doesn’t necessarily speak a great deal on insecurity, but it has plenty to say about overcoming it.
Philippians 4:6-9 tells us to exercise gratitude, think on things of God, and to pray deeply about the things we’re insecure about:
Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to the ways of this world – namely, what it thinks of us – but to be transformed.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
What else does the Bible say about feelings of insecurity?
- Have we deeply sinned? In Christ “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).
- Do we feel like orphans? In Christ we have been adopted by God to be his children and are now members of his household and heirs of all things with Christ (Ephesians 1:5; 2:19; Romans 8:17).
- Do we feel like failures? In Christ, almost incredibly, every failure will work for an ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
- Do we feel weak and inadequate? In Christ God loves to choose the weak and foolish things because, when we are weak, he promises that his grace will be sufficient for us — so much so that we can learn to boast in our weaknesses because of how they showcase his strength (1 Corinthians 1:27–31; 2 Corinthians 12:9–10)!
- Do we feel insignificant and unimportant? In Christ we were chosen by God (John 15:16), who purposefully assigned us a unique and needed function in his body (1 Corinthians 12:18).
Find Your Security in Jesus
Paul advises us to stop valuing ourselves in any other than Christ and the redemptive work he did for us. It is not possible to go through another round in self-deprecation without giving your life to others. It is impossible to compare the joy of Godly Contentment with the weariness of endless grumbling.
The heartfelt approval of God cannot be compared with the fickle admiration people show for each other. The unsteady confidence we have in ourselves can’t be compared with the overwhelming worth of Christ.
The Bible tells us we can be secure with who we are in God. Who created God? Who can know what He knows? He’s all-powerful. If He says I’m approved and loved, then I can be secure in it.
If you’re a church planter struggling with insecurity, check out these books on church planting.