Security

By

When I graduated from college, I remember my english professor Fred Ashe walking at the front of the procession carrying this huge winged sphere on a pole that looked straight out of The Jetsons. I remember thinking, “What is that?” It was a mace. Evidently, once the use of heavy armor went out of style, men came up with a ceremonial use for their proud battle club. And I’ll get back to that in a minute.

I, and many of my artist friends use the word “insecure” like an I.D. badge clipped onto our hip beatnik threads. I was having a conversation with a dear friend recently and he called himself “painfully insecure” with no hesitation whatsoever. At least he’s being honest, right?

Our culture teaches artists that our art gives us value. But even in that twisted value system, our creations are always in the past,  sentencing us to a lifetime of self-doubt, and “chasing after the wind.” And man, that wind is hard to catch.

Now, as a believer of the Christian Gospel, kinship with Jesus gives me all the value I could ever need and more, but that is often hard to remember in the face of the ever-present false value system of our culture. I propose, therefore, that we pay new attention to the word, insecure. Since that’s our self-defeating word of choice, let us put it to proper use.

When the exterior doors of my house are locked, my house is relatively secure. Now, if someone really wanted to break in and screw things up, they could watch our daily habits and break in when we leave. But, I put my hope in the locks and the relative safety of the neighborhood, and drive away.

Here’s what I’m saying. As an artist and a believer in Christ, when I say “I am insecure,” I am actually saying, “I have forgotten where to put my hope.” I can not say “I am a believer” and “I am insecure” and be telling the truth about both things. I am either mistaken about my faith, or confused about the word “secure.” In Jesus, I am presently and eternally secure.

This is not mere semantics. If we agree that we can effortlessly idolize our gifts, and other peoples appreciation of them, then we can as easily encourage each other away from that tendency by calling it what it is.

“Today, I am forgetting the power of what Christ has done in me.”

“Today, I am believing a warped value system.”

“Today, I have forgotten. Will you remind me?”

That bears more hope than, “I am so insecure.” And, it is much more true.

This brings me back to the mace. What a nasty, powerful weapon. Back in the day, if you wielded a mace, you were ready to do serious harm. Today, we carry polished and decorated imitations for show. There is no danger, there is no power, and to an onlooker, the presence of a mace is just confusing.

This is what my faith is like when I claim “insecurity.” What is the point, really? This is not to say that we ought to remember Christ more. Not at all. This is just to say how much we need each other in this life of faith. For our faith to retain its age old purpose, we need to speak this language to each other as we fellowship together and perform together. As artists, we reflect the world back on itself. For us as much as anyone, it is imperative that we are not delusional. If the artist is confused about where to seek and find hope, so may become her audience.


14 Comments

  1. Allison

    “I have forgotten, will you remind me?”I think that’s one of the reasons we come together each week as the Body of Christ. To remind each other of the hope and power and acceptance only found in Jesus. I so needed to hear this. What a great encouragement. Thanks, Randall.

    (Oh, and Fred Ashe is one of my all-time favorite professors, ever. But I think Sprayberry carried the Mace the year I graduated. In the hands of a lady it just looks even more ridiculous.)

  2. Steve Mathisen

    You remind me of the time when Peter was standing on the water of the Sea of Galilee. He had bravely, in faith, stepped out of his boat and walked across the water with, I imagine, his eyes locked on Jesus. After awhile, he was distracted by the wind and the waves and began to sink into the cold sea. He quickly remembered who was with him on the surface of the water and who had called him out there and called out “Save me Lord!”. Jesus instantly did just that. All too often we forget that Jesus is with us in all that we do and with us all of the time. We get distracted by people and events around us. We lose our perspective and begin to sink in our insecurities. Like Peter, we need only to remember that He is there with us always and call out to Him. He will always respond in the same way. He may choose to bring us through something rather than take us out of it. But, He is always there for us and will always be our “ever present help in time of trouble”.

  3. Seth Ward

    Well said, Randall. Thanks for that needed reminder. Reminds me of one of my favorite Lewis quotes:

    “Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.”

  4. J.F.R.

    Great stuff. I love the line, “Today, I have forgotten. Will you remind me?” There is so much power in that request. I really like it.

  5. Nate

    This is incredibly well-stated. Thanks Mr Goodgame. As a fellow believer, I have to say that it is hard to trust. It is easy to feel insecure. Is it wrong? You betcha. Does it portray a false gospel to an unbelieving world? It does at least sometimes. If I’m constantly telling people around who dont know the riches of Christ’s blessings that I’m worried, that I’m unsure of where my life is going or if it is even in a positive direction, that I dont have confidence in the future, then I am sharing a false gospel, a powerless gospel.

    Is it so hard to believe Jesus’ words “Fear not little flock, for it is the Father’s good will to give you the kingdom.” I’m in med-school and just had my first round of tests for the semester. And even though I know that it was God who told me to be a doctor. I know that He is the one who got me into school. And I know that his Word says that he is faithful to finish that good work that he has begun. But even as I sit here fully aware of those things and type, I still wonder about my Neurobiology grade. I mean, that stuff is just hard. It goes into my head and feels like a big bowl of spaghetti. And I let the spaghetti feeling outweigh the confidence that I have in Christ. Not always. Its a battle. Sometimes I feel rock-solid trust in Christ. But it is a battle.

    I hear you loud and clear Mr Goodgame. We have to struggle against this sinful tendency not to trust. We have to struggle against it. And we cant just do it on our own. We have to build each other up, edify the Body. After all, if we were on our own, we should feel insecure. But we have a Savior, we have a Victor, and we are more than conquerors through him.

    But sometimes I feel like Charlie Brown…

    “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

    Sometimes I think I’d rather clash swords with the Hittites than face down another one of Dr Mower’s neuro exams.

    Thanks Mr Goodgame.

  6. Loren Eaton

    Our culture teaches artists that our art gives us value. However, since our creations are always in the past, that value system sentences us to a lifetime of self-doubt, and “chasing after the wind.” And man, that wind is hard to catch.

    This is one of the best statments on achievement that I have ever heard.

  7. Chris R

    Great article… I just read The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard and your article made me think of this quote: “We always live up to our beliefs, or down to them, as the case may be. Nothing else is possible. It is the nature of belief.” Challenging to me, just as your comments about insecurity and belief. Thanks

  8. Tony Heringer

    Randall ditto on the thanks given above. Two things come to mind here. First, just the picture of Linus reminds me of a book called “The Gospel According To Peanuts” which talks to the imdeded Christian messages in Charles Schultz’ cartoons.

    In talking about “Good Grief”, i.e. “godly sorrow” that leads to repentence, the author makes this comment “the Church must point to the mystery of God and say with Paul that as deep as human misery is, it is indeed not to be compared to the final triumph of the love of God.”

    Insecurity is misery, deep misery for some. So, it is important for us to remind each other who we are in Christ and that we are completey His. As I was reminded at church last year, “Christians leak”, which is why the weekly filling corporately on the Sabbath and daily filling of the Spirit persoanlly is vital for our overall health as individuals and as a community.

    The second thought I had here was a line from a message I heard a while back. The preacher said “security isn’t the absence of danger, but the presence of God.” That pretty much sums this topic up for me. When I’m inscecure, I forget that I “dwell in the shadow of the Most High” and have to be reminded that while “Aslan isn’t safe, He is good.” 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Mr. Goodgame,

    Thanks for your well-stated article. In reading it and the comments that follow it, a few things come to mind.

    It’s important to remember that the only labor we are to engage in is the labor of faith. It is a struggle at times. But we can’t mistake and think that having faith means making ourselves feel differently. The labor of faith is simply agreement with God. How does that play out?

    It means this:

    If I feel anxious, I choose to believe God is sovereign and works “all things after the counsel of His own will.” Choosing to believe this doesn’t mean I try to make my anxious feelings go away; it means quite simply that I take my focus off of how I feel and put my mind on how in control God is, and how He “means evil for good” and “works all things together for good to them that love” Him.

    If I feel insecure around people, if I feel “less-than,” it’s crucial for me to agree with God that I am a cleansed, Christ-indwelt, powerful son of God, a king, holy, blameless before God, and that I am an asset to His Kingdom, not a liability. I may not feel this choice, but that’s what the Word says. So I choose to rely on that Fact.

    This faith-attitude, this taking-God-at-His-Word kind of action, is the very crux and bottom line of the Christian life. It puts God in gear in our lives, because God can’t resist that kind of faith. That’s the kind of man or woman He is looking for – He’s not looking for us to try to “be like Jesus” and try to study our Bible and try to go to church and try to be good; He’s looking for people who will choose to trust Him in spite of all contrary sense evidence. “Blessed are they which have not seen, and yet believe.” That’s the bottom line.

    I used to be insecure. I used to be a mess. I can choose to enter back into that mess even now, if I trust in my own human ways of getting acceptance, approval, self-worth, etc. But I’ve been encoded, renewed, reprogrammed, transformed in the past fifteen years by the God who has captured my attention.

    The result is recently my wife was talking to a musician I know and he said, “Ron is comfortable inside his own skin.” And that’s the fact – because I know myself, I know my zero-ness to God’s everything, and I realize I don’t have to “be Something 4 God,” I am comfortable in my own skin. I recognize my own total weakness and inability to live the Christian life. Now, all I have to do is trust Him to live through me, as me. Sometimes the Devil yanks on me, and I stumble over that very obvious truth and try to do something in my own steam, in my own name, by my own power. And BAM! – suddenly I’m living again temporarily in Romans 7, the death-agony of the human self thinking it can choose to be good apart from God within it being its Source and Ground of being.

    As believers, we do need one another. I was a lone-wolf Christian for years, and my growth was slower than it is now. I’m part of a fellowship group now on Wednesday nights, in a church which preaches the awesome, life-changing power of Christ’s indwelling Spirit, and my growth is moving along faster now (and really, growth just means coming to the recognition that “I can do nothing of myself; it is Christ in me who does the works,” just as Jesus said of Father.

    Insecurity is a lie. It is a lie specifically engineered for each person, by the Devil, to keep us from influencing others for Christ’s Kingdom. Satan embedded that lie in us as children, widened and broadened it, and now uses it as a place to hook us, to hold us back from the full expression of who we are as sons and daughters of the living God.

    But we can choose to trust God, to not put up with it anymore. There are eternal lives at stake in this age-old War; the costs are too high to remain insecure, to let the Devil shut us up, to hide out in our comfort, our fears, our insecurities. “If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.”

  10. Matt Conner

    So true Randall! These words are good and I love the quote from Willard as well in the comments.

    I think many times we place our insecurities out there as an artist (or pastor) because it can help people identify with us. But there has to be a balance. And really, as a pastor, the last thing they need is simply a speaker to identify with – what they really need is someone to give them truth, not worry about reception.

  11. Randall Goodgame

    @randallgoodgame

    Thanks for the great comments, everyone. They have all been a great encouragement to me. And they have inspired two more thoughts…(in addition to reminding me to re-read The Divine Conspiracy).

    First, I believe the consistency of our feeling of insecurity is directly proportional to our experience of Christ on a daily level.

    If I am seeing the majesty of Jesus in my kids and in the changing of the seasons, if I acknowledge Jesus as my alarm clock goes off too early, or my toaster overcooks my Eggos, and if I remember Scripture when I’m late for work or when I lose my wallet, then I will much more quickly receive the peace of Christ when I say something stupid from the stage, or I forget all the words in front of a crowd of people. In 1 Timothy 5, the author refers to the power of our habits, and how they can work against us… but they can also work for us.

    And finally, everyone feels insecure. We all struggle to remember our value. Even as we praise God for the new life we’ve been given, we can hardly believe it enough to experience Him outside of Sunday mornings. However, we ought not to feel ashamed for feeling insecure (great example, Steve, of Peter walking on water). The Gospel is Christ’s merciful arm stretching out to catch us. I love that verse in 1 Peter 5 that says “cast your anxieties on him(Christ)” because it assumes that we will have anxieties. In The Comforter, and to a certain degree, in one another, we have been given the Spirit of Christ to run to, and find rest (and security) amid our troubles.

  12. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Randall,

    You’re right on; there is no shame for our feelings – feelings are neither good nor evil in and of themselves. We all feel insecure at times; we all feel anxious at times; we all feel sinful at times. But also, we all have outer problems at times; we all struggle with hard circumstances at times. Nothing in life, whether in our outer circumstances or inner emotions, can knock us down if we rely on the power of Galatians 2:20 (Christ lives in me), Romans 6 (we died with Him and were raised with Him to walk in newness of life), and that we can do all things (not some things) through Him who gives us strength (and who is our strength). That’s the real deal – God’s power in us is the deepest, the strongest, deeper than outer circumstances, deeper than emotion. If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.

    So it is not about what happens to us, whether circumstantially or emotionally – our choice is in what we do with those happenings. Will we choose to trust God, or not? We so often see separation, and live from it. “God is there, I am here. I must cope with life and be good mostly on my own but with God’s help.” That’s the lie. It’s Christ Himself who is the power within us. In and of ourselves, we are the zero – He is the All. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” That’s the center of the Christ-ian life – Christ in the man, through the man – as the man.

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