This is the third post in my Unlikely Heroes series. If you missed any of the other posts, you can check them out here. You can also check out the Unlikely Heroes sermons from the Crash service at North Phoenix here.
One of the most common phrases in the Scriptures is four-words long. “Do not be afraid”. Every time an angel encounters a human, the angel’s first words are “Do not be afraid.” When we have an encounter with God, fear is a normal response. When we hear God’s calling and get a picture of what He wants us to do, fear and insecurity are quick to follow.
This is the case throughout the Scriptures. In Week 2 of the Unlikely Heroes series at Crash, we explored the life of Gideon in Judges 6-7. When an angel encounters Gideon, the angel refers to Gideon as “Mighty Warrior”. Gideon’s responds, “I am from the weakest tribe and I am the least of my tribe. I’m not a mighty warrior.” Total insecurity. In Exodus, when God speaks through the burning bush to call Moses, Moses’ insecurity looks like “I don’t speak well; I’m afraid to go before Pharaoh. Please God, send someone else.”
I believe, from my experience as a pastor and in reading the Scriptures, fear and insecurity are completely normal responses to hearing God’s calling. However, just because the response is normal, doesn’t mean it is the best response or the one we should act out of permanently.
What do we do with our fear and insecurity? I believe there is a way to move beyond the fear and insecurity that handicap so many of us, limiting our ability to respond to God’s calling in our lives. The way to overcome our fear and insecurity is to claim our identity in Jesus Christ. Max Lucado put it this way in his book, Just Like Jesus. “God loves you just the way you are. But He loves you too much to leave you there. He wants to make you just like Jesus.”
Our identity is rooted in God’s unconditional love for us and His promise to complete the work He began in us to make us just like Jesus. Paul said in Philippians 1:6, “being confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God is in the process of transforming us to be like Jesus, from fear and insecurity to faith and confidence.
Remembering who we are in Christ, who we were before Christ and who we are promised to be in the future is a huge part of following God’s calling. If we are going to move from freaking out in fear and insecurity to trusting God with faith and confidence, then I believe we would be wise to embrace what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. This passage has become the theme passage of the Unlikely Heroes passage at Crash.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
As I reflected on the role of friendship recently here on the blog, I was reminded that this theme of constantly connecting with my identity in Christ is a strength that I lost sight of, that others used to remind me of. I am working on renewing my focus there.
If you’re in the midst of a place where you’re saying, “God, you’re freaking me out here!”, remember this idea. Fear and insecurity are normal. But they don’t have to be our permanent responses. We can leave fear and insecurity for faith and confidence as we claim our identity in Jesus Christ.