Most Christians are familiar with this verse, it’s the command God gave to Joshua after the death of Moses. Joshua is largely remembered as a stalwart warrior and leader of Israel, but at this moment in time, he was probably relieved to hear these words. After all, Israel had been wandering in the wilderness for over 40 years. Now their oldest leader was dead, and Joshua had been called up to lead them into battle so they could finally settle the land God had promised them. That much responsibility would make anyone feel insecure.
The Bible is filled with great leaders who were uncertain, anxious, or had low self-esteem. Moses thought he was slow in tongue and speech (Exodus 4:10), Gideon was timid and constantly second-guessed God (Judges 6:15), even Peter floundered in his faith despite witnessing many miracles (Matthew 14:30). Our insecurities can eat away at us. However, they also have the power to reveal deep-seated idolatry in our lives. Over at Desiring God, writer Jon Bloom reflects how our own insecurities as Christians can potentially show us what we’re building our identity around. He writes,
“Where does our sense of identity come from? This is the crucial question, the pinnacle of the problem. How we answer it decides whether or not we will ever be free from being insecure.”
“And it’s not primarily an intellectual answer. We all know that we can ‘know’ the right answer, but not know the right answer. We answer this question from our heart, because our identity is tied into what we really love, what we really want, what we really believe offers us hope. In other words, we always find our identity in our god.”
“Our god may or may not be the god of our creed. We may say our god is the Lord, but that may not really be true (Luke 6:46; Isaiah 29:13). Our god is the person or thing we believe has the greatest power to determine who we are, why we’re here, what we should do, and what we’re worth. Our god is what we can’t help but seek and follow, because we believe our god’s promises will bring us the greatest happiness.”
Bloom isn’t the only writer calling believers to evaluate their spiritual identities. Author and speaker Rhonda Stoppe recently pointed to the massive influx of social media our culture has taken in. The constant posting, commenting, and “liking” is creating a society where people’s insecurities are manifesting online at a massive scale. In response, Stoppe implores Christians to remember that God knows our fears and can help us overcome them.
“When you bow to the standard of others, you’ll also lose peace of mind. Because you will constantly compare yourself to how others are doing, or change your goals based on the comments of others. So, what can you do? For me freedom from people pleasing came in a number of ways. First and foremost was when I surrendered my life to Jesus as my Lord and Savior because the Spirit of God gave me new life in Christ.”
Christians will read stories of men like Joshua and wonder at their bravery, but the truth is they were insecure like everyone else. The greatest servants of God were human beings with human faults just like you and me. It’s an encouraging message, because it tells us that no matter who we are or what we fear, Christ sees our value even when we don’t see it ourselves. So if you’re ever tempted to question you self-worth, just remember: God never has.
What are your thoughts on Christians and insecurity? Be sure to leave a comment in the space below!
*Ryan Duncan is an Editor for Crosswalk.com
(Image courtesy of thinkstock)