Resolved…to Do, or to Be?

Today, millions are focused on resolutions for the new year. While there is much debate as to the effectiveness of this exercise, the fact is that most resolutions are focused on tasks, goals and productivity. Yet, as we think about the new year, my mind is still echoing a familiar line from the Christmas season:

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

We are wise to remember that Jesus did not come to enhance our productivity, but to transform our identity. Christ’s incarnation, sinless life, substitutionary death and glorious resurrection not only secured our salvation but demonstrated our worth, based on God’s unfathomable love for us.

We are wise to remember that Jesus did not come to enhance our productivity, but to transform our identity.

Our productivity is to be the overflow of our worth, not the proof of our worth. What we accomplish does not define us, nor is it the essential mark of a meaningful year. Good works, as the expression of our identity in Christ, are the essence of fruit that matters now and in eternity.

Our productivity is to be the overflow of our worth, not the proof of our worth.

Overcoming Insecurity and Insignificance

Yet, we struggle. Accomplishments are the name of the game. We compete, often out of insecurity. We compare and can feel insignificant.

Insecurity and insignificance plague us all at one point or another – even at many points every day.  Like a lingering tennis elbow, the tinge of emotional unrest can show up unexpectedly in circumstances and conversations, triggering defensiveness, withdrawal, braggadocio, and an array of other relationally counterproductive responses.

Abraham Maslow, although a humanistic psychologist, still had candid insight about the plague of insecurity.  He described an insecure person as a person who “perceives the world as a threatening jungle and most human beings as dangerous and selfish; feels rejected and isolated person, anxious and hostile; is generally pessimistic and unhappy; shows signs of tension and conflict, tends to turn inward; is troubled by guilt-feelings, has one on another disturbance of self-esteem; tends to be neurotic; and is generally selfish and egocentric.”  He viewed in every insecure person as facing a continual, chronic longing for security.

Insecurity is defined as “an unsafe feeling: a state of mind characterized by self-doubt and vulnerability.”  Insecure people often feel threatened in a situation or relationship.  They struggle with feelings of rejection, anxiety, unhappiness, and guilt.  They often react to situations they feel are threatening by withdrawing, competing, or becoming hostile. Soon, their life can feel insignificant.

The Root of Insecurity

Real security is not found in the latest self-help book, the accomplishment of greater tasks or our financial success.  Net worth is not the same a self-worth. Real security and significance is rooted in life-giving relationship with the Source of all things healthy and secure.  Our sin has separated us from the Rock, the Shelter, the Strong Tower and Strength of every life – God Almighty.  Through the work of Messiah Jesus, we can be restored to a secure rest in God’s extravagant love for us and His full provision for us and the sufficiency of His grace in us.

Real security is not found in personal improvement, accomplishment, or financial success. Net worth is not the same a self-worth.

Yet, our insecure flesh remains.  Failing to appropriate all the real blessings of life in Christ to daily relationships, conversations, and trials, we feel shaken and threatened once again.  We reenter the superficial competition of the human contest for fleeting superiority, rather than resting in truth and ministering to others out of the abundance of God’s available grace.

A Struggle for All

In a recent conversation with some pastoral colleagues, I asked, “When was a time when you felt insecure? What triggered that? How did you respond?”  The answers were honest and diverse.  The answers included:

  • When I failed to perform a task up to standard
  • When I am unprepared for a responsibility (like preaching)
  • When I have to confront people about a difficult issue
  • When my children do not respect me

As our pastoral conversation unfolded we each affirmed the common struggle regardless of calling, titles, or age.  We also concluded that much of our insecurity is rooted in a failure to regularly affirm our true identity in Christ.

Much of our insecurity is rooted in a failure to regularly affirm our true identity in Christ.

An Assured Security

A secure and reoccurring assurance of who we really are, according to the truth that is in Christ, frees us from the need to always make self the point of reference.  Personal well-being and emotional sufficiency springs from our abiding in Christ and our affirmation of what that really means in terms of how we understand or see ourselves.

This is one reason we are offering a 30-Day coaching intensive on, The Deeper Life – Satisfying the Eight Vital Longings of the Soul.  One foundational longing is a genuine assurance of personal worth. This is the thirst of every soul to live from a secure sense of identity. Renewal in the truth of our biblical identity and worth is central to a truly happy new year.

Renewal in the truth of our biblical identity and worth is central to a truly happy new year.

This hope and longing has led me to write a personal identity statement that is based in the truth of God’s word about who I am in Christ.  Believe me, I review it often because of my chronically insecure flesh.  Throughout many days, I have to quote it by memory, just to keep perspective when negative emotions rise and insecurities come knocking. This will be one of the outcomes of this coaching experience – to help you find biblical clarity and daily renewal that provides real security and significance. To get more information or to sign up for one of these coaching groups, CLICK HERE.

Colossians 3:10 reminds us that Christ followers “have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”  Ephesians 4:24 affirms that we have “put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”  This is the power and potential of living from a secure core of self-understanding every day — in every relationship, any situation, and all conversations.

A Powerful Point of Reference

It has been said that a proper self-image is seeing yourself as God sees you – no more, no less.  Christ has made all things new through the power of the cross, including our core identity.  We are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

A proper self-image is seeing yourself as God sees you – no more, no less.

Now, within this new reality we can live in a new year with Christ as the point of reference in how we feel about ourselves.  We can be free to live with others as our focus because our joy is found in self-giving, not self-protection.  We can subdue the petty comparisons.  We can decline attendance at our own pity-parties.  We can rejoice in the success of others, trusting the truths that set us free from insecurity.

Yes, insecurity and insignificance are a daily battle for every person.  Thank God that in Christ that battle has been won and the focus of our lives can be changed day by day as we engage in an authentic following of the Rock of our Salvation – and our security.