Let's talk security systems.
When I was in high school there was a string of burglaries in the neighborhood where I grew up. My father decided it was best for our family to have a security system installed in our home. After the system was installed my father trained my mother and I on how to activate it and told us to be sure that we set the alarm whenever we left the house.
The new security system took some time to get used to. For the first month or two my mother and I would leave home frequently without activating the thing. This of course will aggravate make my father. He would shake his head and say "what good is this system if it isn't activated?"
If you are like me, then you have more than your fair share of battles with insecurity. I’m not ashamed to tell you, I often deal with unnecessary questions and uncertainty about myself. I often find myself wrestling with how I believe others perceive me. Sometimes it causes me to be nervous around people. Sometimes it inspires hypocrisy. I know the root of all of this insecurity is fear. I know fear does not come from the Father. Yes, I know all of this, but time and time again I still find myself dealing with insecurity all the same. Sound familiar?
For a lot of us these battles with insecurity seem to be just a part of life. We think this is just how we are. Some of us have allowed insecurities to become so ingrained in our lives that we really do see it as a part of our identities. Romans 8 unsettles and puts the brakes on these kinds of beliefs. Romans 8 says we who are living insecure lives are in fact out of sync with the gospel of Jesus Christ!
In Romans 8 Paul drives the point home over and over and over again: we have a broad and unshakable basis for security in Jesus Christ. The passage reminds us that the work of the cross gives us solid ground to stand on - no matter the situation. In Christ Jesus, God has given us everything. Although it does not always look like we should be secure, if we exercise our faith properly, we are provided with a spiritual lens that reveals that we are always in the hands of the almighty God. Nothing can assail us here! Nothing can separate us from him! We are his completely and he protects and keeps his own! We have a security system!
I think the issue for a lot of us is that we don't believe the gospel of Jesus is effective to provide security in the situations we face. We make the mistake of thinking the cross is just about afterlife! We don’t believe the security of the gospel has anything to do with our dating lives or our financial lives or professional lives. For a lot of us, the gospel is abstract and doesn’t have any connection to these challenges.
To put it another way, we don't believe the security system we have is capable of securing us against the threats we face. If this is what we're thinking Romans chapter 8 is a sign with big, bold, capital, red letters that says “WRONG!” The security we have in Christ is supremely sufficient in every situation! The question is not whether the system is sufficient to secure. The question is whether or not we are taking the responsibility for arming the system.
There is a two-step sequence that activates this security we are provided through the blood of Jesus Christ. The first step of the sequence is hearing the word of God. This kind of hearing that is necessary is unique, however. This kind of hearing must take place in the heart - not just with ears. In this unique application of hearing, we receive, digest and meditate on the word of God.
The second step of the sequence is believing the word of God, (also known as faith). This second step arms are security. When I say believe, I don’t mean it the same way we do when we say “believe and your dreams will come true.” This isn’t some fanciful belief. This kind of believe is an ever deepening trust that manifests in complete dependence on the word of God we receive in our hearts.
This process isn’t as easy as punching in a four number pass code. It takes work and it takes time. In fact, we’ll have to repeat step one time after time before we are even ready to touch step two. Although it isn’t as easy as arming an ADT system, this two step process equips a system that is infinitely more secure. This activation sequence places our footing squarely on what God says about us, what God says about who he is and what God says he can and will do! There is no other place to stand! There is no more secure place in the universe! This system we have is supremely secure. It works - if we arm it.
The work of the cross provides universal security because it is the action of perfect love. As I said before, the root of all insecurity is fear and God’s word says perfect love casts out fear. So, with the action taken at the cross and that demonstration of perfect love, God has destroyed the foundation of our insecurities. Our fears are mere illusions - like harmless monsters behind the curtains when we were children. They are not there. Christ has cast them out! His work on the matter is complete. He has provided us with the most secure of systems. I think he probably poses a similar question to the one my father asked my mom and I: “What good is this system if it isn’t activated?”
This week, let's meditate on Romans 8 everyday. Let's see if we can't get some solid ground under these insecurities of ours. Let's get a proper perspective on these fears. Let's see if we can't work this two-step activation sequence and find ourselves with the sweet satisfaction of seeing the green light on our spiritual security systems - the satisfaction of knowing that our system is armed!
(There is no single verse to read today. Please take some time and check out ALL of Romans Chapter 8!)
Questions for the week
- What am I insecure about?
- On what basis am I evaluating the threats I face? Am I evaluating them sensually (feeling, seeing, tasting or touching) or am I evaluating them on the basis of faith?
- Does the gospel have any application to my areas of insecurity or are these places where the gospel has no relevance for me?
- The scripture asks “If God be for us who can be against us?” What is my honest answer to this question? What stands a chance against me if God is for me?
- Am I “arming” my security in Christ (using the two step sequence from the email) on a regular basis