Friday, August 31, 2007

Spiritual Insecurity

In 1964 Martin Lloyd-Jones preached a series of sermons over 21 consecutive Sundays on the topic of spiritual depression, its causes and its cure as he had noticed how many Christians seemed spiritually depressed, and even the great preacher himself had dealt with a season of spiritual depression. It seems to me that in our new century we are seeing another issue that is pervasive in Christianity in our country and that is spiritual insecurity. This spiritual insecurity is becoming a polluting, corrupting, and paralyzing force in the life and faith of the body of Christ. Sad to say many who are insecure spiritually are so because they do not have the Spirit, but there are also many others who are believers who are struggling with being insecure in their faith.

I do believe that one of the factors contributing to this is the postmodern age in which we are now living. With its emphasis on uncertainty, its elevation of personal experience as the arbiter of truth, and its deconstruction of all truth claims, it is easy to see why those who have succumbed to this way of thinking and viewing life would be insecure. The church has always been in danger of being influenced by the surrounding culture and its accompanying philosophy, and the more immature the church the more immature the believer, the more susceptible they are to adopting the cultural mindset of the day. Take, for example, the books of I Corinthians and James.

Another contributor to this spiritual insecurity is the lack of the knowledge of God. It is sad, yes, tragic that many Christians just do not know God very well. II Peter 1:2-3 tells us that grace and peace are not just given, but multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and His Son, Jesus Christ; and that we have been given everything pertaining to life and godliness through this true knowledge. In Hosea 4:6 God tells us "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Then in Hosea 6:3 He exhorts us, "So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord." Since the Scriptures are true, if Christians are insecure in their faith, their relationship with the living Lord, then they must not have much of the knowledge of God and His Son that multiplies grace and peace in their lives. The lack of the knowledge of God is destroying His people and His church in America today, and can be directly related to the preaching to felt needs and the therapeutic gospel that have been in the main for the last 20 years. It may seem odd that self help, feel good, Jesus loves you for who you are sermons would not make people feel more secure in their relationship with God, but the key to security in any relationship is an intimate knowledge of the other party in the relationship. When preaching and church life are all about you, then how can you ever know about God?

Finally, the third contributor to this spiritual uncertainty comes from the proliferation of Arminian and Semi-Pelagian (you can look these up at views of the role of man in his salvation and sanctification, from "getting himself saved" to "keeping himself saved." When man takes the responsibility for his salvation, and the working out of that salvation, upon his own shoulders he will never feel adequate for the task. For deep down in his soul he is all too aware of the sin that so easily entangles him, and his own lust that entices and carries him away. Without a solid foundation built on the doctrines of grace and the sovereignty of our great and merciful God in our salvation, from its beginning to its end, man is left to rely only on the strength of his own arm,the power of his own piety......and, for all of us, our faults and foibles are ever before us.

Where are you today, my friend? Are you struggling with being secure in your relationship with God and living the life of faith? Are you plagued with doubts and uncertainties? Confess this to God, cry out to Him for relief, for peace in your soul, and rest for your heart. In Jeremiah 33:3 He tells to call upon Him and He will show us great and mighty things which we do not know, which, I believe, are the things of God Himself. According to Jeremiah 9:23-24 God wants our only boast to be that we know and understand Him. If that is what He wants then He has provided the means for that to take place and those means are the Word of God and the Spirit of God. In fact, in Jeremiah 1:12, He tells us that He personally watches over His word to make sure it is fulfilled, that is carried out to the fullest. Start your journey to spiritual security by reading the Psalms and in each Psalm mark with a colored marker each verse that tells you something about God. Meditate on these things and ask God to reveal to you deeper insight about that aspect of His nature and character. In Jeremiah 29:12-14 He has promised to be found by us when we search for Him with all our heart. Take Him up on that promise today.

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