Love overcomes evil by doing good, and one of the marks of genuine love is that it is generous. Paul spells out what this looks like in Romans 12:9-21: Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not...
I am so easily duped.
I’ll admit it, it’s true. I am ridiculously gullible. While getting to know my fiancé’s family at the start of our relationship, I recall his father telling me a number of jokes…that I didn’t realize were jokes. The good news is, I’ve learned. And now I can much more readily discern the joking when it happens. No more gullibility for me!
Something I’ve realized lately is how, during favorable circumstances, I so quickly believe that I have control over my own life. I personally struggle with a host of different health issues, none of which have been solved. On days when my body feels stronger and better than normal, I find myself living with a false sense of pride that did not so readily exist within my heart during the painful, uncomfortable hours of weakness. Believe me, during those “off days” I find myself desperately clinging to the Lord for help, hope and security.
As sinful human beings, it doesn’t take much for us to be duped into believing we somehow have our lives under control. There are multiple areas of false security where we place our hope, thinking, “Yes, this will make me happy…if I only had my health, I would be at peace.” We put our security and comfort in worldly pleasures and factors, and it’s smooth sailing – until life doesn’t go our way, and we realize our security wasn’t actually security at all. We’ve been duped.
Let’s not be duped, friends. We need to be aware of the areas that cause us to somehow believe we are in control of our own lives, and call them out for the falsities they are.
Areas of False Security
Don’t be duped by your health. Perhaps you’ve been blessed with an incredible health record; if that’s the case, praise God! Or perhaps your record is full of sickness, injuries and disease. In either case, the attempt to find security in our health will fail because all of us are eventually headed toward death. Eventually, something’s got to give, for we cannot control our health in the end. Yes, there are factors that greatly influence our health such as healthy eating and exercise; but even these can easily become idols, as we strive to find our happiness in the strength of our bodies and the resilience of our immune systems.
Don’t be duped by your wealth. During the economic crash a few years back, we saw how incredibly dubious money can be. Here today, gone tomorrow. One wrong move, or perhaps a lifetime of poor decisions, and we discover that storing up money was (and is) never a guarantee. Yet, we find ourselves comforted by material possessions, always investing in the latest toy and the smartest stocks, as our grip on money grows tighter and tighter and our blood pressure increases because of how stressed out money’s uncertainty makes us.
Don’t be duped by your relationships. People make mistakes and loved ones fail us – and if we’re not careful, our emotions and security can become tied to these fluctuating human factors. Who are you seeking approval from? Who are you looking to make you happy? Who are you trying to please? Whose attention are you pining for?
Don’t be duped by productivity and work. I’m guilty-as-charged for saying, “I was so productive today,” finding a false sense of rest and self-satisfaction in my scribbled and checked to-do list. But on days when I’m forced to be still because of health issues, I struggle. Greatly. Something within me cries, “I can’t feel good about myself, I can’t be secure, unless I’m doing something productive!” We seek to find accomplishment in our work, in its returns, but find ourselves increasingly insecure when these factors are stripped from our control.
Don’t be duped by spiritual disciplines. This is perhaps the most dubious of all the above areas. Don’t spiritual disciplines actually result in security and comfort and joy, because they have to do with God? No. Don’t be duped. Our faith does not stand on “doing” for the Lord, on our works. Do works make genuine and evident our faith? Absolutely. But what’s illusive is that we somehow find security in how “good” our prayer time, Bible reading, worship or fellowship is. We cannot find security in our good works.
Where Our True Security Is Found
If you found yourself agreeing with any of the above, that’s a great thing! It means that together we are becoming more aware of how illusive false security can be, and our awareness brings us to humble confession before our God and Father. We come to the Word ready to receive wisdom and help, ready to learn and re-learn where our true security is found:
A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:6-8).
Brothers and sisters, the Lord reminds us through his Word that everything in this life is fading and temporary. Eventually, just as the grass withers and the flower fades, our bodies, our money, our relationships, our work and even our spiritual disciplines will fade. We cannot place our security in these worldly factors.
So what will be left when all else fades? “The word of God will stand forever.” Jesus Christ, the Word of God, will reign for all eternity. He is the beginning and the end, and he is ruler over all creation, including your life, whether you realize it or not. Christ is the everlasting joy of mankind, the joy of our salvation and our true stronghold. And we can trust him, rely on him, and find our security in him because he did not spare even his own life for our sake, but gave himself up as a ransom for many.
On the cross, Christ accomplished the total defeat of death, bearing our sins in his body on the tree. He died so we would not have to be separated from the Father for eternity. He died so we could be restored to him forever, finding our every ounce of satisfaction and security in this reconciliation and in our eternal inheritance firmly established in heaven.
Why allow yourself to be duped by a false sense of control when Jesus, the one who knows you better than you know yourself, is actually in control of your life? Christ is calling us to place our wholehearted trust in his ability to care for us, sustain us, and ultimately save us. He wants to be sufficient for us when all else fades.
Sometimes the rug of our circumstances gets lovingly pulled out from underneath us by our great God and Savior who purposes, by his grace, to make us more like him in every way. Let us find our true security in this truth: The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever!
What areas of false security do you recognize in your own life? Bring these before the Lord today, asking him to be your satisfaction, security and strength.