Male Insecurities Day 5: Spiritual Insecurity
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10, ESV)
At the top of the page here, let me say that this isn’t going to be about eternal security. In my mind, that’s a topic that’s settled in Scripture. My sins are forgiven, they always will be, and I’ll never lose my salvation. This is a much more nuanced insecurity that men can deal with from time to time. At the heart of it might be jealousy, because I’m talking about being insecure about the spiritual gift(s) that God has given us. Read through Paul’s many letters—this was an issue very prevalent in the early church. Men were yearning for the flashy apostolic-age gifts, such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, and other sign gifts. Surely, roaming through the brains of some with different gifts would have been these thoughts: What about me? Why can’t I speak newly revealed truth to the church? Why can’t I speak in tongues? Translate that into modern times, and you may encounter or struggle with these thoughts: Why can’t I preach like that guy? Why can’t I share the Gospel like him? Why are my gifts small and worthless? As the great Lee Corso would say on ESPN’s College Game Day, “Not so fast, my friend!”
If you feel like what you are able and called to do for the Lord is insignificant, can I offer you some encouragement? First, think about this: the eternal, Almighty God gave you spiritual gifts in the first place. That should perk up each of us. Second, He gave you those gifts, knowing exactly how to best use you. Therefore, if you are not gifted to preach, that’s totally fine. And I know how the insecurities play out with this—trust me. It leads to men trying to be something they are not, spiritually speaking. Much of that has to do with jealousy, but also with wanting to get the public approval or pat on the back. “What a sermon! That guy can really preach!” But Paul said in our text, “Am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?” If He has given me a spiritual gift, but I spend my life striving for something else, where does that leave me? If I am truly a “servant of Christ,” then I should earnestly strive and desire to please my Master. If He wants and expects oranges from me, I shouldn’t work hard to give Him pineapples. It isn’t what He wants! It takes letting go of my insecurity, though, and leaning on Him. So what if He wants me to play a background role? He wants me to play it, and that’s what really matters!
Do you need more? No problem! Look no further than 1 Corinthians 12. With all the different gifts, “the same Spirit is the source of them all” (vs. 4, NLT). With all the different workings of God in His people, “the same God does the work in all of us” (vs. 6, NLT). You might have a gift of encouraging people. You might have a gift of helping people in need. You might have a gift of being hospitable. Well, guess what? The Holy Spirit is the source of those gifts, just as He is the source of the gift of evangelism or teaching. Do we trust that He knows what He’s doing? When your gift is put to use, who is it that is behind that work? God is! When we utilize what He has given us, who’s to say just how far the blessing will reach? That word of encouragement might pull back a Christian from the edge of a meltdown. The need you feel led to meet might, literally, save a person’s life. The time spent entertaining other Christians could provide the love and warmth a cold heart needs for revival. And you think that gift is insignificant? Far from it!
And if you do have the gift of teaching or evangelism? Good; use it. What a waste to let it fall by the wayside, depriving the Lord’s people or the world of the blessing you could be giving them! No matter your gift, there is never a need to feel insecure about it. The opinions of man should always be secondary. We live for and serve an audience of One, after all. In every act, every word, and every thought, let us always remember that fact. So, love Him. Serve Him. Please Him.