How to Overcome Insecurity and More
Sarah goes from one bad relationship to another. She finally married and had two kids with Jason. But she still felt empty, and her pattern of relationship-hopping began to dominate her life again. One adulterous affair after another, Sarah is sinking deeper and deeper into the misery of her sin–seeking the right person who can make her feel secure.
Fred is the vice president of a large gas and oil company in the south. He fought his way to the near top, but he left a trail of emotionally damaged employees in the long process. Even today, after 20 years in the business, Fred blows his top in meetings. He loses his temper on the golf course continually. And his wife just filed for divorce–she can’t handle his bad temper anymore. Even his kids aren’t speaking to him anymore. Truly, Fred doesn’t feel quite adequate in his life: business and relationships.
Justin’s friends have had enough. They have convened to discuss how to confront him regarding his constant bragging and arrogant attitude. After some investigation, most of the things Justin has said he has done are outright lies: Navy Seal, professional photographer, commissioned artist, friends with several famous people, etc. His friends hope Justin would come clean about these things, but they are prepared to dismiss the friendship altogether if he doesn’t. After all, real friends don’t lie to each other. Apparently, Justin has issues with his feeling of significance.
Each of the above true stories (Don’t worry–the names have been changed to protect the guilty.) reveals the reasons why we sin. Here’s the God-honest truth: our heavenly Father has created us with 3 specific needs that can only be met by Him. These 3 legitimate needs are portrayed in the above stories. They are:
- the need to feel secure,
- the need to feel adequate,
- and the need to feel significant.
Here’s What the Bible Says
We read throughout the Bible how men and women of God battled with these 3 legitimate needs. We can see how they sought to meet those in illegitimate ways. And there are beautiful passages in Scripture that show how these needs are met in only God:
- Secure: “He will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” — Isaiah 33:6
- Adequate: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” — Philippians 4:13
- Significant: How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you. — Psalm 139:17-18
In his book, Effective Biblical Counseling, Larry Crabb brings to light man’s 2 basic needs: feeling secure and feeling significant. And while I was in seminary, my biblical counseling professor, Dr. Bill Yarger, suggested a 3rd: feeling adequate. Thus, a definition of sin could be: seeking to fulfill a legitimate need in an illegitimate way.
Check Out Our Examples
God graciously created us with feelings. Sarah feels insecure. Her father abandoned her and her siblings when she was a child, thus producing the opportunity for Sarah to feel insecure in life. Therefore, she has tried to meet this legitimate need, but her sin was in meeting these in illegitimate ways: affairs, bad relationships, and even drugs and abusing alcohol.
Fred’s major need is to feel adequate. This is why he fought so hard to reach the top in his company. But the harder he fights, the more he losses: the important relationships of friends and family. And the more he losses, the more inadequate he feels.
Justin feels he has to prove his significance by lying about his accomplishments. He wants so much to feel important that he has developed a habit of lying, and in the process he has damaged the relationship with his friends and family.
How Are These Needs Fully Met?
Security. Adequate. Significant. These are the 3 basic needs of every human. And the truth is only Jesus Christ can fully meet these needs.
When I realize my security is completely met in my relationship with Jesus…
When I realize that I am fully adequate to do whatever God wants me to do through Jesus…
When I realize that I am significant because of Jesus…
…then I will not feel the need to seek to fulfill these legitimate needs anywhere else.
I have freedom to enjoy the relationships God has blessed me with.
I feel secure in my marriage. I feel adequate in my job at work and as a husband and father. I feel significant as a person because of who I am in Christ.
No shame. No guilt. I am free to be who God created me to be!
What Does this Mean for Evangelism?
Since every person possess these 3 basic needs, and since the legitimate needs can only be completely fulfilled through a relationship with Jesus Christ, then we can look for the lack of these things in the unbeliever and show how Jesus wants to and can meet those needs.
Jesus wants to, and can, help you feel secure…because you are secure in Him.
Jesus wants to, and can, help you feel adequate…because you can do all things through Him.
Jesus wants to, and can, help you feel significant…because you are loved enough for Him to die for you.
So as you seek to fill these legitimate needs in your relationship with Christ, also seek to show the lost how loving, gracious, and majestic our Jesus is!
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