Before There Were Kings
David Marvin | 04.02.19
Being comfortable in your own skin is a nice concept, but most of us either don’t feel that way or are confident for the wrong reasons. Insecurity will rob us from all that God wants us to become and hinder us from living out our purpose. In this message, we see how Gideon fought insecurity and how we can have confidence that comes from God.
Being comfortable in your own skin is a nice concept, but most of us either don’t feel that way or are confident for the wrong reasons. Insecurity will rob us from all that God wants us to become and hinder us from living out our purpose. In this message, we see how Gideon fought insecurity and how we can have confidence that comes from God.
Welcome, friends in the room, friends in Fort Worth, Houston, El Paso, Tulsa, Woodlands, and any of the other 15 or 16 Porch.Live locations. We are continuing this series Before There Were Kings. I'm going to start with telling a little bit about my family life, specifically my son. That'll give us some direction for where we're going. I have a 3-year-old son named Crew. He's one of two children we have. This is him. There he is. Oh yeah. Just rocking those Velcro shoes.
Here's what I love about my son, and I'm grieving because I know the day is going to come where this will change. He's at that age where there is not an insecure bone in this kid's body. He's as confident as he could possibly be in so many different ways, whether it's the fact that "Dude, I don't have to wear pants at any time. No pants, no problem. Let's do this thing." Probably his preferred dress code would be just walking around in underwear, and he's going to be ecstatic to show you the different designs he has on his undergarments.
He is not afraid to go out if he has food all over his face. That's just a normal thing for him. There's not an insecure part of his life. He's so confident he wants to make sure any new trait he has picked up… He will very quickly move to make sure strangers know what he can do. What do I mean by that? I mean he recently learned how to jump, which is a big accomplishment when you're 3. By "jump" I mean he literally leaves the ground the size of a nickel, but he will be so stoked. He'll go up to complete strangers and be like, "Hey, do you want to see me jump? What's up now?"
He'll get so excited he'll run around in circles. It's like, "I don't know who this kid's parents are. He gets this from his mother. She's always doing that kind of thing. 'Do you want to see me jump?'" He just has so much confidence inside of his life. He is willing to go from one stranger to the next, and he'll just say, "Hey, have you heard me sing the Alphabet Song?" He'll go from one person to the next and very quickly move through. He wants to make sure you know all of the different skills and confidence he has.
As a dad, I get sad about the reality that there's going to come a day where that security and confidence no longer is what it is currently, or said more clearly, there's going to come a day where he begins to experience insecurity. He will not have a confidence that "I can go out, and I don't care what I look like and what other people think" and "Look at me" and "Look at how great this is." Insecurity is coming for him. I know that because it came for me, and it has come for everyone I've ever met.
At some point in our lives, it's like we awaken to insecurity. We become very self-conscious, very concerned about what other people think about us, very insecure about different parts of our lives. Think about the fact that every person in this room could quickly think of… If I said, "If you could change one thing about your external appearance…" Let's just start as shallow as that. One thing. All of us would quickly go, "I know what I'd change. I have a list, but if I can only pick one, I know what I'd change."
As long as I can remember, insecurity has been a part of my life. I don't know what insecurity looks like for you. Tonight I want to talk about Battling Insecurity. Initially, I called the message we're about to talk through "The Cure for Insecurity," and then I was like, "I don't think that's honest." I don't know that there is a one-size-fits-all cure, but there is a way that God lays out for us to battle insecurity.
What do I mean by insecurity? To get us all on the same page, here's how Webster's defines it and how I'm going to incorporate it. Insecurity is uncertainty or anxiety about oneself, a lack of confidence. I don't know what insecurities have been a part of your story or maybe a part of your past or part of your present, but think about the ways insecurity has shaped us.
Maybe in middle school you were late to the game to get braces or you were early to the game to get braces or you had the bowl cut or you had parents who dressed you in a way that you were like, "What were you thinking, Mom?" Maybe you were a late bloomer and you were insecure about the fact that everyone had already gone through puberty. You were like, "I'm in the tenth grade and I don't have armpit hair."
Maybe you were an early bloomer, which is not any better, when you're 6'4" and everyone else is still 5'2". Unless you're a guy, I guess, and then you're like, "Fee-fi-fo-fum." Just think about how insecurity is something that plagues all of us. Today, insecurity about what you look like, about the clothes you have, the job you have, the car you drive, how it can own your perspective in a moment and rob you of the ability to be present with people because you're too concerned about what they think.
In my own life, I think about how insecurity has had power over my willingness to try things because I'm afraid I will fail. I'm insecure. I remember distinctly even in college… I didn't grow up skiing on the water. We'd go out on a boat and go ski, and I remember at some point I tried skiing, couldn't do it, and that marked me in a way where every time we got in a boat I was like, "I'm good. I'll pass." It was an insecurity.
Insecurity I can resonate with in my own life of ways I can be insecure over external appearance. You always hear the phrase "tall, dark, and handsome," and for my whole life I never heard, "tall, extra Caucasian, and strawberry blond." (You're not supposed to laugh at that. That's offensive.) I don't know what that looks like for you, but I know that insecurity is something that has come and comes for all of us.
It will rob us, if you and I allow it to, from experiencing and really becoming everything God wants us to become. It may rob you of the future spouse you're supposed to have because you're too insecure to not be in a dating relationship. Your standards are not like "Are they biblical and do they meet God's criteria?" You're like, "Are they breathing? That's what I'm more concerned about." So you go from one to the next to the next, and you forfeit seeing what God has for you because you're too insecure to be alone.
It may cause you to change jobs, to make life decisions to orient your life because you're like, "I'm defined by this car, so I have to stay in debt" or "I'm concerned about what other people think about me." Just think about the power, yet there is a freedom God wants us to have in our lives as it relates to insecurity, and in that freedom we are better able to experience becoming the person God wants us to become, experiencing a life full of purpose and a life, candidly, where you are comfortable in your own skin. How tragic is it that that seems so far-fetched for so many people?
What I want to cover from the book of Judges, which is what we've been in as we explore this series Before There Were Kings, is the story of a guy named Gideon. In his story there are some principles that I think are so profoundly helpful as we battle insecurity. We're going to be in the book of Judges, chapter 6. The series we're in, Before There Were Kings, is basically looking at some of the characters in the book of Judges, which is named after these different men. A judge in that time was not like Judge Judy with a black gown and a gavel. A judge at that time was a deliverer God would raise up to save the people.
Really, the book of Judges is like the X-Men, if you will. It's these different people that God… He kind of pulls out Samson. "You're super strong." He pulls out Deborah. "You're going to be Ice Woman," or whatever. He pulls out these different people, and God shows up to them (not Professor Xavier) and basically says, "You're going to come be on my team. You're going to be a part of the X-Men." That's who the different judges are.
The judges would come and deliver the nation of Israel, which is what the Old Testament is all about. Basically, the nation of Israel would do the same thing over and over and over in the book of Judges. Here's what they would do. God would set them free. They would sin against God and worship false idols. God would say, "You want foreign idols? I'm going to let you have foreign rulers." They'd be conquered by foreign rulers.
They would cry out to God. That's called supplication. Basically, where they'd cry out and be like, "God, we're sorry. Save us." Then God would send a deliverer. He would send a judge to set them free. Tonight, we're going to meet the judge named Gideon. This was the cycle that went on and on and on and on, and because of that cycle, the words "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes…"
It's setting up the fact that the nation would cry out for a king because they would keep going through this sin cycle over and over and over again, crying out, "We need a king, someone to come in and rule our lives." So that's the series we're going to be in. We're going to pick it up in chapter 6. Chapters 6-8 in the book of Judges cover the life of Gideon. I'm just going to go over the story high-level so you can kind of watch the movie with me. I'm just going to tell what happened. Let me start in verse 1 of chapter 6, and we'll pick it up as we look at the story of Gideon.
"The Israelites did evil in the Lord's sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years." **The Midianites are the conquering power, the villains, if you will, of the story we're about to look at. They come in. They conquer. Verse 6:"So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord…"** We're in that cycle. They sin. God gives them over. They're conquered. They're like, "God, we're sorry. Save us." So he sends his deliverer, Gideon.
"Then the angel of the Lord …" Scholars have long pointed out this is likely Jesus. That title Angel of the Lord doesn't appear in all the New Testament. It's consistently in places like this. The Angel of the Lord would appear, and people believe it is the pre-Christmas Jesus, that it is God himself showing up before he came to this earth in his appearance, which is why it doesn't show up inside of all the New Testament.
So he shows up…not Professor Xavier, Jesus himself…to call Gideon, and he does this: "Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites." Threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress. Who hasn't been there? Am I right? What does that even mean? What is he doing? He's threshing wheat, and I don't have all the time to get into it, but basically, the author is trying to point out this dude was scared.
He's threshing wheat. He basically wants to make a sandwich, but he's not doing it out in the open; he's doing it in the bottom of a winepress, which is like a pit. He's afraid, is the point he's trying to make. This guy who's going to be the hero at this point is not courageous but is a coward. The Angel of the Lord says to him this: "The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, 'Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!'" Or your translation may have "Valiant hero."
Wait a second. Valiant? He's hiding. He's afraid. He's terrified. He's at the bottom. He's basically in a pit trying to make a sandwich. What do you mean the Angel of the Lord shows up and says, "Hey, I see you as heroic. I don't see you as you see you. I see all that you can be and will be"? He saw things in Gideon he didn't even see in himself, and he says, "You're going to be the one to deliver my people."
Gideon responds and says (verse 15), "But Lord…how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!""My squad is the weakest of all squads, and I'm the weakest in my squad. How can you use me to be the person you would set free, God? There are a lot of other people who would be better than me, even in my own family," he says.
"The Lord said to him, 'I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.'" So Gideon is sitting there and he's like, "Man, you're going to have me fight this oppressive enemy? Okay, if that's true, I need to have a sign." So he says this: "Gideon replied, 'If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. Don't go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.' He answered, 'I will stay here until you return.'"
So Gideon runs away, gets an offering, and is going to make a sacrifice to the Lord. He begins to build the altar. It's all in front of the Angel of the Lord, and he's putting it together. He's looking for his lighter to light this thing on fire. The Angel of the Lord, we're told, does this: "Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the Lord disappeared."
He's sitting there looking for a lighter, and the Angel of the Lord just shoots fire onto this thing. Everything is gone. Gideon immediately overreacts and is like, "Oh my goodness! He really is the Lord. I've seen the Lord. I'm going to die." The Angel of the Lord basically goes, "Hey, dude, it's chill. I would have killed you already if I was going to kill you. Just keep calm." That's my own paraphrase, but that's essentially what happens.
Gideon goes, "Man, I guess the Lord is with me," and he goes off to assemble an army to go fight the Midianites. Then a little bit of time goes by, and he begins to wonder, "Was I really sure that God was with me? Am I really confident that what I think he wants me to do is what he wants me to do? I need to get another sign." That's the problem with signs. They don't last.
He says, "I need another sign," so he goes to God and says (verse 36), "If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way." He says, "I'm going to lay out a fleece. It'll be on the ground, and when I wake up in the morning, God, if the fleece is wet but everything around it is dry, then I will know that you're with me." It's kind of a weird sign, but he goes to bed and wakes up the next morning. The fleece is soaking wet. All the ground around it is dry.
Then he begins to go, "Wait a second. That could have just been a weird rainstorm. I don't know what happened here. Somebody could have just poured water on it, playing a joke on me. God, if it's really you, I'm going to set a fleece out, and I need it to be completely dry and have all the ground around it be soaking wet." He goes to bed and wakes up the next morning. The ground is soaking wet, the fleece is dry, and he's like, "Man, I guess this is what God is calling me to do."
He begins to assemble his army. He gets 32,000 people. That's a lot of people. Here's the problem: the army he was facing had 120,000 people. I'm not and have never been great at math, but even I can see those are not great odds. Those are 4:1. He's sitting there like, "What are we going to do with 32,000? Hopefully these guys are good fighters." He's looking at them. They're all starving farmers, so he's like, "Well, we can't bank on that. We need another plan."
He's sitting there, and he's beginning to think, "What are we going to do?" God shows up and says, "You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength." How did that look? He's sitting there, God shows up, and he's like, "Hey, Gideon, you're getting ready for war. I have to talk to you. We have a problem with the numbers."
Gideon is like, "Yep. I'm glad you brought it up. I wasn't going to say anything, but I feel the same thing. It's 4:1 over here." And he's like, "I want you to shrink the army." He's like, "Did I hear you? You want me to shrink the army? What do you mean shrink the army?" He's like, "Tell anyone who's afraid that they can go home." So Gideon gets the group together. What are you thinking at that point? You're like, "Afraid? Look. It's 4:1."
"Hey, guys. Uh, God told me to give an announcement I know nobody here is going to respond to, but if you're afraid… I know none of us are. Right? If you're afraid, you can leave." Most of the army leaves. He's down to 10,000. God shows up again and says (chapter 7, verse 4), "There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not."
God introduces the very first drinking game ever. There's no alcohol involved. He says, "I want them to go down to the spring, and based on a certain way they drink will be the factor that determines whether or not they're going to be in this new squad, in this new crew." If I'm Gideon, at this point I'm like, "I'm not sure I want to be a part of this plan. Shrink it again?" He does the drinking game. They get down to 300 men. God says, "Perfect." It's the original 300, for any of my guy friends in the room.
Verse 7: "With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home." Gideon goes from 4:1 odds to 12:1 odds to 400:1 odds. I mean, at this point he has soiled himself multiple times. Think about it. Three hundred people compared… They're battling against the whatever biggest college football stadium you've ever seen…bigger than that: 120,000 versus 300. He's sitting there going, "What are we going to do, God?"
He basically gets the instructions. He goes at night, and here's the plan: "He divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man [not a sword but] a ram's horn…" Essentially, an old-school trumpet. "…and a clay jar with a torch in it." He goes up to the enemy's camp, and it says he looks into the camp, and as far as the eye can see he sees camels.
The quote from the text is that the number of camels outnumbered the number of sand on the seashore. As far as the eye can see he sees people, yet he gets his 300 together and says, "On my count, everyone blow the rams' horns, take your torch with the jar around it, throw it, and smash it on the ground." The men listened and did what they were told, and here's what happened:
"When the 300 Israelites blew their rams' horns, the Lord caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath."
They basically show up. They take the rams' horns and blow them. They take their torches and throw them on the ground. All of a sudden, there's fire breaking out everywhere. The Midianites begin to panic. There's loud noise taking place everywhere, and it says it's so dark outside the Midianite camps and battalions begin to fight one another, and they think they're being overtaken. The ones who aren't killed by one another end up running off and fleeing.
Gideon, through the Lord and through his plan, delivered and rescued the people of Israel. Gideon's weakness was his strength. They didn't lose a single person. Had they brought the 32,000, even if they had won there was likely a good chance there were going to be some serious casualties, even if those guys could each take on four people a person, but with 300 men, God delivers and rescues from the Midianites.
Now, when I look at this story, there are so many different things I want to pull out, but there are just three as it relates to insecurity that I think are profoundly helpful principles, repeated all throughout the Bible, but three that are definitely inside of these texts. So I just want to give three takeaways as it relates to fighting and battling insecurity, winning the battle of insecurity.
1._ You fight insecurity with your God-given identity. There are a lot of "Christian-y" words in there, so I want you to hang with me, because I think this is so huge. You and I fight insecurity with our God-given identity. The Lord shows up to Gideon and says in chapter 6, verse 12, "Let me tell you who you are. You are a mighty and valiant warrior. I don't see you like _you see you. I don't see you like your family sees you. This is who you are."
He sees and says something about Gideon that Gideon never would have even seen or said about himself. "You are a mighty, valiant warrior, and I am with you." He speaks that over Gideon. Do you know what is most true about you? Whatever God says about you. What is most true about you are the things God says about you. Your God-given identity is your truest identity there is. Here's why that matters. Stay with me, in case you're like, "I don't know that I'm totally following you."
The things that God says, "This is who you are" are the most true labels you will ever wear in your life. The labels you wear of "I'm too fat. I'm too ugly. I'm too small. I'm not smart enough. I'm not good enough. I don't have the right job. I'm not lovable. I'm dysfunctional in a dating relationship…" Whatever the labels you wear or have worn in the past, they are lies when you compare them to the truths God says about you.
How do I know that? Because who can really give a label to someone and it actually be a true label? As I thought about it, there are a few groups. If you're the maker or the manufacturer of something… If Nike makes a shoe, they put a label on there. If adidas is like, "Hey, I'd like to put this on…" They can't put a label on there. Nike is the maker. They can decide what goes on there and what doesn't. If you're the maker, you can put a label on something.
If you are the owner, you can put a label on something. I could name my car. I could be like, "My car's name is Stallion." If you came up and were like, "We're going to name your car Pegasus," I'd be like, "That's weird. You're not the owner. You can't put a label on it." Or if you're the purchaser, if you purchase something, you can put a label on it, you can name it.
I have a friend who not long ago bought this bulldog that was 12 years old. The bulldog had been named Sophie its entire life. They were like, "It's now our dog, so we're going to call you Fran." Not even in the same universe, where it's like "Frophie." She'll still come to that. She has never once come to "Fran." She still thinks her name is "Sophie," but they're the owners and they can say, "This is your name."
If you're the maker, if you're the owner, if you're the purchaser. God is all three of those things. He made you. He tells us that your body is not your own; you were bought with a price. He purchased you, and everything you have is on loan, including you. What God says about you is the thing that is most true about you.
Whatever labels you're going to wear, whatever labels you're wearing right now, whatever labels you have worn are, at best, temporary. You may be thinking, "What about my job title? That's kind of true." That is at best temporary. You will not be X whatever forever, for all of eternity. What God says about you are the things that are most true about you.
What are some of the things God says, some labels that are not lies? You are loved. You were created on purpose. If you have trusted in Jesus, you are pure, righteous, and holy. Everything in your past, everything in your present does not define you the way Christ does. You have been forgiven. You're a child of God. Those are the labels that are the things that are most true about you.
I can fight the fact that I don't like the way I look, I don't like how much I make, I don't like all of the things people think about me by saying, "This is what the one who matters most thinks about me. These are the labels that are the truest about me." The God who's there would look at your life, and I wonder what he would say. Think about it. Some of you just need to know there's a God who knows your name. He knows your name. He has plans for you. He has purposes for you.
Ephesians 2:10 says that before the creation of the world he had good works planned for your life that he wanted you to experience and you to be a part of. In other words, God, before the world was created, had a to-do list with your name, big things he wanted to accomplish through you. If you and I will allow our insecurity to drive us away from allowing the freedom that comes from focusing… This is who your truest identity is now and always will be.
Or you can get caught up, like I can, in some of the lies, the labels that can get put on you, labels like, "You are what you make. You are what other people think about you. You are how you look. You are the job you have, the relationship status you have." They're lies. They're labels that won't last, because what is most true about you is what God says about you. It was for Gideon and it is for you.
2._ Confidence from anything temporary is temporary. It's very simple on its face, but think about the things Gideon was looking for confidence in. Two of the things he looked for confidence in, like, "This is when I know I'm going to be confident. This would make me feel a little bit more secure about myself…" There were two arenas. One of them was _signs. "If God is really going to work, then I have to have a sign." We're told in this story four different times that he looked for a sign. That's the problem with signs. They don't last.
A little bit of time goes by and you're like, "Man, was that really God talking to me?" This is a free public service announcement. Working with young adults, there are a lot of times when people come down and are like, "I wasn't sure if I should date her, and then I was in the car. I was driving. I was like, 'God, if you want me to date her, make the next four lights green,' and then I knew. They were all four green. I slowed down a little bit, but they were all four green." It's like, "You're thinking like a Looney Tune. That's crazy."
Anything that does not align with God's Word, you should be cautious about whether or not… "Hey, and then God showed me, because I was like, 'If the lights are yellow' or 'If I go outside and there's bird poop on my car, I know it's you.'" (That's a random example. I don't know where that came from.) Anytime someone says, "I just feel like God told me," and the next words out of their mouth are anything that doesn't come from the Bible, you should be cautious.
"Hey, God told me." How did he tell you? Maybe he did. I'm not saying he didn't. I'm just saying you should proceed with caution, because there are a lot of things God has told you, and if any of the things God has told you don't align with God's Word or counsel from God's people around you, you should be concerned and be cautious. He looked for confidence in signs, and they didn't last. He needed one after the next after the next. Any confidence that comes from something temporary is always going to be temporary.
The other arena he looked for confidence in was comparison. Dude, this is convicting, or it was for me. Here's what I mean. Here's why it was convicting. He looked around and was like, "Hey, here's how I would feel more confident, God: if I was more impressive, if I was from a better family, if I didn't have this baggage in my past, if I was from a stronger tribe." Remember that in the verse, where he said, "How can you use me? I'm from the weakest clan in the weakest family, and you're going to use me?"
Built into his idea was, "If I was from something impressive, if I was from a great family, if I was more physically impressive, then, God, you could use me. Then I would be confident." Confidence from comparison will never last. Think about the ways our confidence is impacted, has been impacted, is being impacted by comparison. Think about how much self-confidence we don't have or maybe we do have because of comparison.
We have made it easier than ever to compare our lives to one another. Think about that. I wonder how that's robbing us of being comfortable with who we are, focused on what God has around us, focused on doing God's will around us, focused on loving people versus just seeking to make them love us. We've made it easier than ever. We have apps. One of the primary things certain apps and social media even do is they kind of give us our daily dose of discontentment, to quote a girl on our team.
They give us that chance for comparison. I can go on and compare to everyone else's life all over the place, every friend I have. I can compare to what they're doing. There used to be a day where when I had lunch I would just look at my lunch and maybe people's lunches around me. Now I go online, and everyone is posting about what they're eating. Can we talk about this for a second? This is weird.
When was it ever normal in all of human history to be like, "I need to tell everyone I'm having a burrito. Everyone everywhere needs to know where I am"? But it's just a part of who we are. We compare everything. I know what's going on in everybody's life. I can look, and there's always somebody with a nicer car. "I can't believe they're on vacation again. Do they even have a job?" It's just easy to compare and be like, "Man, I'm pathetic. They always look amazing. Where are they even buying this stuff?"
There are notifications. I'm getting notifications from people sending me their workout information. Will you quit sending me your workout? On the Apple Watch, it's like, "Oh yeah, they worked out today. Great. Is that a reminder? Ouch. I get it. I don't have time. We have kids. Leave me alone." It's easier than ever is my point.
The only way I really can think of… There are probably several other ones, so don't email me. This may be one of the few areas where we have it harder than older generations. In every other way… Your grandparents had to walk through snow. There were no shoes. The Great Depression and all that stuff, but they didn't have to deal… Which is worse, much worse. Let's all acknowledge…much worse, but they were not confronted with so many of the things you're bombarded with every single day.
If you are not careful, you will do what we're all tempted to do every time, which is compare our lives. Based on how I stack up to the clan or the people in my family, like Gideon, will determine how I stack up in life, who I am, how valuable I am, how excited or how much joy I can have. My mood will go up and down based on how I stack up.
We were talking about it today. The only reason I want another house is because I see and compare to other people around. If my house was transplanted to the East Congo, Africa, I'd be like, "Dude, I am living large here." But when you're surrounded and able to compare constantly, you're able to all of a sudden be like, "Man, I've got nothing. I don't have enough, never have enough."
If you are not careful, you will put your confidence in things that are temporary, and it will always be a temporary dose of confidence that will not last. You will draw from a well that will always leave you wanting, always leave you in need. If you find your confidence in how you look, you will constantly be insecure, no matter how pretty you are. Some of the most beautiful people in our society are the most insecure. If you know anyone in the modeling industry, they will confirm that.
If you put your confidence in a dating relationship, you're going to move from one dysfunctional relationship to the next to the next, because here's what's more important than you getting healthy or dating someone who is healthy and holy: what's more important is you having a relationship, because it's where you draw your security, your confidence. You don't know what it's like to not have someone around.
You will never heal as a person, you'll never get out of that dysfunctional relationship and heal by pursuing what God wants for you. You'll just go from one to the next to the next, and you will always come up wanting, because any confidence that comes from temporary things will always be temporary. If you look for it in money, if you look for it in number of followers on Instagram, you will never have enough. The God who's there is saying, "I don't want you to look…"
The goal of this message is not for you to have more self-confidence. In other words, it's not like, "Hey, guys, you need to just be you. You look great today. Look in that mirror and be like, 'I'm a million bucks.'" That's not the goal. That will never last. The goal is not for you to have self-confidence; it's for you to find a source of confidence outside of yourself, for you to find a source of confidence that comes from God and from God alone. He's the only well that will never run dry. That is the goal.
In other words, it's not about how much confidence you have; it's about what has you confident. Is it how you look? Is it something temporary or is it the fact that there's a God who knows your name who's moving the pieces? He's sovereign over your life. He's in control of all things. He's working everything for your good. He made you just as you are. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. You can trust him. You can trust his way. Is that where you find your confidence or is it in your car? Is it in how much you make, how much is in your bank account?
Anything temporary will always be temporary and will always leave you wanting. In my front yard, we have a natural spring underneath our house. It's really bizarre. It leads to one interesting thing. I may have the only yard on the block that we're never going to have a problem of the grass being watered. If anything, the problem is too much. There's constant water. There's a spring of water underneath our house, so it keeps our grass always watered, never thirsty.
The God who's there wants you to experience a life where you are never thirsty. There's a constant spring. You don't have to keep going back and forth and ebb and flow and "How did my day go today?" and "How much money did I make today?" or "What did they think about me today?" or "What relationship did I have today?" but it's constant, it's fixed, because it doesn't come from self; it comes from him.
Have you ever met someone who has that type of confidence? It's startling, isn't it? They're comfortable in who they are. They're content. They have this God confidence, and it makes them content. They have peace. When things go crazy, they know who God made them, and it's like they're okay with it, because they found a source that is not leaving them wanting, because they are not looking for their confidence to come from something temporary.
If you are looking for your confidence to come from that, you will always be on the roller coaster ride of emotions and never experience the security God wants you to experience that comes from knowing him, walking with and trusting in him.
3._ Confidence in God comes through obedience_. You will grow your confidence, your faith in God by trusting and obeying. Think about how Gideon's confidence in God grew in that moment. He's going up and he's like, "Dude, we had 30,000. God said take it down to 10,000. I'm like, 'Are you serious? You want me to take it down to 10,000?' Now we're down to 300 people." He looks and sees camels as far as the eye can see.
In the moment he has a decision. He can walk up to the line and say, "I'm going to obey God," and he does. Think about how his confidence… "Wow. God's promises are true. I can trust him." Think about how that would have grown. Think about how it would have not had he walked up to the line and been like, "Yeah, I see camels everywhere. We're out on this. Guys, let's all go home. Let's try to get the other 30,000 back."
Think about what he would have forfeited and missed out on. He wouldn't have seen God deliver his people. He wouldn't have been a part of God's plan. He wouldn't have seen all of the incredible, miraculous ways God worked. Think about what he would have missed out on. Here's what's so important for you, for young adults in the room. Most of us don't ever step up to the line like Gideon did in that moment and say, "This is what God is asking me to do. It seems crazy. It seems countercultural. It honestly seems pretty big, God. I'm not sure I want to do that. It seems a little foreign, a little too much."
Most of us walk up to the line, and instead of saying, "Even though it's all of those things, God, I'm willing and I'm going to obey you," most of us walk up to the line and go, "Yeah, I'm not doing that. I'm going home." We walk up to the line and go, "God, you said you want me to save sex for marriage? Are you kidding me? That's so old fashioned. That's so outdated. That's too much to ask, God. Yeah, I'm not doing that."
"You're saying if I'm working a job that doesn't really allow me to be plugged into a church, to be using my gifts to make Jesus more famous, to be in a Community Group and to have other believers in my life to encourage me… You're saying that if I work a job and there are just too many hours I'm working that prohibit or don't allow me to do those things that I should change jobs? Yeah, I'm not doing that…unless the other job has more money. Then I would do it, but I'm not crossing that line."
Most of us walk up to the line and go, "Eh, it's too big of a thing," and we choose not to obey. We forfeit seeing all of the ways God is going to work. Let me be really specific. When you walk up to the line and say, "God, this is how you're telling me I should date? That seems so crazy to me. I can't do that, God. Nobody does that like that. All of the good Christian guys or Christian girls are taken. It doesn't work that way, God. I'm going to do it my own."
You do it your own, and you will forfeit seeing what God could have done, what God would have done, and you will end up with that guy on Tinder you met. You'll have that relationship kind of string along, and you'll break up a couple of times and get back together, and manic highs and manic lows. That's the future you have in store. You will forfeit seeing what God could have done, what God wanted to do.
If you're the person who says, "Look. I'm 32. I'm running out of options here, God. Yes, he's not exactly all in with Jesus, but he comes to church with me, and that feels like a plus. So I'm going to date him, even though your Word says I shouldn't be unequally yoked. People in my life who are Christians are saying, 'Hey, I don't think that guy is good for you.' Even though all of those things are true, I'm going to date him, God, because I don't have that many options. My biological clock is ticking. You're saying that if I follow God I may end up single? Too big. Outie." It's what most of us do.
You forfeit seeing how God would have worked, could have worked, wanted to work, all that he would have done in your life. Just like Gideon, had he walked away from the line, would have forfeited seeing everything God was about to do before him. The God who's there is saying, "I love you. I'm crazy about you. My way is better. Will you trust me or are you going to keep trusting in yourself and your own ways? If you do, your confidence in me will not grow, because the only way it grows is through obedience to me. Whenever you take that step and trust me, you begin to go, 'Wow! That actually worked. God's way really is better.'"
I've been doing this for 10 years. I've never heard the person who was like, "Look. This is my wife. We ended up together. This has been great. You know, the one regret I have is I didn't have enough casual sex in my 20s. That's the one thing I feel like I left on the field." I've never heard it. I've never heard the person who said, "I went all in with Jesus…" By that I don't mean just anybody. I mean somebody who stands before you and goes, "My life is filled with purpose and joy. I'm following Jesus. I'm all in." That couple. You never hear them say that.
I've never heard the person who said, "Man, I went all in with Jesus, and it was terrible." Not that it wasn't hard. Not that there weren't challenges that came in life, but they began to experience purpose and peace, contentment, even confidence, being comfortable in their own skin. That's what the God who's there wants you to experience. He wants you to put your confidence in him, but your confidence in him will only grow through obedience.
Every day, you have the choice, "Am I going to choose to grow in that confidence by being obedient or not and forfeit what God could have done, would have done?" It's really easy, especially in Dallas, to say, "God, I trust you" with our words and not with our actions. "I'm not actually going to follow it up. I say I believe you, but I'm not actually going to act on those things I say I believe."
There was a guy in the 1860s, and his name was Blondin. He was a famous tightrope walker in France, and then he came over to America. This dude did mind-blowing feats. He particularly was well known and famous for being the first person to ever tightrope Niagara Falls. It was over a quarter mile across, 160 feet up in the air, and he tightroped across. There's a newspaper article from him tightroping across Niagara Falls in the 1860s.
He got so good at this crowds would come out, and they'd see him walk on the tightrope across Niagara Falls. That's certain death if you fall. He got so good that at one point he decided, "I'm going to do this blindfolded." He walked across blindfolded. The Great Blondin. Then he was like, "I need another challenge." He took stilts out and he got stilts on and walked across the tightrope on stilts.
At one point, he decided, "Here's my next feat." He goes to the middle of the tightrope, walks halfway through. He brought a cooker and a skillet with him. He cooked an omelet and ate the omelet and then walked across. This dude was unreal. Crowds would show up to see him. At one point, he decided to get out a wheelbarrow. He got the wheelbarrow. He began filling it with these bags of potato sacks. He took this wheelbarrow full of potato sacks and walked across Niagara Falls, and then he walked back.
The crowd is going crazy. They're like, "You're the Great Blondin! Unbelievable!" He looked into the crowd and said, "Who thinks I could take a person across the tightrope with me?" The crowd is like, "We believe in you! You're the Great Blondin. You could do it!" He's like, "Who's willing to get in the wheelbarrow?" Silence…except for one person who stepped forward. He got into the wheelbarrow, and he walked across, and he made it.
There's a sharp difference between the person in the crowd who says, "I believe" and the person who's willing to step out, get into the wheelbarrow, and say, "I believe, and I'm willing to act on it." Inside of the room, there are many of you who are claiming to be Christians. I would say hundreds, if not thousands, yet your actions don't align with the words you're saying. You are not choosing to date in line with God's will. You're not choosing to handle your life, your money, your time.
You would hide behind the fact that you're a good person. Maybe by the world's standards you are a good person. That probably even adds to the problem, because you're like, "Yeah, it's not that big of a deal. Of course we're going to live together. That's just what you do in this life stage. Of course we're going to date this way. It's just what you do. Of course I'm going to live this life or work this job." You claim that Jesus is who he says he is. He's sovereign. He's in control. He's the one who leads to life. His way is good and everyone should follow him, yet you're not.
You're sitting in the crowd, saying, "We believe," but you're not willing to act on it. You are forfeiting seeing what God can do and will do in your life if you will trust him. You'll forfeit being a part of moving across Niagara Falls with your life in ways you never could have even imagined, moving toward the marriage, the future, the man or the woman God has for you, intends for you to be, who finds their security and strength in him, who trusts him.
Others of you, as it relates to this idea of trust, have never had a moment where you trusted that Jesus paid for your sin on the cross. He paid for everything you've ever done. He's the only way you can have eternal life. You've been given a free gift by God if you'll just accept it. "I'm putting all of my hopes, all of my trust, everything I have… If I'm going to have eternal life, if I'm going to heaven when I die, it will only be because Jesus died in my place, he rose from the dead to show the payment cleared, and he was more than enough.
I'm putting my trust not in how good of a person I am but in him and him alone. I'm getting in the wheelbarrow. I can't do it alone. I'm putting all of my trust in him." The reason I know you've never had that moment is when you are asked questions like, "What do you think is going to happen?" or "Do you think that you'll have eternal life?" or "Do you think you would spend eternity in heaven if something happened, Lord willing?" you'll say, "I don't know. I'm still working on my faith. I've done some bad things. I'm just trying to get my life right."
You are trusting in yourself. Do you see that? If you're someone who says, "God should accept me because I'm a pretty good person," you're trusting in yourself. You're not trusting in the only way to have eternal life, the only way to experience the abundant life on this earth. You're trusting in yourself, whether you think you're good enough to have a relationship with God or, honestly, more prevalent, those who think you're too bad for him to right now, in this moment, in the seat you're sitting in, accept you based on nothing you will ever do.
You will not ever be able to earn your way to heaven. No matter how long you go without looking at pornography or without taking a hit, without getting drunk, you will never, ever get there. No matter how many church services you attend to get over that mistake you made, some abuse you were a part of, an abortion in your past, you will never get rid of it. The gap is too great, and you are trusting in yourself. The God who's there says, "I will carry you. I'm the only chance you have. Will you trust in me? I died in your place."
It's not good people in heaven and bad people in hell. It's forgiven people who go to heaven. There's only one way to get forgiveness: accepting it, accepting Jesus died in your place. He died the death you deserved. He lived the life that was impossible you never could have lived as a free gift to make you the righteousness of God. That's what this Bible says. He took your place. You can keep being like, "I just need to get some things straight if I'm going to have that type of certainty." No, you don't. You need to trust in him. Let me pray.
Father, thank you that you made him who knew no sin to become sin, Jesus to become like sin so that in him, for anyone who accepts him as Lord and Savior of them, they would become the very righteousness of God. The label that is most true about them is that everything in their past, their present, and their future is paid for, and nothing they face, nothing they've done, nothing they will do can take that away.
I pray tonight, God, you would break the veils that I can't break, that no words could break, no songs could break, and you would allow people to believe that for the very first time, and for the rest of their life they would walk in that truth and trust, not just in our words but in our actions, God. Would you make us a people whose confidence in you is great because our obedience to you is great and we see your way is better and leads to life and we wouldn't forfeit, God?
I pray right now, specifically, for friends in the room…I don't know how many this represents…who are in really dysfunctional relationships right now, and they're afraid to break up, but others around them… Candidly, your Word has said, "This is not a healthy relationship." It would call them to do that, but they're afraid; that you would move them to act, God, and they wouldn't forfeit what you have for them. They wouldn't forfeit what could be for them.
So in that way and a thousand other ways that when we choose to go our own way we forfeit seeing you move, God, would you help us? Strengthen us. Thank you that you are a God who has defeated far more than an army of 120,000, but all sin everywhere with everyone has been paid for. We worship you in song, amen.