I was recently reading some interesting thoughts by Dr. Richard Swenson, who is a futurist, a physician researcher, and a very fine author. He believes something is terribly wrong in our land. He calls it a psychic instability in people’s lives that prevents peace from implanting itself very firmly in the human heart.
Swenson observes that people are frazzled, anxious, and depressed. He says, “this instability is not the same old nemesis recast in a modern role.” Something has changed. As people look at the future, there is a fear that grips their heart, and they do not know how to be delivered from it.
Dr. Tim Keller believed that this fear that seems to be so debilitating is because we have drifted away from our spiritual foundation. He said the beginning of fear is when we conclude we don’t need God, because we think we can live a better life without Him. When we do this we throw the door open for fear to infiltrate our lives. The reason is because as we move away from God, we begin to experience a real sense of our own finiteness here on earth. Without realizing it, we are trying to take on a position in the universe that is too big for us to handle. As this begins to happen, we develop a real sense of insecurity and fear begins to creep into our lives.
To understand this sense of insecurity, we need to understand what true security is and where it is found. I love this definition of security, “It is when you build your life on that which cannot be taken away from you.” Conversely, insecurity is when you build your life on something that can be taken away from you. And that is our problem.
The key phrase is, “Build your life upon.” We should all ask ourselves, what have I built my life upon? If it is something that can be taken away from you, then fear will consistently be present in your life.
Augustine said your fears tell you a lot about yourself. He says, “You can always follow your worries to that which you have built your life around.
The highly regarded therapist Rollo May, who was not a Christian said, “Anxiety comes when something that you have put your real security in, something that made you feel in control, something that made you feel like you had an identity – is threatened or implodes.”
Stephen Covey, in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People nails it when he says, we all have a personal center, and whatever is at the center of your life is the source of your security.
The great question of life; is there an ultimate security, a true foundation that we can build our lives on and which will not be taken away from us? The Bible’s answer is yes. Christ should be our personal center. He desires for us to walk with Him through life where He guides us, gives us wisdom, and becomes our ultimate security.
A simple way for us to understand this is to see and understand our position in life. God uses great metaphors to help us understand ourselves and our great need for Him.
We are told in the Bible that we as human beings are like sheep. It is the only animal that God compares us to. Sheep are not smart. They will follow one another off of a cliff or into a ditch. They are easily subject to prey of wild animals or thieves. They are helpless, and God says we are just like sheep.
For sheep to live, they must have a shepherd. A good shepherd leads, protects, guides, and feeds the sheep. This is the role of the shepherd. However, the shepherd can only fulfill his role if the sheep stay close to the Him. When sheep encounter a wild animal or any type of danger, they can rest in the shepherd’s care. However when they go their own way and wander off from the shepherd’s care, it is hard for them to rely upon him when a crisis comes along.
All of us are like sheep and Jesus is the good shepherd. If we have never been close to Him or have drifted away from Him, He invites us to come to Him, to draw near. The Apostle Peter describes it like this:
“For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25)