Security in Christ as the Cure for Insecurity Part 2
In the first part of this series, we looked at some of the ways that security in Christ can cure our feelings of insecurity. In this second part, we consider how security in Christ leads to a magnanimous spirit.
Saved, Secure, and Satisfied in All Situations
To experience true security and lay our insecurities to rest, our individualistic attitudes need to be put to death. Celebrity culture has taught us to long for the fame, and therefore the status, that celebrities possess in the 21st century. Rather than turning from a love of money, we have been taught by the world to lust for the biggest and best things this world has to offer. Rather than being content with what the Lord has graciously given us, we have been taught to constantly want more and more. Enough is never really enough in the 21st century. The goal is not merely to “keep up with Joneses.” Now, the goal is to surpass everyone, everywhere, so that there is no equal. And rather than being content in the security we have in Christ, we are taught to anxiously worry that, one day, all we have will be taken from us when someone better comes along.
Scripture teaches instead that, in Christ, we are secure and have all we need. For the Christian, success is not having the most amount of stuff, the most followers, likes, or retweets, or the most influence. Christian success isn’t even being the best. Success for the Christian is simply being faithful to what the Lord has commanded within his Word. The one who faithfully follows Jesus wherever he leads is successful, even if it doesn’t tangibly look like what the world has taught us to expect. And, since we are utterly, completely, and totally secure in Christ, we never need to be insecure when we see the tangible and measurable success of others. This means we can look at the faithful ministry of the rural church pastor, with less than twenty members in his congregation, with as much joy and applause as we look upon the biblically Reformed church with thousands of members. We can look at our own lives lived faithfully as successful, too, and find great joy in them.
Security as the cure for insecurity helps church leaders to lead their congregations faithfully and lovingly. Security leads older Christians to faithfully disciple those who are younger. Security also leads all Christians to form genuine bonds of friendship with others, where they actively work to see their friends succeed. This is because security in Christ teaches the Christian to behave magnanimously towards those around him—that is to say, we become men and women of noble character. Security teaches us to be kind, humble, and forgiving. Instead of building ourselves up in pride, we begin to recognize that every Christian around us has value to bring to the Body of Christ, and their flourishing is our flourishing as well.
Security in Christ as the Basis for Magnanimity
Insecurity unchecked leads to jealousy, jealousy leads to discontentment, discontentment leads to fear, fear leads to anger, anger leads to rashness and abrasiveness, and there is simply no telling what measures an insecure, jealous, and discontent individual will take to keep others around them from succeeding. Some, in an insecure and misguided attempt to succeed, have totally sabotaged their friends, their plans, and their dreams to just try and get ahead of them. But such behavior simply must not be named amongst followers of Christ. We are to be magnanimous.
Security and magnanimity in Christ mean that we ought to, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29). It means that, as we build others up and faithfully follow Christ, we aim to bring our friends with us into whatever tangible success we encounter. Many insecure men and women have discovered that it is truly lonely at the top when they crushed everyone else to get there. But the secure Christian never deals with loneliness, for they have surrounded themselves with friends and have sought their best as well as their own.
Genuine friendship, such as modeled by Christ in the Gospels and then later by the Apostles, is extremely costly. It is based on love. It acts charitably not because a debt is owed but because it is totally free to do so.
Biblically, we ought to treat our leadership, discipleship, and friendship like that of David and Jonathan. Jonathan, as Saul’s son, should have been next in line to rule Israel, but David was anointed as the next king. Jonathan, by all human standards, ought to have hated David for the sake of his father, and David should have never trusted Jonathan by those same standards. Yet, by befriending David, Jonathan laid aside his own hubris and contented himself with God’s divine plans. If God ordained that David was to rule and reign as king, then Jonathan would support his friend. And though the friendship offered nothing of great value to David, yet he remained a close friend of Jonathan.
Even after Jonathan was killed, David sought out one of his decedents to show mercy to. He discovered Mephibosheth, who was crippled. Here again was another man who David would gain nothing from; yet, he befriended the man and said, in 2 Samuel 9:7, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”
This is an example of magnanimity at its finest and the secure Christian is a magnanimous Christian. The magnanimous Christian humbly recognizes that they are at their best, and are most valuable to the Kingdom of God, when others are succeeding as well. Thus, in the knowledge that they are saved and secure in Christ, they are in a continual state of secure satisfaction, seeking the best for others, and rejoicing when others do their best for the glory of God.
Jacob Tanner is pastor of Christ Keystone Church, a Reformed Baptist church plant in Central Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife and two sons. He is the author of Union with Christ: The Joy of the Christian’s Assurance in the Doctrines of Grace.