In this message, we learn that when you know who you are, you don’t want to be anyone else.
Hey friends. If you’ve got your Bibles, Jeremiah Chapter 1, Matthew Chapter 3. Jeremiah 1, Matthew Chapter 3. I want to make a motion. I think we should get an extra hour of sleep every weekend. Anybody want to second that motion? Man, it was nice. I think I slept so much. I’m more tired from sleeping more than not sleeping a lot. So Jeremiah 1, Matthew Chapter 3, we’re in the series called InSecurity. We’re talking about finding security in an insecure world. And we said last week that we don’t want to live with insecurity, we want to live in security. And we want to be people who live in security. It doesn’t matter who you are. We all struggle with insecurity in some way, shape, or form.
Whether it’s our jobs, our looks, our relationships with God, whatever it may be and we said that all insecurities are bonded, just like God wants to break off of our lives. And I think He started breaking some bondages last week and we’re going to continue on and let him keep breaking bondages and setting us free. And we said last week that salvation is the foundation of security, that Jesus is the cornerstone, the rock with which we build our lives upon. He makes us whole. And when we’re in Him, we are secure. And I kind of want to just pick up where we left off last week.
So Jeremiah Chapter 1. When God’s coming to Jeremiah, He’s calling him to be a prophet. Pick it up with me in Verse 4. It says, “The world of the Lord came to me saying, before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Ah, sovereign Lord, I said I do not know how to speak. I am only a child. But the Lord said to me, “Do not say I am only a child. You must go to everyone I send you and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
God comes to Jeremiah and he calls him to be a prophet. And I love the thing that He tells him at the end. He says “Jeremiah, you’re going to go out. You’re going to tear down and you’re going to build up.” And not only was that a prophetic word for Jeremiah. That was a prophetic word for Jesus. See, when Jesus showed up on the scene, it says that He came to destroy the works of the devil and release the Kingdom of God. In other words, to tear down and to build up, which means that then that’s a prophetic word for you and me. You see Jesus says “As the father sent me, so now I send you.”
So you are sent by Jesus to destroy the works of the devil and release the Kingdom of God, to tear down and to build up. That’s the assignment of the church. We get to destroy the works of the devil and release the kingdom of God. That’s a pretty good assignment, don’t you think?
And so God says to Jeremiah, He says “Jeremiah, I have called you to be a prophet. You’re going to go and you’re going to tell the people what I want you to tell to them.” And when God says that to Jeremiah, Jeremiah does whatever every other person in the Bible does. Jeremiah does exactly what you and I do and God calls us and tells us to do some of these. “Oh God, not me. Not me, God.” He does the insecure speech, right? Like “Not me. Maybe the guy down the road. Maybe my friend. Maybe that person over there. But not me, God. I mean I am only a child. There’s no way. You got the wrong guy here.”
And God looks at Jeremiah and says, “Do not say that you are only a child.” Listen. Can I tell you something? When God calls you a prophet, don’t call yourself a child. When God calls you a prophet, don’t call yourself a child. When God tells you who you are, don’t tell Him who you’re not. If God says you’re beloved, don’t say I’m unlovable. If God says you are righteous in Jesus, don’t call yourself a sinner. If God says you’re victorious, don’t tell Him you’re defeated. If God says you’re a minister of the gospel, don’t say you belong on the sidelines. When God tells you who you are, don’t tell Him who you’re not. If He says you’re a prophet, don’t call yourself a child.
Look at Verse 5. It says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Think about that for a second. He says “I formed. I knew. I set you. I appointed you.” Listen. The world tells you, you come from an amoeba or a monkey. No wonder we have identity problems. If you believe you come from an amoeba and a monkey, how are you not going to have an identity issue? God says to you “I formed you. I knew you. I set you. I appointed you.”
Psalm 1:39, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” You are not defined by your struggle. You are not who the world says you are. You are not even who you say you are. You are who God says you are because only God has the authority to define your identity. That’s where your security comes from. It’s from who God says you are. And when you know who you are, you don’t want to be anybody else.
It’s amazing to me how kids get this. Like my little girl. I was driving her to school a couple weeks ago. She’s five years old. And as we were driving to school, she was in the back and she had her doll with her. And as we arrived and I said oh baby. I have your doll with you today. What’s her name? And she looked at me and she said “Her name is Isabelle, daddy.” And I looked right back at her. I said oh, I’m so glad you’re bringing Samantha to school. And she kind of looked back at me and I was just kind of being sarcastic with her. She said “No, daddy. Her name is Isabelle.” I said oh baby, Samantha’s hair is so pretty.
You did such a good job bradding it. “No, daddy. Her name is not Samantha. Her name is Isabelle.” I said and what are you and Samantha going to do after school today? Are you going to play? “Daddy, her name is not Samantha. It’s Isabelle.” And I said are you going to take her into your class today and are you and Samantha going to sit at your desk and drop – and as she finally got it, she said “Daddy, her name is not Samantha. She is my doll. She belongs to me. I get to say what her name is and her name is Isabelle.” Aha. She’s mine. She belongs to me. I get to say what her name is. You are His. You belong to Him. And only He gets to say what your name is. Only He gets to define you.
When God calls you a prophet, no one can tell you you’re not. Not even you. And God does something amazing. He reaches out and He gently touches Jeremiah’s mouth. He gently touches Jeremiah’s mouth and He says “See, Jeremiah. I’m putting my words into your mouth.” In other words, He gently touches him to empower him for his assignment. He gently touches him to equip Jeremiah to run his race. You see he’s graced for his race in this moment, to be who God has called him to be. See the word Grace not only means undeserved favor, forgiveness of our sins. It also means supernatural empowerment. That we have this undeserved favor upon our lives. Where we also have this supernatural empowerment to be who God has called us to be. Jeremiah is graced for his race in this moment. And the same is true for you. Ephesians 2:8 and 9, “For you have been saved by grace through faith.”
This is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not by works, so that no man can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do.” You have been saved by grace through faith. Grace. Underserved favor, but you also got a supernatural empowerment. For what? To be God’s workmanship. To do the good works which He prepared in advance for you to do. In other words, He’s graced you for your race. There’s a race that you need to run, a person He has called you to be and He’s given you the supernatural empowerment to be that person. God defines us and empowers us by the cross of Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:3. “His divine power has given you everything you need for life and Godliness.” You’ve been graced to be who God has called you to be. There’s this theme all over the bible. It talks about running your race. Hebrews 12:1. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that’s so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Do you understand? There is a race that’s been marked out for you. An identity, an assignment, a calling in this life. That God had said “This is your race,” and He’s graced you for that race. And so when He says “Let us throw off everything that hinders,” what hinders us from running our race?
I would bet comparison more than anything else talking about security keeps us from running our race. Like does anybody struggle with comparison? All right. We said last week that honesty is the beginning of freedom. So it’s okay to be honest. Comparison. Comparison steals. Comparison is the thief of joy. Comparison destroys destiny. In fact all insecurity or all comparison is insecurity revealed. Every time you compare yourself to somebody else, it’s insecurity revealed in your heart and your life. It’s an opportunity for you to receive His love.
I mean do you ever watch a bunch of runners running a race, like maybe in the Olympics and they all get down and they all have their lane and they’re at the starting block. And the gun goes off and they all have this lane and they start running. And they’re supposed to stay in their lane and then this guy is running. He’s running in his lane as fast as he can go. All of a sudden the guy in the left of him starts catching up and the guy in the right starts passing. When he starts looking at this guy, he starts looking to that guy, what’s happening in the lanes around him and what does he do, he drifts and he goes over here. And he hits this guy and they tangle up and fall down and do you ever see runners fall? They’re a bunch of babies, man. They’re like snugging and crying, limping to the finish line.
Like “Oh, my race is over.” And what does this guy want to say to that guy? It was like “Stay in your lane, dude. Like stay in your lane. I am in my lane. You stay in your lane. Can I tell you something? Stay in your lane.” You have been graced to run your race in your lane. You don’t have the grace for this lane. You don’t have the grace for that lane. You have the grace for this lane.
And you will always feel insecure in this life if you’re trying to run in somebody else’s lane. Or if you are trying to make your lane look like their lane. You can’t look like them, be like them, do what they’re doing. You have the grace for this race, for this lane. Which means you have the grace for your marriage, not somebody else’s. Some of you, you have the grace to race a special needs child. No one has that. You have the grace for your assignment that God has called you to do. You have the grace for the calling God has placed on your life, not someone else’s calling. You have the grace to run your race in your lane.
Oh, back to my little girl. She makes a message a couple of times today. So she loves it when those days happen. She was in another room and she was singing and our little, she’s our worshipper. Parents, just so you know, whatever music you’re playing in your life, in your house, in your car, it gets in your kid’s hearts and then defines them and they sing it. And so my little girl, she’s a worshipper. She’s always singing worship music because that’s what she hears. Now I love hearing her worship but I heard her singing and it sounded really different than it normally did. So I kind of went in the room to hear what was going on. And she’s in the room and she’s just singing to herself “I wish I had her life. I would be so free. I wish I had her life. I would be so free.”
It sounded much better than that. I just need you to get the jest, okay. Insecurity exposed right there, having to sing to you. But that’s what she’s singing. And I looked at her and I said “Emma, what are you singing?” She said “Nothing, daddy. Nothing.” Then I said “No, no. What were you singing?” “Nothing, daddy.”
And I kind of did piece it all together and so I was like okay, whatever. Well, a few days later I hear her in a room. “I wish I had her life. I would be so free. I wish I had her life. I would be so free.” And this time I go and I said “Emma. What are you singing?” “Nothing, daddy. Nothing, daddy.” “No, no, Emma. What are you singing? Where did you hear that from?” She looked at me and she goes “From the new Barbie movie that mom bought me.” I said what? She said “Yeah, that’s the song in the movie. I wish I had her life. I would be so free.” And I said “What’s the movie about?” And she said “It’s about this girl that wants someone else’s life and then she’d be free.” And I thought #parentingfailed, big time. Big time.
And so we had to have this little conversation about no, that’s not where freedom comes from and give me that DVD. You know, with that thing, you’re going to be singing that in the house no more. And I thought about it later. I thought that’s the theme song of our hearts. I wish I had her life. I’d be so free. I wish I had his life. I’d be so free. I wish I had their marriage. I wish I had their job. I wish I had their son or their kids or their friends. I wish I had their life. I’d be so free. Why do we think that in our hearts? Because we don’t know who we are. And when you know who you are, you don’t want to be anybody else. But if you don’t know who you are, you want to be everyone else.
And that’s how we live. And so this comparison, it moves us to this dark side called judgment, like I’m going to judge you to make me feel better about myself. Like did you see what she was wearing? Can you believe what’s happening in their life? Did you hear about their marriage? Did you hear he lost his job.” As if somehow tearing you down is going to make me feel better about myself. And the sad part about judgment is that as if I’m judging you, it means I’m really judging myself and my own heart because the measure you use judgment it’s used against back you.
It means that’s how you’re actually thinking that way about yourself. So it’s coming out towards other people. And all judgment comes from an insecure heart because secure people have no need to judge, because they know who they are and they like who God has made them to be.
John 13:34, Jesus says, “A new command I give you. Compare yourselves to one another, as I have compared myself to you so you must compare yourself to others. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples.” It’s what He says, isn’t it? Some of you are like, “That’s a good verse. Write that one down. I just got freedom to do that. Jesus says it’s okay.” No. It’s not what He says. He says “A new command I give you, love one another as I have loved you. So you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples.”
Listen, insecure people compare themselves to those around them. Secure people love those around them. And it’s really easy to help somebody when they fall but can you celebrate somebody when they succeed? Hey. It’s easy if I’m running in my lane and you’re behind me and you fall down. I can go back and help you get to the finish line. That’s okay. Can I celebrate you when you made it pass me? Can I celebrate you when you have a victory in your life, when you get a promotion, when you look amazing?
Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” Can you rejoice with people when God gives victories and blessings and promotions in their life?
I mean I remember one time hearing this interview with Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple. And they were talking about the beginning of the days of Apple and the interviewer looks at Steve Jobs and he said “Man, when you guys were getting started, Microsoft had the corner on the market. How did you compare and then compete with Microsoft?” And Steve Jobs kind of looked confused at the guy. And he looked right back at him and I thought it was genius. He looked back at him and he said “I realized a long time ago that for us to succeed, they don’t need to fail.” For us to succeed, they don’t need to fail.
And I thought that’s genius. He figured out that their lane has nothing to do with his lane.
What would it be like if us as Christians live that way? Like for me to succeed, you don’t have to fail. Because why? Because you’re not running my race and I’m not running your race and we’re not in competition with each other. We’re not judging or comparing each other. Man I’m running my race and I’ve been graced for it and be who God has called me to be. So I can actually celebrate you when you are succeeding because your race is independent and irrelevant of my race because I’ve been graced for this one and you’ve been graced for that one.
Whoa, how different would the church be if we even engage with each other like that? But not only our race is independent of each other in the sense of we’re not competing with each other. When the other person succeeds, you are actually blessed because we’re all part of the body of Christ. And when one part of the body is built up, the whole body is built up. So you should actually want them to celebrate and succeed because it blesses you. I mean think of Peter and John, Peter and John. In John 21, right? It’s resurrected Jesus. He’s shown up on the beach to restore Peter who has failed Jesus miserably.
And He takes Peter for a little walk and they go down the beach and it’s just Jesus and Peter and Jesus tells Peter. He says “Peter, when you’re older, people are going to dress you and take you to a place that you do not want to go.” In other words He was talking about a death, a martyrdom that Peter was going to have to suffer. And as Jesus tells Peter that, Peter stops.
And I love what he does. He looks down the beach to where John is and he points to John. He says “But what about him, Lord? What about him? Like You’re saying that to me. That’s fine, Lord. But what about him? He’s going to have to do that too, right Lord? Like man, John needs to be in on this deal too. I mean come on, Jesus. What about him?” And I loved that Jesus looks right back at him. He says “What is that to you, Peter? You follow me.” I think we spend a lot of our lives saying what about them, Lord? What about them? Why do they get blessed and why did they succeed and why did You give them a promotion and why aren’t You asking them to do what You’re asking me to do?
What about them, Lord? And Jesus looks right back at you and He says, “What is that to you? You follow me. You run your race.” In fact, freedom is following Jesus in your lane. It’s what freedom is. It’s following Jesus in your lane. The theme song of our heart should not be I wish I had her life, I would be so free. It should be I am so grateful for my life, in Jesus I am so free. That should be the theme song.
That was a halfhearted excitement but that’s okay. 2 Corinthians 10:12 tells us this. It says “When we compare ourselves to each other, we’re unwise.” Listen to me. I will never become secure by look at you. I will never become secure by looking at you. In fact looking at you will make me insecure. It will make me joyless and I will become judgmental and trip and fall on my race. I got to run my race. Hebrews 12:1 and 2, “Let us throw off everything that hinders, the sin that so easily entangles. Let us run with perseverance, the race marked out for us, and let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author.” The author. I got to run my race and look to him and let him tell me who I am because when Jesus tells you who you are, you don’t want to be anyone else. Our problem is that we don’t know who He says we are.
See, security is an identity issue. It’s not about circumstances. In fact, if you’re not secure in the pasture, you’ll never be secure in the palace. If you’re not secure in the pasture, you’ll never be secure in the palace. Think of King David, right? He wasn’t always King David. He was a little shepherd boy. And he was so secure in the pasture that when Samuel comes to anoint the new king of Israel and his dad brings all the seven other brothers in to be considered, he didn’t even invite David in. We’re talking about the rejection of man. And yet David was so secure in the pasture that he was okay.
He wasn’t defeated by the rejection of man which means that when he got to the palace, he was just as secure and he wasn’t seduced by the praise of men, because he was secure. He knew he wasn’t a shepherd or a king. He knew his identity was a man after God’s own heart. That he wasn’t defined by where he was or what he did. He was defined by who God says he was.
Listen to me. If you’re not secure single, you’re never going to be secure being married. If you’re not secure in the entry level position, you wouldn’t be secure as the CEO. If you’re not secure of serving in the ministry, you won’t be secure leading in ministry. In fact if you’re not secure with what you have and you think if I could just have something else I’d be secure, no. It will make you even more secure than you already are. Because you’re placing even more mistrust into the wrong things. Security is about a posture of the heart, not a position in this world. Do you know who He says you are? Because when you know who you are, you don’t want to be anybody else. Are you with me so far?
Okay. Flip over to Matthew Chapter 3 real quick. Matthew Chapter 3. I know we’re doing a little of heart surgery. I hope you’re letting Him get in there and pull some stuff out. Matthew Chapter 3. I want to show you this all what Jesus’ life, real quick. Matthew 3, I think this is probably some of the most profound verses in all of the New Testament. We don’t have time to totally get into it. But Jesus comes to be baptized by John the Baptist. Verse 16 says, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment Heaven opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said This is my Son, whom I love. With him I am well pleased.” Jesus gets baptized and the Father declares from Heaven Jesus’ identity. This is my beloved Son and whom I am well pleased.
And what I want you to see in this moment is even Jesus doesn’t declare His own identity. He didn’t show up on the scene and say “Hey. Son of God. You showed up.” He didn’t declare His own identity. John the Baptist doesn’t declare his identity. “Hey guys, Son of God, He just arrived.” No, no. The Father declares His identity because only the Father has the authority to declare your identity. Says, “This is my beloved Son and whom I am well pleased.” And what I want you to see in this moment is the Father is well pleased in Jesus before He’s done anything.
This is the beginning of His ministry. He hadn’t done anything yet. He didn’t heal any sick people. He didn’t raise anybody from the dead. He didn’t cure any leprosy. He didn’t open any blind eyes. He didn’t preached about the kingdom. He didn’t destroyed the works of the devil. And yet the Father says, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” That means when you’re in Jesus, the Father is well pleased in you before you do anything, anything.
1 John 4:17, “As He is, so we are.” If the Father is pleased, then Jesus. Before Jesus does anything and I’m now in Jesus by faith, then the father is pleased in me before I do anything. You see, this moment, this declaration of his identity, this is the source of Jesus’ security. He knew who he was so he didn’t want to be anybody else. Does it sound familiar to Jeremiah Chapter 1? God speaks. He declares identity and then He equips or empowers, gives grace for the race? He gives Jesus the grace he needs for the race through water baptism and being filled with the Holy Spirit of the living God.
Do you understand one of the ways God equips you for your race? He gives you grace for your race as water baptism in the Holy Spirit? In fact, if you haven’t yet been water baptized and you’re saying “I’m a follower of Jesus.” Man, you need that for the empowerment of your race. Water baptism is about identifying with the death burial and resurrection of Jesus and saying my old nature is cut away, my sin is gone, my past and my shame. Chase me into the water. I go down and in and rise to a new identity in Him.
Listen, the world wants to constantly, publically declare who you are. You need to publically declare who He says that you are. That’s what water baptism is, to identify with Jesus. And in the Bible it’s always after salvation which means it’s your decision, not your parents. It’s always full emersion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. And it’s always an immediate response. It’s not when grandma is in town to take a picture, okay? We’ll take a picture for you. You can send it to grandma. She’ll be excited about that.
And in two weeks we are doing water baptism. So if that’s you, that’s your next step on your journey with Jesus. You need to sign up for the class. Get set up. You need that grace for your race. Water baptism and then being filled with the Holy Spirit. If Jesus needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit for his race, I think you and I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit for our race. Spirit comes in you at the point of salvation when you belief, but then you invite the Spirit to continually fill and flood your life.
And so what I love about this moment is this declaration of His identity is the source of Jesus’ security. Like think about the gospels. The world was always trying to define Jesus. They wanted to define Him. The called Him Beelzebub. They called Him the prince of demons. They called Him the deceiver. They called Him crazy. They said He was raving mad. They always wanted to define Jesus and yet Jesus never defends himself. He doesn’t justify himself. He doesn’t validate himself. Listen. I’m just saying. You call me Beelzebub, we’re going to have some words.
I’m going to tell you. I’m not Beelzebub. No. This is who I am. I’m going to tell you who I am. Not Jesus. Why? Because when the Father tells you you’re a beloved son, no one can tell you you’re not. Secure people have no need to defend themselves because they know who they are. And they don’t really care what you have to say.
See, what I love about Jesus, is He lived His life through the initiation of the Father, not the response of the people. It was always about the initiation of the Father. I’m going to go where the Father tells me to go. Say what the Father tells me to say. Do what the Father tells me to do. It was the initiation of the Father. Jesus says, “I don’t do anything that the Father doesn’t tell me to do.” He didn’t live by the response of the people. He wasn’t worried about the people’s demands, expectations, winning their approval, getting their praise.
He was free from that. And if we’re honest, we reverse that. We live by the response of the people, not the initiation of the Father. We live by how people are responding their needs, their expectations, their demands. I got to get their approval. I got to win their praise. That’s how we live our lives which is an incredibly insecure and an incredibly in bondage way of living.
And so because Jesus lives from the initiation of the Father, he’s free to love without expectations of anything in return. Like if you read the gospels, Jesus could literally walk into a room and He was there to love without any expectations of anything. And if you received Him or rejected Him, when it was over, He left and He was the same way He was when He came in. Why? Because He knew who He was. He knew He was a beloved son and it didn’t matter if you received Him or rejected Him. It didn’t change His identity. If Jesus walks in this room today and you can receive Him or reject Him. And when it’s over, He still leaves as the beloved Son of God. Because what you say about Him doesn’t determine who He is. Doesn’t change His security.
I mean think about it. Mark Chapter 1. It’s a great day of ministry. Jesus is doing all these miracles. He’s healing people, demons are flying out, lepers are being cured, the works of the devil are being destroyed. It’s a phenomenal like one of those incredible moments of ministry where the Kingdom of God shows up empowering. And night shows up and everybody leaves and the next morning Jesus wakes up and says He goes to a quiet place to pray. The crowd shows back up. They want more of it. And Peter comes to Jesus. “Lord, where are you? Everyone’s looking for you.”
And Jesus looks right back at Peter and says “Hey, Peter. Round up the boys. It’s time to leave. We’re going to the next town.” Peter is like “What? They’re here. They’re ready for more.” You and I, we were going to sit on the throne and we will be like man they are here for me. I have arrived. My security is found in these people. Not Jesus. He didn’t really care that they were being received in that moment. He knew who He was and He lived by the initiation of the Father. So He just moved on.
Now compare that with Mark Chapter 6 when He goes to His own hometown. The people He would think would receive Him the most. And yet He shows up and they look at him. They’re like “Wait a second. Isn’t that Joseph’s boy? Isn’t this Mary’s son? Like we know his sisters and his brothers. Who does this guy think he is?” And Jesus says only in his hometown is a prophet not accepted. And He could not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith and He’s amazed with their lack of faith. And yet He leaves and He’s still okay because He knows who He is. Because His identity and His security is not determined by how other people receive or reject Him. You and I, we show up in our hometown, get rejected like that. We’re going to be like in counseling for the rest of our lives trying to get over it, right? Not Jesus.
Now compare that with His disciples. When He wanted to go to Samaria, He wants to go to Samaria but the Samaritans don’t want Jesus. They reject him. And Jesus is okay with it and He starts to leave but John and the disciples aren’t. And so they literally look at Jesus. “Jesus. You want us to call down fire from heaven and burn up all these guys that don’t want you?” And Jesus looks at them and He’s like what? “We’re not here to condemn the world. We’re here to love the world.” Why did John want to respond that way? Because John was still insecure. He didn’t know who he was. So when the town rejects the disciples in Jesus, the personalize it. They feel exposed.
They feel the sense of like who are we now and I need to respond because I need a response from people to validate my security and tell me who I am. And then Jesus didn’t live that way. He was so secure He could freely give away his heart with no expectation of anything in return. It was the love of His Father that set Him free from the praise and the rejection of man. He wasn’t drawn to the praise of men. So He wasn’t defeated by the rejection of men. It sounds like a pretty freeway to live, don’t you think? The love of God will set you free from the praise and the rejection of men. Security makes us free to love.
In fact, insecure people cannot give love, okay? Hear this. Insecure people cannot give love. Why? Because they’re insecure. So they’re constantly trying to validate themselves in the approval or the affirmation of others. So insecure people hurt everyone around them. Not intentionally but they do because they’re trying to use you to validate them, to make them feel secure, to make them make sure they feel like they have a secure identity. And when they do something and you respond poorly, they explode. They want to call down fire from heaven and smoke you.
Why? Because they feel exposed. When they’re exposed, they’re reminded they’re insecure. When we’re insecure, we become afraid and we respond in anger and all these different kinds of things. You see the question you have to ask yourself is do you love other people to get something in return or do you love because you have been loved? Do you love other people to get something in return or do you love because you’ve been loved? Like can you just love your spouse, the stranger, your friend? Can you just give them love with no expectation of anything in return?
I’ll be real honest with you. As I was working on this week, I was realizing how much in my own life I love people with expectation of getting something in return. And I bet you do too. But there’s these little pieces of insecurity inside of us. And if I love you this way, you should respond this way and it’s going to make me feel okay inside. And when that doesn’t happen, we respond and we react really poorly. Jesus wants to free us from that. You see, what the world needs more than anything else, it’s secure followers of Jesus who are free to love with no expectation of anything in return.
That’s how we change the world. We’re not going to change the world by having a good election or by creating a whole bunch of non-profits or some of these different kinds of things. That stuff is great. It’s important, yes. But we change the world by becoming secure in Jesus and loving with no expectation of anything in return.
That’s security. See what security does, is it allows you to remain joyfully hidden. It’s what it does. Allows you to remain joyfully and think of Jesus. 30 years He lived as a carpenter and He never felt the need to announce Himself. Like Jesus wasn’t taking selfies. “Here’s me making a table. Here’s me making a chair. Here’s me sitting at my table and my chair eating cornflakes.” Like He didn’t have the need to do that, did He? He wasn’t announcing himself. Why? Because when you know who you are, you have nothing to prove.
You can joyfully remain hidden. So why Jesus says “Hey. Life is found in the secret place.” Like when you pray, you pray in the secret place, the Father will award you in the open. When you give, give in secret, and the Father will award you in open. When you fast, fast in the secret place and the Father will award you in the open. Why? Because security is found in the secret place, not in the public arena. Jesus found security in the quiet place with the Father, not through the affirmation or the approval of the crowd.
So the question you have to ask yourself is are you okay remaining hidden? Are you okay with that? Like do you need people to thank you? Do you need people to validate you? Do you need people to affirm you and tell you how amazing you are and notice your giving and your serving and your ministry and your efforts and all? Do you need to constantly validate you? Do you have this sense of if nobody’s noticing me I need to promote myself? Or are you okay in the hiddenness? See, self-promotion is just insecurity on display. It’s all it is. Self-promotion. If I got to promote myself, it’s insecurity on display which means hiddenness is security on display. Because when you know who you are, you have nothing to prove.
Listen. I don’t know, maybe a year ago in my life, I got invited to this roundtable of some high profile Christian leaders. I don’t know how I got invited. It was kind of day, a last minute thing. Didn’t really know the guys but I got invited and I love learning. So I got to sit at this roundtable of about 15 guys for a day and it was awesome. And I learned all kinds of great stuff and I was just super grateful for the opportunity. I went home and it was amazing. When maybe six, eight months go by, and a Saturday night after service, and Colleen and I are at home. I think I’m watching a football game or something, and I got my phone and I’m just kind of twittering.
I’m just sitting there, going through it. All of a sudden I saw the group picture that we took. When it was over the 15 of us took a group picture and everybody got one. And I saw somebody had posted it. One of the guys had posted the group picture. So I was like oh, cool. So I clicked on it and I opened it up. And when I looked at it, all of a sudden I realized they had cropped me out of the picture. 14 of 15 guys in the picture and all you can see is like my left shoulder, right here.
So I look at that picture and I hand it over to Colleen. She’s sitting on the chair next to me, I have my phone and she just starts laughing at me. So I’m looking at this picture and I am sitting there. I was thinking seriously? I’m the only one they cropped. I’m like seriously? Like why? What’s wrong with me? And all those things. What’s wrong with me? What did I do or what didn’t I do? Why? Just like why?
I’m sitting there and you know, my flash response is man, I want to publically reply to this guy and send him the real picture back and be like man, you forgot somebody in the picture. Here’s me making the table kind of thing. And I felt like the Lord in that moment just whispered to me and said “Johnny, are you okay remaining hidden? Because your security come from who they say you are or from who I say you are.”
And that’s the question all of us have to answer, is that are we okay remaining hidden? Because it’s in the hiddenness where he declares who you are. And what’s amazing to me about Jesus is He’s so secure He joyfully remains hidden in the gospels. I mean think about it. He heals ten lepers. Only one comes back to say thank you. If I’m Jesus, I’m like where is the other nine? In fact you know what, we’re just going to make a surprise appearance by those nine houses and just say “Hey, we’re in town. We just thought we’d save you the thank you note. I know you really want to thank me.”
I mean that’s how I’m going to respond. Or when the crowd starts to leave Jesus, step on Jesus. I’m like put your butt back down on that grass. No. Do you know what I sacrificed to be here?
You are going to listen to the teaching today. Or how about the Pharisees, when they picked up stones to stone on Jesus? I’m like do you know who you want to stone? I am the beloved Son of God, or when the disciples argue about who’s going to be the greatest. If I’m Jesus, I’m going to look at them and be like “Man, you are all arguing about the wrong thing. You have nothing if I didn’t choose you.” Or how about when Jesus is hanging on the cross? If I’m Jesus I’m going to look at all the people and say “You know what, you all should be worshipping me right now instead of mocking me. You need to be singing my praises. You know what I’m doing for you right now?”
Not Jesus. He was okay that no one said thank you. He was okay that the crowd left. He was okay that the Pharisees picked up stones, that the disciples had a pride problem. He was okay that while He hung in the cross they mocked him, belittled Him, insulted Him. And you know what He said? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That’s security. That’s security because He knew who the Father said He was. See, last verse. Here’s the key to the whole thing. John 5:31 and 32. “If I testify about myself,” Jesus says, “My testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favor and I know that his testimony about me is valid. Because if I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. But there is one who testifies about me and what he says is enough.”
In other words, Jesus says “I don’t need to tell anybody who I am because the Father has told me who I am, and that is enough.” So the question you have to ask yourself is who needs to testify about you to make you feel secure? Like do you need to testify by yourself? Tell everybody how amazing you are and all the selfies and all the things? Selfies are fun. Don’t be like we can’t do selfies anymore. No. You can do selfies if it’s coming from the right motive. Ah, that’s the question we don’t talk about.
Is the motive so you get likes? So people see who you’re hanging out with? How cool you are? How amazing you look? Or is it to create relationships with other people in your life? So who needs to testify about you? You? Do other people need to testify about you? Say how amazing you are, how great you are, or does the Father just need to testify about you? Like do you need everyone to think you’re attractive or is it okay that the Father says you are wonderfully made? Do you really need everyone to think you’re successful or is it enough that He says in Jesus He is well pleased in you?
Do you really need everyone to think you’re cool and you have it all together or is it enough that He says He formed, He knew, He set you apart, and He appointed you. What are you trying to prove and who are you trying to prove it to? See, Jesus has proved everything for you. He is your validation. He is your security. He is your identity. And when the Father tells you who you are in Jesus, no one can tell you you’re not. When the Father testifies about you, no one else has to because it’s enough. And when you know who you are, you don’t want to be anybody else.
And all of a sudden you start realizing this is my lane, this is my identity. I’ve been graced for this. God has called me to be a prophet. I’m not going to call myself a child. I belonged to Him. Only He has the authority to define me. I’m going to destroy the works of the devil. I’m going to release the Kingdom of God. The Father has testified about me. No one else has to and no one can take away my identity and that’s where my security comes from. Jesus’ security didn’t come from the crowd. It came from the Father. Where does yours come from?
So you close your eyes with me. What’s the Holy Spirit saying to you? What do you sense right now in this moment from Him? If we’re honest, it’s an uncomfortable topic because it exposes a lot of the brokenness in our own lives. Do you know who you are? If I sat down with you over a cup of coffee and asked you who you are, how would you respond? Would you tell me what you do for a living? Would you tell me what you have? Would you tell me where you’ve been? Would you tell me about your family? Or would you tell me who the Father says that you are? Holy Spirit, will you speak to us now? Just tell us who we are. Listen to His voice. He’s telling you you’re loved.
You’re victorious. You’re an overcomer. You’re healed. You are whole. You are righteous. You’re a prophet to the nations. That you have authority over the kingdom of darkness. That He formed you, He knew you, He set you apart and He appointed you. That you are His beloved son or daughter when you put your faith in Jesus Christ. And when the Father tells you that, no one can tell you that you’re not. Maybe in your own way just say “Lord, please tell who I am. And give me the faith to receive it.”
Jesus, we confess and repent of comparison in our lives. We confess and repent of judgment towards others. We confess and repent that we’ve often drifted out of our lane and wanted someone else’s life. We confess and repent that when You tell us who we are, we tell You who we’re not. May You heal us and free us and break those bondages off our lives today. That we might be secure because only You have the authority to tell us who we are. God, I pray this week that we would be wise and discerning.
That when we hear the voices around us, trying to define us, put us down, judge us, bring us into comparison, we will silence those in the name of Jesus. And we will tune in to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who has given us the grace we need to run our race and sits there as the voice of righteousness in our lives, reminding us of who we are. That’s why you need the Holy Spirit, because He reminds you in every moment of every day who you are.