Everyone struggles with some form of insecurity, to some degree. The problem of insecurity is not benign, simply leaving one in a state of self-pity. Left unchecked, these insecurities can wreak havoc on our lives and those around us.

Saul is a perfect example of someone who’s life was destroyed by his insecurities. We get the first indication of his insecurity when he was chosen to be king. He hid among the baggage rather than face the task of being the first King of Israel. He started off well, with a victory over the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11). But soon, we see him making poor leadership decisions (1 Sam 13:13) even taking a brash oath (1 Sam 14:24) that put his troops under unnecessary duress.

We get a direct diagnosis of Saul’s condition from the Lord when Samuel confronts Saul for his failure to obey the commands of the Lord. In 1 Sam 15:17, Samuel tells Saul what the Lord had told Samuel the previous night. The Lord diagnoses the root of Saul’s failure as a king. Samuel says

“Even though you are small in your own eyes…”

The Lord recognized Saul had an insecurity problem. Saul was a tall, handsome man. You could say he had the “look” of a king. Yet, his insecurities led him down a destructive path.

  • His insecurities led him to ignore the command of the Lord and heed the peer-pressure of his troops (1 Sam 15:10-35).
  • His insecurities made him seek approval from people rather approval from the Lord (1 Sam 15:30)
  • His insecurities led him to jealousy and a murderous pursuit of David (1 Sam 18-27).
  • His insecurities led him to lose the kingdom (1 Sam 15:28)
  • His insecurities led him to be an enemy of the Lord (1 Sam 28:16) and eventually to suicide (1 Sam 31:4)

The story of Saul is a tragedy. Often, we are told to “look inside”, to find the confidence needed to overcome these insecurities. However, the answer to the Lord’s diagnosis was given by the Lord himself in the last clause of that verse (1 Sam 10:17).

are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you as king of Israel

Saul’s mandate and confidence to obey the Lord was to come from the fact that it was the Lord who anointed Saul and tasked him to be the leader of Israel. It was the Lord to whom Saul was answerable and it was the Lord who would give him success.

Insecurities are not benign problems that beset our homes, churches and institutions. These insecurities lead to poor decisions and destructive patterns. Insecurities are not an excuse for destructive behavior. We ignore these to our peril. The answer to these insecurities is not to ignore them or to look within.

The answer is to remember the gospel.

Remember that it is Christ who chose us to be holy and blameless (Eph 1:4)

Remember that he who began the good work in you will complete it (Phil 1:6)

Our confidence is not in ourselves but in the Lord and that He has chosen you for his purpose. Living with this confidence brings about a tremendous peace since we don’t have to carry the burden on our own. His yoke is easy to carry (Matt 11:29). Living with this confidence brings us tremendous joy since he has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

How Insecurities can Destroy your Life

Dr. Stephen George

Dr. S. J George is a professor at ETS and he is the president of Asian Christian Academy. His doctoral work focused on non-native speakers of English as adult learners and online theological education. This work has led to the development of the online M.A in Christian Studies at ETS.

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