The mini-fridge in the hotel room made a sound like a Geiger-counter in Chernobyl. That strange detail stood out to me as I tried to fall asleep in Pocahontas, Arkansas; that, and insecurity. I was preparing to represent my school at a college seminary day, and I kept wondering if I’d be able to answer student questions, if I’d be overdressed (or underdressed), if I’d do a good job. The event went well, and I had some great conversations with prospective students. Still, in the back of my mind, insecurity loomed, evaluating everything I did.
Insecurity is no stranger to my life. I sometimes feel insecure when I meet new people, wondering how they will view me, questioning whether they’ll accept me. I can feel insecure when I speak in class, fearing that my comments aren’t relevant or thoughtful, worrying that people will see how little I know. More often than not, I feel insecure about my writing, eagerly hoping for positive comments and likes and shares to ease my mind, to make me feel like my poetry or prose is good, helpful, or right. This shouldn’t surprise me. I consider myself an introvert, so social interaction is already a weaker area in my life. Furthermore, I’ve long tended toward people-pleasing, meaning I pay even more attention to how I come across to others. But is this a good way to live? Is this how God wants me (or you) to live?
Paul compares the church to a body. He argues that God has given different gifts to different people for use in the body, and that the success of the body depends upon the unity of the individual members. Such unity requires humility and sacrifice for the good of the whole. Paul writes,
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teachers, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Paul’s point seems to be that every believer ought to use his or her gifts according to God’s gifting. And he or she should do this for the good of the body, that is, the church. Ultimately, all is done for the kingdom of God, that people may know Christ.
This means, I think, that we need not let insecurity reign so long as we are doing what God has called us to do. We can, and should, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), giving thanks to God through Christ in everything (Colossians 3:17). We should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and trust God with our lives (Matthew 6:33). If we are doing these things, then we need not feel insecure about our work. We need not worry about being accepted by men. We need not fear man’s rejection. If we fear the Lord, we need not fear anyone or anything else.
Let this give us confidence to do the work assigned to us. Let this encourage us to boldly live for God, using the gifts he has given us for his glory and trusting him with the results. Let our good works shine like lights in this world, calling all to know and love our Lord (Matthew 5:16). Let us be found faithful, working as unto the Lord, not for men (Colossians 3:23-24).