A couple of months ago, I played a game similar to hide-and-seek with our youth group. I remember picking out the perfect hiding spot and listening with an increasing sense of safety as the seekers passed by repeatedly, oblivious to my presence. During games like this, it’s typical to feel a rush of adrenaline because there’s an element of risk involved. Your hiding place might not be so great, and you could get caught. But – as was the case in my most recent experience – the better your hiding place, the greater your sense of security.
If you’re like me, your hiding isn’t limited to the occasional youth group game. In life we all have a propensity to seek security somewhere. When you and I attempt to find our security in ourselves – our abilities, our relationships, our experiences – we become the very opposite thing altogether: insecure. We live in constant fear of being exposed as weak, inadequate, or incompetent. The twist of insecurity is that it’s really just pride at a masquerade.
There’s a securer way to live depicted in Zephaniah 3:12 which says, “But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord.” In simplest terms, Zephaniah’s task as a prophet was to expose the sin of God’s people and call them to turn back to Him in repentance. In Zephaniah 3:11, we discover that there’s no room for self-sufficient arrogance before God. Instead, the appropriate response is humility – a sense of need which propels us to look beyond ourselves for comfort, security, and strength.
Much can be said about the differences between pride and humility, but Zephaniah draws out a distinguishing feature that I’d never considered. Those who know they need God are the ones who run to Him in desperation. And, in their desperation, they find comfort, security, and strength in who He is – their refuge is in His name. Those, on the other hand, who are unaware of or unwilling to acknowledge their need will never be desperate enough to look for security outside of themselves, which sounds a lot like pride. Pride is the result of seeking comfort, security, and strength in who we are – when our refuge is in our names.
Believe it or not, you and I can actually enjoy lasting security in this ever-changing world. We don’t get there by building walls around our abilities, relationships, and experiences while denying our vulnerable spots. That’s called pride, and it’s the least secure way to live. We’re on the path to lasting security when we admit our inabilities, acknowledge the way our sin affects relationships, and identify the limitedness of our experiences. When we come out from behind those crumbling walls, we’re free to run to a truly safe place.
Acknowledging our need for God, we are comforted, secured, and strengthened by who He is, and we are liberated from defining ourselves by ourselves. We can breathe a sigh of relief and find our security not in our efforts, but in His perfection; not in our circumstances, but in His character; not in our weakness, but in His strength; not in our limits, but in His abundance; not in our feelings, but in His Word; not in our wavering commitment to Him, but in His unwavering commitment to us.
If you’re looking for security – and I can almost guarantee you are – run to the Lord and cling to who He is. It’s only as you seek refuge in His name that you’ll be freed from constantly obsessing over yours.