Webster’s definition of a false sense of security is something that causes a person to feel safe and secure in a situation that poses risks or danger. For example, you move into a new neighborhood and notice that there are higher crime rates than you originally thought, and you are nervous because you spent all your money purchasing your home. Then, you get the idea to go to Home Depot and buy some ADT signs and some fake cameras. You get home and quickly put up the ADT signs and install the fake cameras in the front and back of your house. You get all tickled because you think you did a great job and you start to feel that your house is now safe from criminals. However, little did you know that any criminal worth their weight can easily identify a fake security camera. A few weeks pass and you head out to run errands only to come home to an empty house. You slowly realize that you put your trust and security on something that was not real and had no true value.
In this example that I just shared with you is an example of having a false sense of physical security. However, it also can apply to having a false sense of spiritual security. If Christians are not careful, they can make this same mistake. This will lead to the enemy and this world stealing all the blessings the Lord has provided. It can tempt you to put your guard down and get comfortable. This is what the focus of my message today will be about. To be more specific, how having a false sense of security can stunt your spiritual growth, how it can affect the way we view ourselves and treat others in this world, and the five things you can do to fight against having it. Now, if you are ready to continue to move forward, let us begin!
When we put our trust in anything that has no value, it will only end up setting you up for failure further down the line. For a Christian, we must be careful to not have a false sense of security with our relationship with the Lord. If we do it can stunt our spiritual growth and leave us living a stagnate life which leaves us open to temptation and spiritual attacks. We are shown this exact teaching by the prophet Amos. It is written, “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria,” (Amos 6:1). In this Scripture, Amos was prophesying of the coming judgment against the nation of Israel. Despite the warnings, the people felt at ease and comfortable with where they were at. They believed they were safe and that nothing could happen to them. They had a false sense of security, but they were not safe at all. Their confidence caused them to abuse the privileges that God provided them with, and it caused them to be punished severely. God destroyed the land and the kingdom only leaving behind a repentant remnant few.
You may ask yourself how did a false sense of security cause so much punishment and destruction? The answer is because the people were in a time of material prosperity it brought about a sense of stability, and prosperity. Due to this prosperity, an upper class appeared and overly indulged in their financial blessings. This widened the gap between the rich and the poor. It made the poor easy targets for legal and economic exploitation. Slavery for the people’s debt became a common practice and the people’s moral standards sank below their pagan neighbors. Here and now, God’s people not only stopped spiritually growing but started to move backward. Their false sense of security brought about pain to not only those they were exploiting but ultimately the nation itself.
Now, I would like to move forward and show how having a false sense of security affects how Christians see themselves and the world. To do this, I must share some Scripture from the book of Isaiah.
It is written, “Now, then, hear this, you sensual one,
Who dwells securely,
Who says in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one besides me.
I will not sit as a widow,
Nor know loss of children.’
9 “But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day:
Loss of children and widowhood.
They will come on you in full measure
In spite of your many sorceries,
In spite of the great power of your spells,” (Isaiah 47:8-9).
In this Scripture, we see that our self-indulgence promotes, among other things, an attitude of false security. It can cause Christians to place ourselves on a pedestal and cause us to rely on ourselves and our wisdom instead of God’s. When people are at a height of prosperity they can easily be seduced to feel safe and separated from the rest of the world. This way of thinking will ultimately be their downfall. It will only lead to spiritual ruin. This is because people start to idolize themselves instead of their holy God. If a Christian has a sense of superiority, they tend to become religious and judgemental of others. This way of thinking causes Christians great spiritual risk.
Why can it cause us a risk you may be asking yourself? First of all, this hypocrisy first stirred the judgment of Jesus in the beginning. Now, what did Jesus say about this very mentality and way of thinking? He had some frightening things to say about those who choose to live their church life as a hypocrite. Jesus said, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:20). The Pharisees used God’s commands to find fault with others without first and foremost applying it to their lives. We can easily fall into this snare if we are not careful. Many people since the death of Jesus have been wrongfully judged and murdered by “religious people” that had a false sense of security since they knew God’s Word.
One such example is the story of Stephen. Stephen was a man full of God’s grace and showed many wonders and signs. He spoke with wisdom and authority. However, how did the church respond to this man of God? The church stated that he spoke blasphemously and the elders held false testimony against him. The church’s conviction turned to anger, which led to him being stoned to death (Acts 7:54-60). Notice that the violence that broke out on Stephen was the pew-sitters of his day. The churchgoers and not pagans! They provoked a mob mentality and it cost a man of God his life. The people of God were blinded because of their positions of authority which caused them to have a false sense of security. This false security caused them to judge others in the world by God’s Word without applying it to their lives. What good is memorizing the entire Bible if you cannot apply or live one single word of it in your life? It is worth nothing and faith like this is not worth anything. It can only lead to spiritual destruction.
Can you see how dangerous having a false sense of spiritual security can be? If so, let me share with you five ways to combat yourself from having a false sense of security. First, you must be able to identify if you are currently caught in the snare of false security and hypocrisy. Here are ten ways to tell if you are:
(1) If you fault people for not measuring up spiritually to you.
(2) If you feel better than those around you that are not saved or know as much of the Bible as you do.
(3) If you spend more time examining others instead of yourself.
(4) If you find yourself against more people than loving them where they are at.
(5) If you are incapable of rejoicing in other’s advancements because you feel threatened.
(6) If you read the Bible and are not convicted to change your heart or your ways by it.
(7) If there is no proof of the Spirit’s fruits in your life.
(8) If your life is filled with anger and negative outbursts towards the people around you.
(9) If you cannot identify the sin that you are currently living in.
(10) If you are not known as a happy and loving person.
If the first step is to identify if you are living with a false sense of security, it is only natural that the second step is to repent of this sin. Since Christ gave us the cross, it is only natural that it is the only way to combat any sin in our lives. So, if you have identified any shortcomings in your life, not just this one but any shortfall. Get down on your knees and lift your hands to the sky. Repent of your unfaithfulness and how that is affecting your spiritual growth in Christ Jesus. Then, repent for any actions or words that you made that pushed people away from Him. Apologize for being the reason why people run from the church instead of wanting to grace its doorways.
Third, stop resisting the Holy Spirit. In all the Scriptures I shared with you today, God’s people resisted His Spirit (living a holy and righteous life). This hardened their hearts and allowed them to be tempted. Ultimately, it compromised their moral and spiritual standing with the Lord. However, if they did not resist the guidance of the Holy Spirit it would have never got as far as it did. They were so far gone that God could only bring destruction and protect the repentant remnant few. Understanding this biblical truth shows us that we will be seeking the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit daily. We need to focus on the spiritual discipline of prayer every day. This is not an option if you want to grow closer to Jesus. Think about any good friends that you have. It took you time to develop that friendship and trust. Having an open relationship with the Holy Spirit is the same. When He talks, you must be receptive to hear Him and this cannot happen if your prayer life is weak.
Fourth, reflect and live out the Scripture that you read. You are only fooling yourself if you read the Bible for knowledge and not for wisdom. If you read the Bible and do not apply what is being taught to you by the Holy Spirit you will stay ignorant in God’s truth. However, please remember that living in ignorance does not mean that you are safe. Being ignorant is another way of saying that you are living with a false sense of security. It is all fine and dandy until you meet Jesus face-to-face. Your ignorance does not justify the way that you are living. This is why Bible reading and reflection are needed to stop this way of thinking. So truly dive into the Scriptures and meditate on its foundational teachings. Then, and only then will you be able to apply it to your life successfully.
Lastly, is to work on living a life of servitude instead of wanting to be served. If you change the way you think, you will be able to put other’s needs before your own. You will be able to comfort others that need to be comforted instead of living for yourself. This is key to living a life free of a false sense of security because you are living in Christ instead of yourself. This changed way of thinking highlights the biblical principle of humility. We are put in this world to glorify Christ and to be a beacon of light in every community that we visit. This will never happen if you can only think of yourself and other’s shortcomings. To live this way is hard and takes a lot of discipline, however, guess what? Jesus is worth this sacrifice and so is the neighbor that you are supposed to love as you love yourself.
In this message, I discussed how having a false sense of security stunts your spiritual growth, how it affects the way we view ourselves and treat others in this world, and the five things you can do to fight against having a false sense of security. I pray if you were convicted on anything that I wrote by the Holy Spirit that you repent of it and make a change in your life for the better. This is because having a false sense of security is a very dangerous thing for a Christian to have. It is honestly dangerous for anyone. Living in ignorance of a person’s dangerous circumstances is not good for anyone to be honest. However, the only way to truly come to this understanding is through reflection, repentance, and living a life of humility (servitude).
If you are reading this message it is not too late! So please take some time today and reflect on the person you are. Not the person you want to be or the person that you want others to see. Reflect on who you are right now and look at yourself in the mirror. Imagine that it is Jesus looking back at you and ask yourself if you have been enough. Will He say “job well done” or “I am disappointed in you.” Once you get your answer, make the change needed to change His answer. Do not leave what you can do today for tomorrow because tomorrow is not promised! Live a transformed life now and watch the fruits of the Spirit flow in it. If not, you are choosing to live with a false sense of security. Except you cannot blame it on ignorance to Jesus. Amen.