“Desire: Longing for Security” by Rick Shurtz

At Gateway Church in Austin this past Sunday, we continued our series called Desire.

Rick Shurtz spoke at the McNeil Campus, and I spoke at the South Campus.

You can watch or listen to Rick’s message at www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast.

You can listen to my message here:

You can work through the next steps here.

Here is some of what we shared:

In this series we’re taking a look at desires of our hearts and what we do with them.

Within our hearts, is a deep desire to be secure.

Let’s begin by looking at security from its dark side.

To be insecure is that internal sense we have that says, “Something’s off with me. Something’s not quite right. Something’s broken or vulnerable or out of place.”

Two ways we deal with insecurity. We attempt to fix it or pacify it.

Fixing Insecurity

If our insecurity is around finances, for example, we work harder or save more. Unfortunately, if we are motivated by our insecurity, we could easily go beyond a healthy work ethic to become workaholics. Rather than saving which is a good thing, we can become hoarders and fail to be generous.

I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners. – Ecclesiastes 5:13

When we seek security in others because of a deep sense of insecurity we can become co-dependent. Co-dependent relationships tend to implode. There’s something instinctively unhealthy going on here.

Even when we make physical or spiritual improvements in our life, if they are rooted in a deep sense of insecurity, we’re just checking the box so we can feel a little better about ourselves. It doesn’t take much for this false sense of security to unravel. Relying on ourselves rather than God leads to disappointment. 

Pacifying Insecurity

We try to pacify and anesthetize our insecurities.

Let me give you three examples of how we do this.

  • Food
  • Fun
  • Phones


Stressed is “desserts” spelled backwards!

Anything we ingest or anything upon which we can binge (food, drink, drugs, or even television) can be a way we are trying to pacify our insecurities.

When we go to something besides God for security,
we are putting something between ourselves and God.

Consider: what aspect of our eating or consuming has to do with pacifying an insecurity rather than satisfying a hunger. 


Truth be told, I think we could all use a little bit more fun in our lives.

However, what happens when our pursuit of fun, our pursuit of adventure, our pursuit of the next thrill is rooted in our running from a deep sense of insecurity?

We may lower our standards and create new regrets and suffer difficult circumstances.


Like you, I suspect, I have a love / hate relationship with this phone.

  • Remember when you used to have to stop and ask for directions? What a horrible inconvenience.
  • Remember when you used to have to actually know people’s phone numbers? How archaic! I don’t know my friend’s phone numbers, I just touch their name on my screen.
  • And remember when you actually had to talk to people? You’d have to wade through all the small talk. Now you just send a text.

Seriously though: remember when you could actually have a quiet moment?

Consider this: The next time you pick up your phone to check your email, or the news feed on facebook or instagram, or to find out who texted you, ask yourself a simple question:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What’s driving me right now to check my email?
  • What’s driving me right now to check the news feed?
  • What’s driving me right now to find out who texted me?


Now that I’ve ruined pretty much everything good in your life—food, fun, work, phones—what’s going on here? How do we break out of this?


What would it be like, what would it feel like,
what would our experience of life be, if we were deeply and fully secure?


I’m convinced this is available to you and this is available to me in ever-increasing measures if we make and fully implement one critical move.

We shift from…
My security depends upon me.
My security depends upon God.

We switch from me-centered to God-centered.


This shift, as profound and important as it is, it is one thing to understand it in our minds, it’s quite another to experience it in our hearts. 

Like no other place in Scripture, the Psalms deal directly with this idea of God being our security, but the Psalms do this, not just by teaching doctrine, but by the Psalmist working it out in their lives.


What do you hear in these verses?

O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me. Psalm 3:1

Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Psalm 5:1

My soul is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord—how long? Psalm 6:3

Why, O Lord, do you stand afar off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Psalm 22:1

The writer feels insecure and vulnerable. Remarkably, this is David! This is the guy who squared off with Goliath! Should he, of all people, feel deeply secure in God?


Observation #1 – Security in God must be constantly maintained.

This is critical for countless reasons, not the least of which, is when we have a wave of anxiety or worry or fear, we need not think that we’re failing as people of faith.

A lack faith is not seen in the person who needs to process their insecurities with God. A lack of faith is seen in the person who doesn’t process their insecurities with God.


I’m not troubled by David’s need to write these words. I’m troubled by the person who has these very same feelings but takes them to something or someone other than God.



Second Psalms Cluster

Consider then this second collection of Psalms:


A moment ago we read…

O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me. Psalm 3:1

In that same Psalm we read…

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3


Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Psalm 5:1


You cover me with favor, as with a shield. Psalm 5:12


My soul is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord—how long? Psalm 6:3

The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment. Psalm 6:10


Why, O Lord, do you stand afar off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1


The Lord is king forever and ever…You hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart.
Psalm 10:16-18


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Psalm 22:1

For God has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. Psalm 22:24


Observation #2 – Security in God must be constantly maintained.

David was caught up in the spiritual battle. Just because he felt insecure did not mean he was insecure. In the same Psalm he seemed to contradict himself!

If spending time with God in prayer, the Scriptures, and journaling is considered “a quiet time” then those moments we are stuck in a swirl of anxiety is like a quiet time with the evil one.

Martin Lloyd Jones said the following:

“I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self…. Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday… Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you.”

I get these thoughts, and the thoughts aren’t about how secure I am in God.

No, the thoughts are all the things that are wrong, and all the places where I’m vulnerable, and all that could be wrong if such and such were to happen.

Jones is telling us, you’re letting yourself get talked to rather than talking to yourself.

Psalm cluster three

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:1

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalm 28:7

Whose the Psalmist talking to?

He’s not talking to God. He’s not saying “Lord, You are my shepherd.”

I suppose we could say he’s talking to us, but based on the context, I don’t think that’s the case.

These statements come in the midst of what is effectively a journal. He’s working things out.

I don’t think he’s talking to us as much as he’s talking to himself.

He’s reminding himself:

  • God is my shepherd.
  • God is my strength.
  • God is my protector.
  • God is my shield.


Observation #3 – Security in God must be constantly maintained.


Dallas Willard, in his book The Divine Conspiracy wrote this simple statement about those who have entrusted their lives to God.

When we do this he says “…our universe is a perfectly safe place to be.”

Unfortunately, it won’t feel that way.

So much of life pushes against us telling us that we’re not okay, that we’re not secure, that we need to anxious and fearful and insecure.

To which Scripture models that when the world pushes against us, we must push back.

Strengthen your resolve that God is in fact your security, and you can be fully secure in him.

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