The Saul Inside"When you allow your insecurities to take root, it can sabotage your calling and change your destiny."
Have you ever struggled with self-doubt? You aren’t alone! It is easy to compare ourselves to others and decide that we don’t measure up to those around us.
No matter how hard we try, there will always be someone smarter, wealthier, braver, more attractive, more athletic or more popular. It is easy for doubts and our insecurities to creep into our hearts and minds. And when we fall into that comparison trap, we usually come up short.
But here’s the problem. As a follower of Jesus, your insecurities can keep you from realizing the calling God has on your life.
Meet King Saul
Saul was a leader in the Old Testament who had an incredible call from God placed upon his life. He had a destiny to fulfill and a legacy to leave, but he gave it all up because of his insecurity.
Saul was named as the nation of Israel’s first king in 1 Samuel. Until that time, God’s people had been led by priests who would communicate directly from God. But surrounding countries had begun to elect monarchs, and God’s people didn’t want to be left out. They cried out, “Give us a king to lead us” (1 Samuel 8:6, NIV).
Israel had big expectations for their first king. He should be brave, smart, confident and attractive. And, on the surface, Saul seemed to check every one of those boxes. In 1 Samuel 9:2, we read, “Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else” (NIV).
But Saul had doubts: “But am I not a Benjamite, from the least tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the smallest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” (verse 21, NIV).
Despite these misgivings, Saul began his reign at 30 years old, a position he would hold for the next 42 years (1 Samuel 13:1). Saul had been chosen by God, anointed by a prophet and embraced by the people. Even so, he struggled with a hidden weakness: insecurity.
Cambridge Dictionary defines insecurity as “a feeling of lacking confidence and not being sure of your own abilities or of whether people like you.” Insecurity is not a sin itself. But when it becomes deeply rooted in our lives and undealt with, it can sabotage our calling and change our destiny.
Our insecurities lead us to ask “what do people want” rather than focusing on what God expects of us. In 1 Samuel 13:8, we read that Saul was told to wait for Samuel before offering a sacrifice to God. When Samuel didn’t arrive, the people grew impatient. I’m sure Saul felt pressured to do something. He wanted to look great in their eyes.
Samuel had told Saul to wait for seven days. It was the end of the seventh day, so Samuel was still on time, but Saul was impatient. Rather than standing firm and following God’s instructions, Saul decided to act. “So he said, ‘Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.’ And Saul offered up the burnt offering” (1 Samuel 13:9, NIV).
Placing Trust in God
One of the results of insecurity is that we begin to doubt. When Saul was asked to wait on Samuel (and ultimately on God), he should have obeyed without question. Instead, he listened to other voices.
Have you ever been in a place when you were waiting for God? Maybe you were asking God to show you next steps: who to date or where to go to college. You might have thought, “What if God isn’t going to answer on time? Maybe I should go ahead and move forward on my own?”
The longer we wait, the louder the voice of compromise becomes. When our insecurity causes us to please people more than God, we assume roles that were never ours to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 advises the opposite: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV).
All the Wrong Voices
So Saul, choosing not to wait, went ahead and offered up the burnt offering himself. When he finished, Samuel arrived and asked, “What have you done?” Saul tried to justify his actions, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ’Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering” (1 Samuel 13:11-12, NIV).
Notice that Saul was focused on himself and his own emotions. He felt pressured by the men who were deserting him. Saul knew that offering the burnt sacrifice was the role of the priest, but he did it anyway.
When I was in high school, I was on the wrestling team. During matches, the crowd would often yell at the wrestlers. If they were allied with my opponent, those voices would try to distract or discourage me. But I had learned to listen for only one voice, the voice of my coach. While the other voices might praise or critique me, my coach’s instruction was the only voice that mattered.
The same can be true for us. When our insecurities get in the way, we listen to others instead of God. If we keep our mind and heart tuned to God’s voice, we will remain focused.
Fear and Pride
Fear and pride are a dangerous combination. Fear of people’s opinions made Saul act when he should have waited. And when he mixed that with spiritual pride, he began walking away from God.
In high school chemistry class, we would put on goggles and protective gear before mixing different chemicals in test tubes, sometimes over a flame. The teacher would warn us to take the right precautions and carefully follow directions. If we mixed something incorrectly, it could cause an unwanted explosion.
“‘You have done a foolish thing,’ Samuel said. ‘You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command’” (1 Samuel 13:13-14, NIV). Saul would spend the rest of his reign throwing spears at David, the person who would fulfill the calling he had lost.
Don’t Waste Your Calling
As followers of King Jesus, we should resist our insecurities. Don’t let them take root. When you allow your insecurities to take root, it can sabotage your calling and change your destiny. What can we learn from Saul?
- Trust God, even in times of waiting.
- Realize your worth is in Him alone.
- Know that He controls your destiny.
- Don’t step into roles you were never meant to have.
- Focus on God’s voice above all others.
God is looking for the next generation of leaders who will listen for His voice and shut out the compromising culture. He is calling you out of the shadows of insecurity so you can be cycle breakers and legacy makers for His kingdom.
for further study
- Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen
- Filtered by Tiffany Hogle, Peer Magazine February 2023 | This article illustrates what God thinks of us and how that knowledge can help us to be more confident.
- Bought + Beloved with Kirby Kelly | You Are More Than The Lies and Labels with Hosanna Wong