(These notes are from Rick’s article: Rick’s Counseling Notes on Guilt and Fear. Click the link to read the full article.)
The Fall of Adam Created Guilt and Fear: If you subject yourself to the control of “non-biblical voices,” you will live in guilt that is not always legitimate. And sometimes these “voices” will be an endless loop that is in your head.
This overhanging cloud of guilt in your life fosters insecurity in your heart. Biblically this is called fear of man (Proverbs 29:25). If you are this way, you will end up with an “unbiblical process of producing guilt” that causes a deep-seated and controlling fear of others. These convoluted heart idolatries lead to your erratic behavior (James 1:5-8), which you permit other people to determine by their approval or disapproval of you.
You become like a pinball that responds according to who is blaming you or telling you how you should react or a fear of rejection (disapproval), etc. Rather than being controlled by God alone, according to a clear understanding of Him through the lens of Scripture, you allow others to have power over you.
Insecurity Defined: Insecurity is placing your faith, hope, confidence, trust, or belief in something or someone that you can lose.
Insecurity places your “hope” in the approval of others. You are hyper-aware of how you can lose your friend’s acceptance, and it’s this fear of loss that controls you. If your friends are accepting, you feel good. If they reject you, according to your interpretive system, you are erratic.
The solution to illegitimate guilt and conviction is to listen to the one and only “Voice,” which has all authority in your life. That voice is the Lord’s. He is the one who defines what is right and wrong.
As your thinking lines up with His thinking, you will be able to discern where you are responsible and where you are not accountable. In time, this will not only eliminate your insecurity, but it will significantly reduce your erratic behavior.
Security Defined: Security is placing your faith, hope, confidence, trust, belief in something or someone that you cannot lose.
As you can see, there is only one little, but a life-altering difference in the two definitions of security and insecurity. It all rests on what you can or cannot lose. You can quickly lose people’s approval, which makes you insecure. The question you want to answer is, “What is something that I cannot lose?” There are only two things.
The written Word of God and the living Word are eternal. Anything else you can lose and those things are not worthy of your trust.
The “fear of the Lord continuum” lays out this problem while illustrating how to move from sinful fear to a healthy fear of God. In Adam, we know we are guilty before God and will receive His holy wrath because God is a just God. But as our relationship with Him matures, we move “down the continuum” toward a healthy understanding (fear of the Lord) because we now know that He is not only perfectly just, but He is perfect in His holy love.
He will punish all sin, which is why the Christian places his trust in Christ, the sin-bearer. A person who continues to live in fear, guilt, worry, and insecurity does not understand the fullness of the gospel practically. If this is you, there are some excellent resources for you below.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).