Anxiety - What God Tells Us To Do (Article 19-14)
The late Billy Graham, one of the greatest evangelists of our time, said back in 1965, “Historians will probably call our era “the age of anxiety.” Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us”. Now, nearly 60 years later, we witness how much greater our anxieties are and the adverse effects of anxiety in our lives – both physically and spiritually. Although experiencing anxiety is a normal part of our lives, we see more and more people suffering from an increasing array of anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorder, separation disorders, social anxiety disorders, and other disorders stemming from substance abuse. Aside from anxiety being a crippling disorder that dominates our thoughts and plunges us into darkness, anxiety distracts us from our relationship with God.
God Wants More For Us. God does not want us to walk through life full of fear, worry, and anxiety. In fact, Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 that we are to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. It’s important to note that when Paul wrote the above to the Philippians, he was under Roman house arrest – a prisoner being held captive by his persecutors. Despite his imprisonment, Paul was not concerned about his own plight as a Roman captive, but rather the fate of the Philippians who were worried about Paul’s well-being. More specifically, when discouragement over Paul’s problems was robbing the Philippians of joy, then his solution was to tell them that there is no need to fret and worry about the way things are. The answer is to give the problems over to the only one who can actually do something about them – that being God. He further instructed the Philippians to pray in every situation, bringing their petitions (requests) to God and offering prayers of thanksgiving for what God has already done.
Anxiety and Prayer. Practically speaking, Philippians 4:6 gives us a model for the kind of prayer we need to pray when we are anxious or worried. First, we must reject worry and not be anxious about anything. Then, we simply ask God for what we need: in every situation, by prayer and petition. In so doing, we must be patient and wait on God. Second, we must manage our expectations of how God will address our prayers. He will address them according to what’s best for us. Finally, we are to thank Him for all that He has already done: with thanksgiving, and must rest, knowing that God truly loves us and will work things out for our good and His glory. God’s peace is then ours.
Focus on Lovely Things. Anxiety can be created by what we allow ourselves to hear and see – whether it be the media, television shows, conversations, or being witness to others’ conduct. Understand that what we allow to penetrate our mind has a direct impact on our spiritual well-being, and with it, how we see God, our relationship with God, the world in general, and how we see ourselves in the world. Spirituality, the fight for our soul, is waged in our mind and thoughts, and with it, the influencing of our hearts. In dealing with our worries and anxieties, Paul instructs us to focus and meditate on what is right, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Paul concludes by saying, “if you practice these things, then God's peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9).
Final Thoughts. The first step to an anxiety-free mind is to give your life to and trust in Jesus Christ. Once you’ve taken that step, it’s essential to fix your thoughts on Jesus and the promise that He is preparing a place for His followers in heaven (John 14:2-3). Finally, stay in “The Word,” which provides us the guidance, encouragement, and power to confront our anxieties:
[if !supportLists]1. [endif]“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.” Psalm 118:6.
[if !supportLists]2. [endif]“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.
[if !supportLists]3. [endif]“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.
[if !supportLists]4. [endif]“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31.
[if !supportLists]5. “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:27.
[if !supportLists]6. [endif]“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
[if !supportLists]7. [endif]“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.
Worry about and fear nothing! All will be fine for those you believe in the One He sent.