Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known to God. Philippians 4:6
Whether you classify yourself as an anxious person or not, all of us have experienced anxiety. For some, it’s ingrained in their thinking and in their approach to everyday situations, for others the feeling of anxiety is barely prevalent in their lives. Regardless of where you are on this spectrum, we all experience anxiety in some form or another. For an unbeliever, some of their anxiety is a natural response to their conscience, which bears witness to them that they are guilty before a holy God (See Romans 2:15). In contrast, the Christian shouldn’t have this same anxiety in regards to their position before God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Yet all too often, a Christian’s walk with the Lord is crippled because of anxiety. One of the detrimental effects anxiety has on Christians is that anxiety steals our joy, which according to the scriptures, is an essential aspect of the Christian life (see Philippians 4:4). There are so many examples of the detrimental effect of anxiety in the believer’s life, that I don’t have time to address them all. Nevertheless, it is important that we recognize that anxiety hinders each one of us in unique ways. In order to identify the solution to our Anxiety, we must understand the root causes of it. In my experience, in some cases, anxiety is a direct symptom of our lack of trust in God, which indicates that we have a distorted view of his character. In order to change our thinking, we need to understand and believe in the true character of God. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus calls all those who are heavy laden to himself and states that he will give them rest.
In 1 Peter 5:7, we are told to cast all our anxieties on God because he cares for us. After seeing all of these examples, why do we continue to create a ‘god’ in our own mind, that doesn’t care about our burdens and has no interest in our lives? The answer to this question is quite simple, we love to worry. That might sound counter-intuitive to you, but it’s true. Worry help us feel like we have control over our lives and anxiety is just the means by which we deceive ourselves. We have very little control over our lives and I understanding that might worry you, but if you understand the love that God has for you, you’ll see that it is one of the most comforting truths in the entire Bible. The battle with anxiety can only be won by letting God transform our wrong understanding of His character and understanding that we are not in control. However, we have a trustworthy Father in heaven who is in control (John 14:1). There is another aspect of anxiety I want to touch upon, but I will not address it today. You’ll have to come back next week for part 2 when I will try to address our unhealthy desire to seek the acceptance of other people, which can lead to crippling anxiety. Sounds like fun, right! Maybe not, but this is an extremely important issue in our modern culture that needs to be addressed. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 2.