Tag Archives: Anxiety

Why “Doing” is So Important in the Fight Against Anxiety

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of Philippians 4:9 in the fight against anxiety.  Here it is again:

9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

In this text we see that there is a very active element to receiving God’s gift of peace.  God wants us to obediently follow the example of Paul, and as we do so, He promises that his peace-giving character will be with us.

What I didn’t expound on yesterday is why this command is so important in fighting anxiety.  If you ever struggle with moments or seasons of anxiety, you know how it can cripple you in your obedience to the Lord.  Anxiety keeps you download (3)inside yourself, trying to answer questions that you can’t answer, seeking to handle hard circumstances by yourself, and trying to get to the bottom of your struggle.  Anxiety leads us to keep spinning our wheels while going nowhere.  As this is happening, we are dropping the ball on our spiritual privileges and responsibilities – we forget to pray for other people, we neglect those closest to us, and we stop pursuing the Lord in worship.

This is why it is so crucial for Paul to tell us to follow his example.  Anxious people need to be reminded of who God is and what Christ has accomplished for us, but we also need to be told to get busy living again – living a life of devotion to our King.  The right feelings might not be there at first, but that’s when we repent, ask God’s forgiveness for not desiring Him as we should, ask Him to provide us with those right feelings, and then keep moving forward by His grace.

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What to Preach to Your “What if’s”

images (1)I think I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the ways anxiety and worry are provoked within us is through the question, “What if…?”  This question is one that looks into the future and sees the possibility for tragic, burdensome circumstances and begins to fret in response.

Like all other sins, the root of the issue is that we simply do not trust God.  The question is not the problem, it’s our heart that, in those moments, refuses to cling to the hope we have in God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  As I was listening to the audio book of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas yesterday, I heard a quote about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s outlook that helps our unbelief in regard to the “What if…?” question.

In 1937 the Nazis closed down Bonhoeffer’s seminary called Finkenwalde, but in spite of such a circumstance, here’s what Metaxas writes,

Bonhoeffer was an eternal optimist because he believed what God said through the Scriptures.  He knew that whatever befell him or the faithful brethren would open new opportunities in which God would operate, in which his provision would become clear.

Did you catch that?  Bonhoeffer looked into the future and saw new opportunities to serve the Lord, not the possibility of an impossible situation.  And that is saying something in a context where the Nazis’ dominance was getting ever stronger.

His Scripture-informed outlook reminds me of Paul and Silas who, when thrown into prison and then freed by God, saw the circumstance as an opportunity to serve the Lord by stopping the Philippian jailer from committing suicide and then telling him what he must do to be saved (Acts 16:25-34).  Instead of an opportunity for escape while the jailer was knocked out, they saw an opportunity to serve when he awoke.

It is true that in the mystery of God’s sovereign will he closes certain doors, but that does not prevent other opportunities from becoming available to us.  In fact, any circumstance that comes our way, is another opportunity to serve and honor our King, no matter how hard that circumstance may be.  We will never be without opportunities to serve Jesus, and, therefore, we will never be left without a purpose and never left without new ways in which to fellowship with him in his sufferings.


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