Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Attacking Anxiety - Part 1 {A Devotional}

{It should be noted that I took my own notes because a copy of the message notes were not available. Also, I have converged his teaching with my own life experiences and knowledge from the Word of God.} 

Sunday afternoon I found myself exploring the church planting section of my church's website. I have some friends that are leaving to plant a church somewhere in the Middle East and wanted to know a bit more info on their plans. I ended up chasing some rabbits and landed on the sermon part of The Hallows Church website. Needless to say, I spent 41 minutes listening to a message on "Silencing the Alarm of Anxiety."

In the sermon, the pastor gives us 4 Commands and 3 Promises from the Scriptures. The main text was Phil. 4:4-7 with a few other passages he mentioned.

He simply began breaking down the word "anxious" and "worry" and what it actually means.

Anxious - obsessive care, to divide and draw in different directions, to pull apart.
Worry - German word meaning to choke

So, essentially, when I worry I'm choking myself. I'm choking on things that I have obsessed over and have allowed to pull apart my life. I'm drowning in my own spit. 

He went on to say "Anxiety is a catalyst for other sins."

I can worry about my finances and how I'm going to pay for college which can lead to me becoming greedy, envious, etc. Before I know it, I have committed not just one sin (worry), but several.

It hit me like a brick when I realized just how often that happens in my life. How many times have I worried about college and how I'm going to pay the bills?! This leads me wanting to be richer by acquiring more money. It can also lead me to envy people who can afford a nice, Christian education without the worry of where the money is going to come from.

The four commands in Scripture Andrew talked about were actually quite simple.

1} Rejoice in the LORD always. {Phil. 4:4}

Paul is writing this letter, the book of Philippians, while sitting in a jail cell not knowing if he was going to die or not. Yet, he is joyful about the whole situation. Now, he might not be all smiles but he knows who holds his life in His hands.

1 Thess. 5:16 even commands us to be "joyful always" and Paul writes that near the end of his ministry. He's experienced so much persecution, has gone to jail more than once, been shipwrecked, and had a thorn in his flesh that wouldn't go away. Yet, through it all, he is still joyful. 

Wow. Don't I have a lot to learn?!

2} Respond with gentleness. {Phil. 4:5}

Let's just be honest here, life can throw some nasty storms our way. If we're not careful, we can respond in a negative/harsh way. We need to learn to accept trials with gentleness and realize that the LORD is Sovereign and will take care of the situation.

{The next two points go together.}

3} Reject Worry. {Phil. 4:6}

When we worry, we doubt the promises of God AND God Himself. Worry means we have a lack of faith in the One who holds everything together. We don't have a reason to worry or mull over anything because of the sovereignty of God. The simple solution to the problem of anxiety is below....

4} Reply with Prayer. {Phil. 4:6 & 7}

When anxiety creeps into our life, we should immediately respond with prayer. It says in Scripture "by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." We need to take our worries to the One who will take care of them. Of course, it doesn't stop there. Verse seven says, "And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Ummm, what? You mean to tell me that a peace will come over me that I cannot fathom if I simply pray? Yes. Also, the LORD will guard our hearts and minds from the anxious thoughts we once had.

Isn't that amazing?!?! I think so.

Now, this is not a one and done type deal. You will struggle with it on a daily basis. When you wake up in the morning, attack it first thing. Pray that the LORD would fill you with peace and guard your heart and mind from the anxious thoughts that could creep into your mind. If you do this, the LORD will not disappoint you. Trust Him.

Here is one of my current favorite songs that I think fits what we just talked about. Take a listen!


Next week, I'll share with you the 3 Promises in Scripture the LORD gives us when we obey these four commands. Stay tuned!

*Note: Now, I realize sometimes we have so much anxiety built up in us, that we must seek a therapist. And honestly, it might be best for you, if you really struggle with anxiety. Nobody is going to judge you (at least I won't) for seeking outside help. Hey, you don't even have to tell anybody! I believe the LORD can use other people (like a therapist) to help you win this battle of anxiety.*


Hannah said...

This was really encouraging! Thanks so much for sharing! :) this is something I definitely need to focus on! :)

Anonymous said...

I randomly decided to get on your blog and I really needed this! God always knows how to send me encouragement :)