Worship: The Antidote to Anxiety

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All of us deal with anxiety to some extent. Some more than others. It is difficult not to be anxious, especially in today's fast-paced culture that expects more of us than ever before. To think that we can create a worry-free life is naïve, but God has given us a powerful tool to help us deal with anxiety and find true joy even in the midst of adversity and trials. Philippians 4:4-9 gives us six steps to overcome anxiety.

Step #1--Rejoice in the Lord always. To rejoice means to be exceedingly glad. The emphasis is not on finding joy in what is happening or has happened, but in what God is doing and will do. To rejoice in the Lord always does not mean to be happy, but to find joy in God's future provision.

Step #2-- Let your gentleness be evident to all. The encouragement is to strive to respond in gentleness in the midst of difficult circumstances. It is hard to be gentle when you are stressed. What helps is to focus on what God is doing, not on what is happening. Don't forget that Paul tells us the Lord is near, ever-present. I don't have to worry.

Step #3--Do not be anxious about anything. This does mean not to worry, but it means so much more. It actually means not to fall into the trap of looking out for or promoting your own interests; don't try to make things work out for your best; avoid self-reliance. Let God be your sole source of provision. Make your requests known to Him and He will take care of it for you.

Step #4—Accept God’s gift of peace. The word peace means rest and safety. It literally means exemption from the rage and havoc of war. This step is the result of following the first three--rejoicing in the Lord, being gentle and not being anxious. Steps one, two and three are steps we take toward God. Steps four and five are steps God takes towards us in response.

Step #5—Accept God’s gift of safety. This is the second step that God takes towards us. Paul says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) The word guard literally means to protect by military guard; to prevent hostile invasion. He will keep the enemy from penetrating your heart and your mind. This will bring a peace that doesn't make sense. You can hear the bombs going off around you, but for some strange reason, you aren't worried and you will sleep like a baby.

Step #6—Meditate on God’s Word. It is imperative that I train my mind to keep going back to the truth; what is right and lovely, not ugly; what is good, not what is bad. To think on means to decide; agree with; to focus on facts, not suppositions. Do this and the God of Peace will be with you. He won't just send us peace. He himself, the God who is Peace, will come along side us! What a powerful promise. I want more than just peace. I want the Peace-maker.

So, when you are feeling a little anxious, follow these simple steps that will lead you to peace and safety. Remember that you have a choice. You can either be a victim of your circumstances, or you can take action and through Christ, be a victor in the midst of your circumstances.


ryan said...

This is so good. I've been working through some similar ideas, though these things seem so simplistic.

sjebersole said...

"It is imperative that I train my mind to keep going back to the truth"... key point, David. Probably one reason I like songs in worship that have us sing the attributes and promises of God. It instills the truth deeper into our mind.

sjebersole said...

My friend just posted this quote..seemed to go along with your post:
"The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety." —George Muller

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