Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Anxiety and fear can be found everywhere today. Look within homes, businesses, hospitals, or out on the streets, the pervading feeling is a generalized sense of fear. It’s hard to tell whether someone is afraid of you contaminating them or simply trying to give someone else space due to social distancing guidelines. With masks covering people’s expressions, non-verbal communication is losing its ability to simply share a smile or show disapproval. When fear is prevalent, it can manifest itself in several ways. Fear affects every aspect of an individual and can be internalized for years causing long lasting harm.
If we don’t confront invasive processes such as anxiety head on, they will creep into our lives without much notice and leave a trail of tears. Fatigue and anger are manifestations of anxiety that cause limitations in our ability to have meaningful relationships or hold down jobs. Physical and mental degradation can go unnoticed until it reaches its apex and our systems just begin to shut down.
Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.”
From hair loss to headaches, heart failure to autoimmune disease, anxiety causes havoc.
God’s Word addresses fear and anxiety because God knows we are vulnerable to attack. The enemy of our souls likewise knows that fear is a major portal to controlling people and leading them astray. Fear of change, fear of the future, fear of relinquishing control, these are all topics I’ve tried to address in the past. Instead of “dealing with anxiety”, through self-help books or counseling, why don’t we go on the offensive. Instead of taking one incoming shell after another, suffering through a bombardment of attacks that can leave us cowering and isolated, why not lay hold of the power God has supplied and confront the enemy head on? I believe that is what God wants us to do.
A War Strategy
- Prayer and Petition
Recognizing the threat is the first step in formulating a strategy. Knowing we are under attack exposes the sinister tactics the enemy uses in covert operations of evil. Once we see that anxiety is not something we have to endure, we can take the necessary steps toward freedom. Knowing where our strength comes from and relying on that strength is important in a master strategy.
Jeremiah 16:19 “O LORD, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, The Gentiles shall come to You From the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.”
The lie of the enemy says that the fear is your problem. The lie continues to say that if you don’t exercise some measure of fear then you will be caught unaware and you’ll be unprepared when the day arrives and those fears are realized. The final lie is when you realize that those fears were all an illusion and on your deathbed understand it was all a hoax.
Fear causes sleeplessness, overeating, and other obsessive tendencies that we tend to do when dwelling on the subject at hand. When we take our minds off of the potential dilemma and place our minds on God’s provision, through prayer and petition, we relegate the responsibility to Him.
Prayer places the uncertainty of our future in the hands of the One who loves us.
Petition is simply presenting your requests before Him and then listening.
What is it that weighs upon the heart? If you just take the time to tell Him, placing your trust in God’s path and provision you will see the Lord moving faithfully on your behalf. I was talking with a very experience ICU nurse today about all the stories he had heard patients tell him regarding near death experiences. Believe it or not, these experiences happen more frequently than you might realize. Every patient that had a taste of Heaven had lost all fear of death. The yearning for what was to come superseded any concern about the longevity of life.
1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
The hope that is on the horizon is far more valuable than living an extra day on this earth. We may have fear regarding how we might die but when that moment comes, peace is the response for those who longingly look forward to standing in the presence of the Lord.
- A good Word
Encouraging one another and lifting each other up in prayer is a remedy for anxiety as well. When others bring a perspective that changes our paradigm, it shifts our vision from some of the false conclusions we tend to make to a view that brings hope.
Reading the Word of God each day, even for a short while gives a depth of spiritual insight that peers beyond the confrontations of this world. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs which, if read each day, implants the wisdom of God’s Word into your heart. Psalms brings worship, the gospels bring truth, prophecy brings a perspective of hope, and Old Testament stories are reminders of God’s faithfulness.
Make a short list of all that God has been faithful in, you will soon realize that God has had a hand guiding you throughout your life. His faithfulness through every difficult moment in life will continue, God’s love does not have an expiration date.
Psalm 57:9 “I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations.”
Out of thanksgiving arises praise. Praise Him in the morning, praise Him in the evening…when we worship the Lord, the Spirit of God lifts our spirits up to Him. If necessary, find a quiet place of solitude and allow your voice to be heard on high, shout if you must and you’ll find these intimate moments of interaction uplifting.
You will know when anxiety and fear begin to dissipate because the residual peace is overwhelming, it will carry you through every circumstance and your strength will become evident to all.
Isaiah 53:4 “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.”
The pattern of going on the offensive against the arrows of the enemy are founded in God’s power. You are protected by the full armor of God, the battle is not one that can be lost because Jesus has already won it.
Keep this in mind regarding fear—–you don’t have to take it!
We so often resolve to carry the weight of so many things that we were never meant to bear. Cast off that which weighs you down and walk in Freedom.