Anxiety is not just a contemporary problem. It was also an issue for the men and women who lived in biblical times. Psalm 37:7-8 says, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret.” By the time the Roman Empire ruled the world, there were plenty of reasons for anxiety. When Jesus came on the scene, He addressed the issue of worry. But while His solutions sound so simple, we still struggle to apply them.
Anxiety is a condition in which the mind is being pulled in two directions. This results in an emotional state of distress, which dominates our thoughts and disrupts our sleep. It could be fueled by present circumstances or fear of what could happen in the future. It’s basically a reaction to our circumstances, but it’s also a choice.
Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians from a cold, damp Roman prison cell, yet he continually spoke about rejoicing. Instead of being anxious, he advised the Philippians to pray about everything with thanksgiving (4:6-7). There are so many things for which we can thank God—that He walks with us through hard times, that He protects and provides, and that He always keeps His promises. When we focus on these things, God’s peace guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus no matter how difficult our circumstances may be.
Instead of giving in to worry, we can cast all our anxiety on the Lord because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). What changes do you need to make in your thought patterns, activities, and prayers in order to be free from worry? Submit those areas of your life to God and focus on God’s ability to provide. For when you trust Him, you can rest in His calming peace.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message, “Dealing With Anxiety,” airing this weekend on TV.