PART ONE: Anxious for Nothing
The Bible has a lot to say about Anxiety, but the word itself may not be found all that often. It is found 8 times in the English Standard Version…In the New International Version, it is found 7 times. However, there are several Synonyms for Anxiety like Trouble, Heaviness, Distress, and Cares that are used in its place…The specific causes of anxiety are probably more than can be enumerated, but a few examples from the Bible point to some general causes.
In Genesis 32, Jacob is returning home after many years away. One of the reasons he had left home was to escape the anger of his brother, Esau, from whom Jacob had stolen the birthright and blessing from their father…as Jacob nears his homeland, he hears that Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men. Jacob is immediately anxious, expecting a horrible battle with his brother. In this case, the anxiety is caused by a broken relationship and a guilty conscience.
1 Samuel 1, Hannah is distressed because she was unable to conceive children and she was being taunted by Peninnah, her husband’s other wife. Her distress is caused by unfulfilled desires and the harassment of a rival.
In Esther 4, the Jewish people are anxious because of a royal decree allowing them to be massacred. Queen Esther is anxious because she was planning to risk her life on behalf of her people. Fear of death and the unknown is a key element of anxiety.
Not All Anxiety is Sinful. In 1 Corinthians 7:32, Paul states that an unmarried man is “anxious” about pleasing the Lord, while a married man is “anxious” about pleasing his wife. In this Case, the Anxiety isn’t a Sinful Fear…But a Deep, Proper Concern.
Matthew 6:33 says Rather than worry over things we cannot control, we should “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [All the Necessities of Life] will be added to you”. We are Told that Putting God First is the Cure for Anxiety.
Many times, the Anxiety a Person Experiences is a Result of Sin, and the Cure is to Deal with the Sin…And that the Person Whose Sin is Forgiven is Blessed, and the Heavy Weight of Guilt is Taken Away when Sins are Confessed.
In Psalm 32:1-5 King David confessing his Sin with Bathsheba says, Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
King David’s experience with Sin makes it clear that when we do not confess Sin our life will be negatively impacted…BUT…When We Confess Sin…We Are Made Whole!
2 Cor. 13:11 says If a broken relationship is creating anxiety…Try to make Peace.
Psalm 68:20 makes it clear that If fear of the unknown is leading to anxiety…Turn the Situation Over to the God who Knows Everything and is in Control of it All. Simply, Put Your Faith in God Alone.
TEXT: Phil 4:4-8 Final Exhortations “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.
Phil 4:6 is written in the Present Tense…That means that “The Presence of Anxiety is Unavoidable…But Paul Makes it Clear that The Prison of Anxiety is Optional”
Phil 4: 4-8: In these 5 Verses Paul Gives Us 4 Admonitions that lead to One Wonderful Promise Verse-7 that being…“The Peace of God, which Surpasses All Understanding, will Guard Your Hearts and Minds In Christ Jesus.”
In Verse-4 Paul says Celebrate Gods Goodness. Rejoice. In Verse-6 Paul says Ask God for Help. Let Your REQUEST be Made KNOWN to GOD. In Verse-6 Paul says Leave Your Concerns with Him. With THANKSGIVING. Verse-8 Says Meditate on Good Things. Think about Things that are Praiseworthy
· Notice that the First Letters of Celebrate, Ask, Leave & Meditate spell the word CALM
It is Not Gods Will that you lead a life of Perpetual Anxiety. It is Not His Will that You face every day with Fear, Dread and Trepidation. He Made you for More than a Life of Breath-stealing angst and mind-splitting worry…He has a New Chapter for Your Life. And He is Ready to Write it.
How can a person obey this command to Rejoice Always? Is it Possible for a person to maintain a spirit of Gladness? NO!!! This is Not Paul’s Challenge! This Challenge is Not a Call to a Feeling…But to a Decison and Deeply-Rooted Confidence that God Exists, and that He is in Control and that GOD is GOOD.
Your belief system is Your answer to the Fundamental Questions about life. Your belief system is the set of Convictions upon which Your Faith Depends. SO…To Change the Way You Respond to Life. You Must Change What You Believe About Life!
One of the Foundations of Faith is the Sovereignty of God. Sovereignty is the term the Bible uses to describe Gods Perfect Control and Management of the Universe…And that Also means Perfect Control and Management of Your Life.
Anxiety is the end-result of “Perceived” Chaos! If we Sense we are Victims of unseen, turbulent, random forces…We are Troubled…And Seek to Take Control, Causing More Stress! The Bible’s Solution: Instead of Seeking Total Control, Relinquish it to Jesus! You Can’t Run the World…But You Can Entrust it to God!
Paul believed in the steady hand of a Good God…Phil 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His Good Purpose”. Like Paul we are Protected by God’s Strength and We are Preserved by God’s Love. The Great Truth for the Christian is we live beneath the shadow of God’s Wings! Psalm 91:1 says, “Whoever Dwells in the Shelter of the Most-High will Rest in the Shadow of the Almighty.”
We are to Stabilize Our Soul with the Sovereignty of God. He Reigns Supreme Over Every Detail of the Universe. Proverbs 21:30 There is No Wisdom, No Insight, No Plan that Can Succeed Against the LORD. Lamentations 3:37-38 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most-High that both calamities and good things come?
Believing in the Sovereignty of God Gives the Saint the Inside Track to Peace. Understand. Others see the Problems of the World and Wring their Hands. We see the Problems of the World and Bend Our Knees.
Lam. 3: 21-26 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion Therefore, I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD”.
KEY: The Mind at the Same Time Can Not be Full of God and Full of Fear! Your Anxiety Passes as Your Trust Increases.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” We find this same message in Psalm One
FACT: A Harsh Consequence of Guilt is Anxiety…Behind the Frantic Expressions on the Faces of Humanity is Unresolved Regret…A person with unresolved guilt is anxious, forever hiding, running, denying and pretending. Continually Anxious!
Again, as we heard from King David in Psalm 32: 3-4 “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”
Paul said he was the Chief of all Sinners…He had Persecuted the Church…What did Paul do…He gave his Guilt to Jesus he did not try to hide it! Phil 3: 13-14 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Paul simply Cast Himself Upon the Grace of Christ Alone! In Gods Grace Paul Served the Lord!
KEY…A Happy Christian is one who is at the same time Aware of the Severity of Sin and the Immensity of Grace. Sin is Not Diminished…Nor is God’s Ability to Forgive it. The Christian Dwells in Grace, Not Guilt.
I Want You to Embrace this Truth…When we Know and Accept that our Salvation has Nothing to do with Our Work and Everything to do with the Finished Work of Christ on the Cross We Have Gods Peace.
There is a reason your windshield is larger than the rear-view mirror. Your Future Matters More than Your Past! When You and I Fully Understand this Truth…We Will Live in Victory Each and Every Day!
One Day we will all stand before God. Each of us will Have to Give and Account of our lives, Every thought, Deed and Action. Were it Not for the Grace of Christ I would find this a very Terrifying thought. On the Day when I appear before the Judgment seat of Christ… When my list of Sins is Produced…I will Gesture Toward Christ and say, “He Took It!”
Henri Nouwen tells about the lesson of Trust he learned from a family of Trapeze Artists known as the Flying Rodleighs. When he asked for the secret of the trapeze artists…He was told that the Secret was that the Flyer Does Nothing and the Catcher Does Everything! The Flyer went on to explain what he meant, he said, When I fly to my Catcher, I have Simply to Stretch Out My Arms and Hands and wait for him to Catch Me and Pull Me Safely over the apron…He went on to say that the Worst Thing the Flyer Can Do is to Try to Catch the Catcher as that could cause all sorts of problems and possible injury to both.
SIMPLY…A Flyer Must Fly and a Catcher Must Catch…The Flyer Must TRUST with Outstretched arms that his Catcher will be there for him. In the Great Trapeze Act of Salvation… God is the Catcher and…We are the Flyer! We Trust Period…We Rely Solely upon God’s Ability to Catch Us and as we do a Wonderful Thing Happens…WE FLY! ITS ALL ABOUT TRUST…
AND TRUST LEADS US TO HAVING GODS PEACE BECOME OUR PEACE. Phil 4:7 “The Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”
Jesus gave us examples of Peace Amidst a Storm: Storms can be Howling Winds on a Sea…Or they can be a Layoff…A Disease…Covid 19…A Rejection of some kind…We face One Storm after Another and…The Question we often Ask is “Can I Survive this One?”
Phil 4…makes it clear as we do our part…Rejoice in the Lord. Pursue a Gentile Spirit. Pray about everything Clinging to a Grateful Heart of Thanksgiving…God Does His Part!
God Our Father Gives Us the Very Peace of God…He literally Downloads the Tranquility of the Throne Room into Our World…Into Our Lives, Resulting in an Inexplicable CALM!
Martin Luther penned these words: A Mighty Fortress is Our God, A Bulwark Never Failing, Our Helper He, Amid the Flood of Mortal Ills Prevailing! PRAISE GOD!
IN ACTS 27 Paul was Shipwrecked: In the Midst of Shipwreck Paul Sites Gods Promise to the Captain and he was Ignored…The Result a massive shipwreck…
Unlike the Captain…In the Midst of a Storm…Financial, Physical, Relational… When the Storm is Coming at you from all sides…Let God Speak to YOU… Stand on His Promises Trust Him…And Let Him Give You His Perfect Peace!
DON’T IGNORE GODS WARNINGS: The Sailors Ignored Gods Warnings… Afterwards, Paul Scolded them…Likewise, Sometimes We Need to Receive Gods Rebuke! God’s Word tells us that He Corrects those He Loves…Then…Instead of Despairing we are too Learn from Our Poor Choices…Acts 27:23 Provides Us 3 Promises from God:
· Verse 23: Heaven has Helpers to Help You. “There stood by me this night an Angel” [Daniel 10 speaks about peace as we wait for the Lord’s Angel to arrive]
· Verse 23: Heaven has a Place for You. “For there stood by me this night an Angel of the God to Whom I Belong” John 10:14 Jesus said, I am the Good Shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me You have Peace in the midst of the storm because You are Not Alone, You Belong to God.
· Verse 23: You are in the Lords Service: “There Stood by me this night an Angel of the God to Whom I belong, And Whom I Serve.” Like Paul, God has Given Each of Us a Clear Message of what He Wants to Accomplish with our Lives (PS 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”.
God Has Never Promised a Life with No Storms (You have heard me say God Gives every Christian a Rose Garden…However a Rose Garden has a Lot of Thorns But until You Thank God for the Thorns You Will Never Truly Be Thankful for the Roses!
The Story of Jehoshaphat: 2 Chon. 20…Surrounding Nations (Overwhelming odds) Came to do War with Israel…Verse 3: He Set Himself to Seek the Lord. He proclaimed a Fast throughout all Judea…Verse 6-12: He cried out to God in Prayer…He Confessed…We Have No Power…Nor do we know what to do…But Our Eyes Are Upon YOU! God responded with this message: Do Not Be Afraid Nor Dismayed Because of this Great Multitude, For the Battle is NOT YOURS…BUT GODS!
Jehoshaphat so Believed God that He Marched into Battle with Singers Up Front! He knew the battle was a Spiritual One, So He Led with Worship and Praise and GOD Provided…The Opposing Nations Turned on Each other and Jehoshaphat Never Lifted a Sword in Battle…And when it was done…They reaped the rewards of what the enemy left behind. This is What God Wants to do for Us every day of Our Lives!
Here is What God is Saying to You Today…When A Trial or Massive Problem Confronts You…Take Your Eyes Off the Problem…Kick Anxiety to the Curb…Trust God and LEAD IN WORSHIP…First, Go to God in Prayer and Praise…Confess to Him Your Fears…Gather with the Brothers and Sisters of our Church and…Set Your Face Toward Gods Goodness and Faithfulness!
Expect to See the God of the Ages Fight for You…He is Near as Your Next Breath! Isaiah 43:2 “When You Pass Through the Waters, I Will Be With You”
POINT: If You Try To Run Your Life It Will Be Filled with Anxiety…But If You Entrust Each Day to God You Will Know His Perfect Peace!