Summary: Anxiety and worry come from trying to grab a hold of something that doesn't belong to us. Control of the situations that surround us. The Bible makes clear we are to control our responses to our environment and to others. We should seek self-control.
Intro: The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. George Muller Massena, one of Napoleon's generals, suddenly appeared with 18,000 soldiers before an Austrian town which had no means of defending itself. The town council met, certain that capitulation was the only answer. The old dean of the church reminded the council that it was Easter, and begged them to hold services as usual and to leave the trouble in God's hands. They followed his advice. The dean went to the church and rang the bells to announce the service. The French soldiers heard the church bells ring and concluded that the Austrian army had come to rescue the town. They broke camp, and before the bells had ceased ringing, vanished.
Worry ultimately comes from trying to wrestle something from God that doesn’t belong to us. As I have said before most of the problems we have spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically result from us seeking to have control of something we have no power to control. Worry is care and concern gone overboard.
In our day where we see the signs of the times pointing to the soon return of Jesus. Isis taking over the eastern world. Muslims infiltrating Western Europe and the United States. Economic, social, ethnic and racial problems seem to be on the rise. How do we face all of these concerns and not be overwhelmed with anxiety, worry or fear?
If we are followers of Christ the first place we look is to God’s word!!
I. Consider God’s word (Read Philippians 4:6-7)
As we look into the truth of God’s word we will find He has much to say about anxiety, worry and fear. The context of the Philippian passage is the nearness of God in 4:5.
A) The command of God against anxiety
Don’t worry about anything. Paul leaves us no room for guessing. He uses a word that is a present imperative or command in the Greek. Paul used this word to stress to us that not worrying should be the normal habit and patter of our life.
So that we wouldn’t be confused in any way he used a word that carries very visual language. It communicates the idea of dividing into parts or being distracted. When we worry we are allowing situations divide our attention and distract us from Jesus.
The devil loves to distract us from the goodness and grace of God. Someone once said well, “Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.”
Matthew 6:25-34 (read) Jesus clearly tells us don’t worry.
B) The correction of God for anxiety
So if we are commanded by Jesus not to worry does that me we don’t look at the world realistically? No!! We don’t look at the world with rose colored glasses. We are called of God to look at the world with grace colored glasses.
From the Biblical and spiritual point of view worry is wrong thinking in the head and wrong feeling in the heart. However the worst thing you can do to someone when they are worrying is to tell them read Philippians 4:6, 7 and just stop it. Worry and anxiety are an inside job. Good intentions to not get rid of worry. It takes a mind secure in the faithfulness of God.
1) A call for renewed confidence in God
Paul’s call to prayer and petition and thanksgiving is a clear call for us to look and lean confidently on the Lord. When we pray we are trusting that God is not only able to hear but to act.
It is also a recognizing of God’s knowledge of who we are and what we face. God is not ignorant of the advance of Isis, He is not ignorant of the falling away of America, He is not ignorant of the looming financial collapse. Neither is He ignorant of your family issues, financial, mental, physical or spiritual pressures.
In fact He told us very clearly what our days would be like today. Job 14:1 “Man born of woman is short of days and full of trouble.” Acts 14:22 “strengthening the[d] disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, “It is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God.” John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
2) A call for renewed confidence in God’s word.
Are you willing to call God a liar? Worry and anxiety look God’s word and character in the face and call Him a liar. We will never be rid of worry and anxiety by focusing on not worrying or being anxious. Someone said it very well, “I've joined the new Don't Worry Club, and now I hold my breath. I'm so scared I'm going to worry that I'm worried half to death.” We are not called to fight anxiety we are called to abandon it.