Summary: How do we live CALMly in a chaotic world?
How Do I Deal with My Anxiety?
Chenoa Baptist Church
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
The End is Here?
On January 13, 2018, someone watching the radar in Hawaii saw a strange blip. According to the radar, a missile launched from North Korea was headed directly for Hawaii!
He pushed the warning button, activating an alert signal. Soon panic engulfed Hawaii and quickly spread to the West Coast.
[Slide] For 38 minutes, many people experienced a deep terror and anxiety thinking that a nuclear war had begun between the US and North Korea and they were right at ground zero.
The alert was soon discovered to be a false alarm but for 38 minutes millions of people understood a little better how people who deal with chronic anxiety live every day.
In this time of pandemic, election conflict, racial unrest, economic instability, monster hurricanes, and ravaging fires, people are experiencing higher levels of anxiety than ever before.
If you have felt anxious in the last year, raise your hand? If you don’t have your hand raised, you are lying and that’s a whole different sermon.
We are in a little three week series called, “You Asked For It,” and last week we looked to God’s Word to answer the question, “How do you forgive yourself?”
If you didn’t join us for the live stream, you can watch it on our Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube page or on our website at www.Chenoabaptist.church.
This morning, we are going to be looking at several Scriptures that will help us answer the question, “How do I deal with my anxiety?”
Turn with me to Matthew 6.
We need to remember to always consider our text in its context. Matthew six is a part of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus lays out His manifesto for living the God-honoring life that will lead to joy and peace.
In chapter six, He addresses giving to the needy, prayer, fasting, and making sure that are worshiping God instead of money.
Let’s pick it up in verse 25:
[Slide] “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (Matt 6:25)
Jesus begins with “therefore” or “for this reason.” In other words, “Considering everything I’ve just said, listen carefully to my words.”
He begins with a command that most of us have a hard time obeying.
He says, “Do not worry or be anxious about your life.”
In other words, stop fretting, stop being weighed down by fear, stop being troubled, stop being distracted.
The Greek word for anxious is a combination of two words that means “to divide your mind.”
That’s what anxiety does. It pulls your mind in multiple directions. It gives you a bad case of the “what ifs?”
I know that God is good but what if I lose my job? What if I get sick? What if my marriage fails? What if I don’t get into that college? What if my parents get divorced? What if my children are in a car wreck?
It’s been said that anxiety gives a small thing a big shadow.
The Latin word for anxious actually means “to choke or to strangle.”
It was used in describing a wolf killing a sheep by biting the sheep’s neck and strangling it.
And that’s exactly what it feels like when the “what ifs” take over. Anxiety can strangle our joy and literally take our breath away.
“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Prov 12:25)
Jesus gives some specific examples of what He doesn’t want us worrying about:
What you will eat or drink?
Or about your body?
Or what you will wear?
Jesus’ audience was composed of very poor people who basically lived hand to mouth. They did worry about where their food would come from or if they had clean water.
There was very little in regards to healthcare and something as simple as diarrhea could cause death quickly.
Most of his hearers had one set of clothes.
In this culture of huge grocery stores, and malls, and a doctor literally on the corner of my street, it’s hard to believe that we would have anxiety over such things. But we do, don’t we?
There are three very important questions in this section. The first:
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
He’s getting at our priorities. Are we focused on the temporary or on the eternal?
Jesus then gives an example of birds.
[Slide] Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (v. 26)