Summary: How to fight Anxiety
Philippians 4:4-9 June 8, 2008
Dealing with anxiety
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
What causes you anxiety?
Anxiety and the temptation to take control
I think that the things in life that cause us anxiety are the things that are out of our control. We can control the amount of work that goes into a project; we can’t control the project’s success. We can start a journey, we can’t control if an accident will end the journey to soon. We can ask people to do things for us, we can’t control if they will do them. We can express love for someone, we cannot control if they will love us back. We can try to keep shame secret, but we can’t always control if the secret gets out. Are you anxious now?
I think that there is a great temptation to try to control the things that we were never meant to control. Many people will be tempted to step outside of God’s ways to gain control – they’ll try love potion #9, they’ll cook the books, they’ll resort to force…
Or we try to control everything we possibly can around the uncontrollable thing
- King Saul
5 The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand [c] chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, "Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings." And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
11 "What have you done?" asked Samuel.
Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ’Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering."
13 "You have done a foolish thing," Samuel said. "You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command."
Anxiety can get us in trouble – what do we do with it?
Rejoice! – so good, he says it twice
- Not “be happy all the time,” But rejoice in the Lord. Regardless of our situation, God remains the same, and he is worth celebrating.
- Even in the most difficult of situations, we can be glad for a visit from a good friend – it is the same with rejoicing in God – we do not ignore the situations that we find ourselves in, but we allow his presence to bring us joy.
- Take the focus off yourself and your anxieties, and place it on the Solid Rock that is God.
- This is not a “cure” for anxiety – it is more prevention than cure – like taking your vitamins – make sure that you fill your day with praise for \god, but be sure to have some concerted time each day that celebrates God’s goodness – he deserves it, and it will keep you from anxiety
- Sing a song, listen to praise music, read a psalm, speak you praise and worship to him, dance, meditate on his goodness – do something!