Summary: Christ who is the ultimate honorable, just, pure, and lovely truth worthy of praise will take our anxieties and fill us with what is honorable, just, pure, and lovely.
It’s Christmas time again, in a little over the week we will be celebrating Jesus’s birthday. Many of us will be visiting family, eating big belly busting dinner followed and maybe preceded by Christmas cookies. And of course ripping open presents.
What a hectic time of year.
I mean, how many of you have finished your Christmas shopping?
Mailed all your gifts and cards?
Done all your baking?
How many of you are wondering how you are going to pay for all of the fun of Christmas?
If that wasn’t enough there are all the parties, trying to get work done before the holidays.
It all builds up and before you know it you are like Clark Griswold going nuts from the strain and stress and anxiety of trying to put together the perfect family Christmas.
We are not alone in facing anxiety in life. Everybody at some time or another has faced it. 2000 years ago the good people of Philippi felt it.
And so when Paul wrote them he encouraged them not to be anxious but to place it all on the wide shoulders of Christ.
As we face our own anxieties.
Be they the looming deadline at work
Getting the checkbook to balance when the cost of living is rising faster than your paycheck
That huge science project your teacher just assigned
Despite the fact that we want to avoid creating anxiety in our life. We seem to do our best to create more even when we have good intentions.
There have been a few times I wanted to do something for Julie, and that is a good thing, right? Well, she had a specific way of doing it but I being the rather stubborn I refused to do it her way even though it really didn’t cost me anything to do it her way, which of course got her mad and myself mad. All of this anxiety created because we were both too stubborn to give an inch toward the other.
In our sin we create anxiety and it frightens us
But we are not alone in our fear anxiety
I once heard a story about two guys named bill and Joey who were both on the High School dive team. Bill and Joey were best friends and often practiced diving together. Joey was the better of the two friends but Bill didn’t mind too much but he was bothered because his friend never did well in dive meets because he would always get so uptight during the meet. So, during one competition Bill tried to get Joey’s mind off of the competition by acting like they were in practice. Bill started joking and acting silly and on the first dive, he jumped off yelling, “Joey, watch me, I am an eagle”. Joey followed and pulled off a near perfect dive. On the next go around Bill did the same thing yelling “look at me I am jumping over the moon”. Joey again followed with a near perfect dive. Later they began to announce the winners of the competition. As they gradually worked their way up the awards, Bill started getting nervous for his friend. When they finally announced that Joey had gotten 2nd place, bill was thrilled for his friend because he had never ranked that high before, but he wondered who managed to beat him. Boy was Bill surprised when they announced he took first place.
Bill and Joey had been plagued by there anxieties to the point that it hampered their ability to perform.
The trick in facing our fears and anxiety isn’t so much going for positive affirmations and ego boosts or even distracting ourselves from our fears
It is Christ Jesus The son of God
When I said we are not alone I meant it because
Christ has been there
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Mark records that Jesus felt deeply troubled and pained while John writes that And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Sweating drops of blood, don’t you think that he was feeling our pain?
The apostle Paul knows that we collect our anxieties like a pack rat collects knickknacks and he encourages us to toss them into the hands of Christ, the God of peace; he also encourages us that instead of filling our heads with worries and doubts we should fill them with things that are honorable, just, pure, lovely, and all things worthy of praise.
Christ can fill up on the good stuff and leave no room for the bad, good things such as honorable actions.
Sergeant 1st class Randall Shughart was a member of the Army Special forces and in 1993 he volunteered for a mission that left with little chance for survival but the sergeant could not bear to see his fellow service men be left on the battlefield wounded and at the hands of an angry mob, and so, he and a fellow sniper fought their way through the enemy filled mazes of Mogadishu Somalia to the four critically injured crew members of a downed Blackhawk helicopter. After pulling the crewmen to safety, he placed himself between them and an overwhelming number of enemies defending his comrades until his ammunition ran out, it cost him his life but it saved the crew of the Blackhawk. For his actions, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.