Summary: Adding guilt to anxiety makes nothing better; instead, we need to have a positive spiritual approach toward dealing with surplus anxiety.
The Anxiety Battle
1. Webster defines anxiety as a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an anticipated or impending situation or a strong fearful concern
2. Supposedly the average person’s anxiety is about…
40% on things that will never happen
30% on things that have happened in the past and cannot be changed
12% on criticism of others that are usually untrue
8% on real problems that will have to be faced
3. I am skeptical about those percentages: how could you ever conduct a scientific study to determine that?
4. George Mueller was a great man of faith whose orphanage in England was sustained by one answer to prayer after another. But I do not agree with Mueller, who said, "The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety."
5. The standard sermon on anxiety runs something like this: it is a sin to worry, we shouldn’t do it…so now let’s add guilt to our worry…like that really helps! Neither does the implication that we like to worry and all we need to do is decide to stop it.
6. Anxiety is not all bad. I’ve known people who could use a little more anxiety.
7. Some parents do not watch their children properly….not worried that anything will happen to them. We label people without anxiety “reckless.”
8. In verse 8, Peter tells us to be on the alert for the devil’s tricks. That alerted and heightened sense of caution could be defined as a form of anxiety.
9. God gave us anxiety and fear for our own protection. In a fallen world, we are surrounded by danger; if we are always at ease and oblivious, many of us would not be alive today.
10. How would you like to have surgery if the surgeon’s motto was, "I don’t worry. What will be will be?" So let’s address this subject with intelligence and reasonableness.
11. Our text today is addressing worry that is either unreasonable or reasonable, but beyond our control – or perhaps a situation that we sense we can influence, but we wonder about our adequacy or wisdom.
MAIN IDEA: Adding guilt to anxiety makes nothing better; instead, we need to have a positive spiritual approach toward dealing with surplus anxiety.
I. CAST All Your Anxiety on Him
Many people cope with life’s fears by developing PRIDE and self-dependence, but the Christian is supposed to use an alternative approach.
1. Used for throwing a blanket on an animal before riding
• When you make a bed, you "cast" the sheet and blankets
• It takes time for it to register that you are anxious…
2. Probably a quotation from Psalm 55:22, " Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
3. We typically do this by prayer (Philippians 4:6-7)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
• God cares about all our needs
• Nothing is too small to bring to God…
• The idea here is that we have done what we can; we have been responsible, hard working, given matters thought…. now we need to cast matters upon God…
1. All worry is not sin –
• Note how comfortable Paul was in expressing themselves; try doing the same to a legalistic Christian, and you’ll end up as minced meat…
• Paul in I Thess. 3:1 – “So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens.”
• Or how about I Thes. 3:5 – “For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.”
• John Calvin comments: "But we are not thus bidden to cast all our care on God, as though God wished us to have strong hearts, and to be void of all feeling; but lest fear or anxiety should drive us to impatience…"
2. Worry is really in the fear family
3. Fears can be tough to conquer
• Some phobias are never conquered
In July 1992, a Los Angeles Times story on fear of heights featured an interview with the psychotherapist who heads the Anxiety Disorders Association. He reported that one of his patients could cross the 200-foot-high Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland only if his wife drove the car and locked him in the trunk.
4. But when it comes to general fears, Psalm 56:3 says, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you"