Summary: God wants us to experience peace with others and in our hearts. This happens as we walk in unity and overcome anxiety.
TRIUMPHANT JOY #6: KEEP CALM AND OVERCOME ANXIETY!
INTRO TO TOPIC: Have you seen all of the “Keep Calm and Carry on” posters? Keep calm and Dance… Play Football… Make Coffee… Call Batman… Stay Awesome… Avoid Zombies…
• So many people in the world today struggle with anxiety, worry and stress.
THE BIG IDEA: God wants us to experience peace with others and in our hearts. This happens as we walk in unity and overcome anxiety.
I. PEACE WITH OTHERS:
“1 Dear brothers and sisters, I love you and long to see you, for you are my joy and the reward for my work. So please stay true to the Lord, my dear friends. 2 And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true teammate, to help these women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. And they worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.” (Phil. 4:1-3, NKJV).
• There was division among the leaders in the church. Division can destroy a church!
• Paul’s challenge: “settle your disagreement” = walk in unity and be at peace.
GOD WANTS US TO WALK IN UNITY:
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21).
• If the church could walk in love and unity, Jesus said the world could be saved!
• Division is only one of many things that can cause stress and anxiety.
II. EXPERIENCING INNER PEACE:
WHAT IS ANXIETY? “Anxiety is anticipating the worst possible scenario in the future and freaking out about it.” (Mark Driscoll). This is the opposite of peace!
i) WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY?
• Constant noise. iPods, iPhones, Blackberries.
• The 24 hour lifestyle. Versus the rhythm of creation: the sun goes down, you go to bed.
• Fractured family systems. Disconnection from meaningful community - no relationships.
• Financial pains. Need a job. Need a raise. Too many bills. Back-to-school expenses!
• World crisis, wars, terrorism, tsunamis and other weather disasters, economic crises.
ii) HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE STRESSED? The experts say:
• Unusual mood swings. Anger. You’re angry all the time or depressed.
• Exhaustion. You’re emotionally overwhelmed.
• Insomnia. You can’t sleep.
• Self-medicating. Too frequent use of alcohol, tobacco, or overeating.
• Reckless driving.
THE QUESTION: How many of you are stressed out, anxious or freaked out?
The world says: “you need: behavioral therapy, anti-depressants, minor tranquilizers, exercise and alternative treatments like yoga, aromatherapy and acupuncture.”
III. SEVEN BIBLE DISCIPLINES TO OVERCOMING ANXIETY:
(1) Anchor your joy in Jesus, not your circumstances.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4).
- Rejoice in the Lord, not in the trial or suffering. Rejoice that Jesus is with you in the midst of the difficulty! Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life.
(2) Respond with gentleness.
“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” (4:5a).
- Typically when people are anxious or stressed out, they aren’t gentle.
- Have you ever sent an angry e-mail immediately wished you hadn’t?
- Gentleness is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit working in your life.
(3) Remember that Jesus is always with you.
“The Lord is at hand.” (4:5b). That means He is close/near to you.
(4) Refuse to be anxious.
“Be anxious for nothing” (4:6a).
- Just as much as rejoicing is a choice, so is the refusal to worry.
(5) Pray to God for help.
“but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (4:6b).
- Talk to Jesus about what you’re freaking out about and receive His peace.
(6) Meditate on the Word.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.” (4:8).
- Too many people are meditating on the bad news in the world – Syria, Egypt, tensions between Israel & Palestine, etc. Causing stress & anxiety!
- What are we to mediate on? God’s Word. God’s love, grace, hope, etc.
(7) Walk in obedience to the Bible.
“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (4:9).