Recently I had to give a talk to be "previewed." I got so anxious about this. For years this was my biggest fear and I have come a long way but Satan, himself, got a hold of me that day! I finally said to God, "I trust You with my Salvation! I trust You with eternity! I trust You with my girls! Why can't I trust You for this 25 minutes? It reminds me of a cartoon a friend shared with me. The first picture, the girl is praying and asking God to strike down her biggest enemy. The next picture shows a lightening bolt striking her down. We are, too often, our own worst enemy!
Anxiety is "nothing but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in advance". What a waste. A quote I like is, "anxiety is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but gets you nowhere!" There are healthy and unhealthy fears. Healthy fears are God-given to help protect us. The unhealthy fear, the spirit of fear, is from Satan and can hold us in bondage. Paul told us in 2 Timothy 1: 7, "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
In 1965, Billy Graham said, "Historians will probably call our era 'the age of anxiety." Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us."
When I saw the sentence I thought it had just been written! Anxiety distracts us from our relationship with God. We forget Matthew 11: 25, that says God is "Lord of heaven and earth."
Anxiety at its worst, can be crippling, taking over our minds and pushing us down into darkness.
This is one verse that I do know. Philippians 4: 6-9, " Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I often forget our instructions continue in verses eight through nine. "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. 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."
I tend to give my request to God and then keep thinking about the thing causing anxiety. There are usually two voices causing my thoughts, God and Satan. Sometimes the enemy is very sneaky in our thoughts and we have a tough time figuring out who is causing our thoughts. It is a spiritual battle. Ephesians 6: 12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Even though we know some scripture we can still find ourselves listening to Satan. 2 Corinthians 10: 4, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." Scripture, God's Word, can help us demolish thoughts that are lies. God's Word is our strongest weapon to knockdown these strongholds! I know this and some people can quote it but for some reason it is difficult applying it in our own lives! I think it was best explained in an article I read, "It's the bipolar nature of every Christian who still has sin inside of them, no matter how long we have walked with the Lord or how many feats we have seen our God accomplish." I think our faith collides with fear more than we think. As someone else said, "our confessional theology doesn't always match our functional theology."
Remember our best weapon against fear is the Word of God! Here are five scriptures that we should memorize and saturate in our hearts and spirit:
Isaiah 26: 3, " You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."
Isaiah 41: 10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Deuteronomy 31: 6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Isaiah 12: 2, "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation."
Psalm 118: 6, "The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?"