Monday, January 28, 2013

An Anxiety-Ridden Society

Why are we anxious? Why do we spend our time obsessing over things that may come to be or have happened in the past that we can't change? Anxiety is a very real temptation to most people in every age group (see this list of temptations by generation courtesy of Chris Clevenger's blog). Today, let's examine why it matters, and why we really need to stop.

In my previous post on the subject, I listed a few ways that we can replace worry in our lives with something else. Today, I want to talk about why we need to stop worrying, even though it will be extremely difficult to do.

The apostle Paul wrote to the brethren at Philippi and said, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6)." Why is it that when this same apostle says "abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thess. 4:3)", we take that as a command and implement it into our daily lives, and yet when he says, "don't be anxious", we say 'I can't quit!'.

Previously, we have talked about complaining, and why the Bible tells us that we shouldn't: "that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Phil.2:15)." Could this not be one of the same reasons that we shouldn't worry?

Think about it this way: the Bible calls us to be set apart from the rest of the world. We are told not to be conformed (Rom. 12:1-2), but instead to be transformed by renewing our minds--by changing the way we think. Anxiety and worry are mind sins. They are things that we can do, rather frequently, without anyone else knowing about them. And yet, these things manifest themselves in other areas, such as making us physically sick, making us rant about them on Facebook, or making us talk about them constantly with others. These latter characteristics are ones that, I don't know about you, but I constantly see from people of the world. They obsess over things that are out of their control, they make themselves sick worrying over what might happen in the future (never considering God may not give them that time).

As Christians, if we stop putting our faith and trust in God Almighty and start worrying and obsessing over things in our lives, we are looking exactly like the world. And what was it that Paul said to the Philippians? That Christians are to shine as lights in the world. They are to remain blameless and harmless in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

It makes us crooked and perverse to behave like the world. From what Scripture tells us, the crooked and perverse will not be in heaven. If you read my blog regularly, then I know you want to be in heaven. I know that you know I want to be in heaven. That is why I have to stop worrying.

Jesus commanded it in Matthew 6, saying "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on." We all know that the way we show our love for God is by doing the things that He has commanded (1 John 2:3, 5:2-3). If Jesus has commanded that we not worry, and yet we worry all the time, are we showing that we love Him? Do we love Him?

Worry is one of those sins that is hard to overcome. Just a few days ago, I got in my head that something terrible would happen to Robert and me as we journey overseas in the coming months. But you know what I had to do? I had to stop, sit down, and pray to my Father about it. If I had a concern over my safety, who else could I go to but the One who watches over me, and everyone else, constantly? And since then? Well sure, there are times when those thoughts pop in my head, but I know that God will watch over me, and that if something were to happen to me, I would get to see my Father face to face.

Often times, we worry because we lack faith in God. So that thing you're worrying about comes to fruition! Are you still God's child? Then what is there to be bothered by? If you are worried about your safety and health, are you not confident in your salvation when you pass from this life? If you are worried about your bills being paid, are you not confident in Jesus' words that God will take care of our necessities? In whatever thing it is we worry about, we need to trust God more in that situation.

This week, let us all purpose in our hearts to beat worry. It is an ever-present temptation for me, and one that I must battle every single day. And yet, I know that all things are possible in Christ, and He will help me overcome all temptation so that I can get that crown of life (Rev. 2:10).

So, before you write that post on Facebook, think about how it makes you look. Does it look like a status the rest of the world would write, or does it seem different? Does it have confidence in the Creator and trust in His timing and plans? Before we tweet those 140 characters, let us make sure that we fully trust that all things are in God's hands. Before we do anything, let us pray that God will provide for our needs and take care of our insecurities, and that He will use us as a light to this crooked and perverse generation.

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