How to face our fear and anxiety is clearly laid out in scripture.
Written by Gary Fleetwood on 16/10/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.
Everyone has fears, everyone becomes anxious, and everyone experiences very stressful moments in their life. Just because someone is a Christian does not exempt them from the stressful events or from the effects that fear and anxiety can produce in their life. For instance, medical science has been saying for a long time that stress, fear, and anxiety are very harmful to the body because they destroy a person’s immune system. So, the more that someone worries about things that they often cannot change, the greater will be the negative effects on their life. Stressful events are more than able to take a person’s focus off of God and to place it on their difficult circumstances. So, what we want to do is to see what God’s Word says about how a believer can actually win their battle over fear and anxiety.
What does it really mean to be “anxious”?
The word “anxious” means to become troubled, unsettled, and deeply concerned about something. It means to constantly be worrying about something that most of the time that we cannot change. It refers to the person who seems to worry about everything. Something happens in their life and they begin to worry about it so much that it consumes their thought life. They cannot rest for worrying about something. It affects their sleep and their eating, and the fear of something negative that may happen begins to control their life.
Several years ago my oldest son was working in a very dangerous part of the world. He had to travel every day on what was considered at that time as the most dangerous 10 miles of road in the world. Obviously, it was something that made our family very anxious. However, it was during that time that God began to teach me about Philippians 4:6-7 and it became one of my two life verses. What I learned was how to handle that which made me anxious.
So, what is God’s solution to fear and anxiety in our life?
God’s solution is simple. It is to bring our concerns to Him in prayer and He will provide His peace in our life – which He did for me about my son’s daily safety. These verses do not say that God will change our difficult and stressful circumstances, but rather that God will provide an inner and supernatural peace that will “guard” and protect our heart and mind so that our difficult circumstances will no longer consume our life. Rather than always being anxious about my son’s safety, I simply began to pray each morning for God to protect him. Rather than worrying about something that I could not change or control, I began committing my son into God’s care each day. Once that happened, God’s supernatural peace began to deeply influence my heart and mind and helped me to rest in His control over all things.
What does it mean to “guard” our heart and mind?
The word “guard” means to keep someone safe with a military guard. Everywhere that the President of the United States goes, he always has people guarding him. That is the idea with the word “guard”. It is knowing that God will always protect the believer’s heart and mind so that worrying and being afraid will not consume their life. Some people seem to worry about everything in life. Almost anything can make them anxious, and as soon as something goes wrong, they begin to worry. What that anxiety does is to immediately take their heart and mind off of God. In reality, God is always the believer’s solution to anxiety and fear. Jesus provided a great encouragement in Matthew 6:25-26:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
So, what God does when the believer comes to Him in prayer is to “guard” their heart, protect their heart, and shield their heart from things that He knows can hurt them. He is always wanting us to trust Him in every difficult circumstance of our life.
Can fear or anxiety be a good thing?
It is important to understand that some level of fear and anxiety often can be a good thing because it forces us to be more careful and to be much more cautious. I love to work with wood and have been making things for over 40 years. Several years ago I was working next to a wood machine, my hand too close to it and part of my thumb was cut off. Today, I am so respectful of that saw that I will never make that same mistake again. In fact, I have made a guard and I use it every time I have to use the wood machine. So, in my case, having a healthy fear is a very good thing. It is the fear of what the saw can do to me that actually keeps me safe. So, what we want to see in this series is how God actually uses the things that make us afraid as His supernatural tools to strengthen our life to trust Him in every circumstance of our life. Coming to God in the midst of troubling and stressful situations is always God’s solution to fear and anxiety.
Pray this week:
Father, will you please help me to see how you are able to use the stressful moments of my life to draw me closer into your supernatural peace?
Are you willing to make a list of all of the different things that you are constantly worrying about and then commit them each day to your heavenly Father with a grateful heart as to what He is doing through those stressful moments to draw you closer to Him?
Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member