What Being Anxious Can Do For You
Anxiety is not often something many Christians tend to think about as sin. If you’re like me, you might even think that worrying about something is, in some roundabout way, being responsible because of the time you are investing in considering all the outcomes. At least, we may think, we will be prepared for the worst, and this gives some sense of control.
At its core, that is what anxiety is about: control; thinking we can control a situation by worrying about it. This excessive need for control easily leads into sin, and because God loves His children, He does not want us to fall into sin which will lead us away from Him and away from all the blessings He is holding out to us, such as thankfulness, love, and peace.
Anxiety is a very real temptation for many of us--so what can we do to counter these harmful thought patterns and instead refocus on God and His love and provision for us?
Dr. Justin Taylor, writing for the Gospel Coalition, shares an article titled “8 Arguments for Why You Should be Anxious Today (and How the Bible Responds),” in which he presents common arguments we tend to use to justify anxiety, and biblical responses to help us regain the right perspective.
Many of the arguments we use to justify anxiety have to do with thinking God is not concerned about a certain need or situation in our lives, and that we need to handle it ourselves.
The old maxim that “God helps those who help themselves” is actually nowhere in the Bible. Contrary to this, God wants us to realize our need of Him, and He is only too ready, willing, and able to supply all our needs. In addition, He also knows our needs better than we do ourselves.
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus,” says Philippians 4:19.
Another common reason for anxiety is thinking that we have gotten ourselves into the worrisome situation we are in, so we need to get out of it ourselves.
This also is not biblical. Whether it is a mistake, a grave sin, or simply a sticky situation, God’s grace is big enough to meet us wherever we are. He is waiting for us to turn to Him even in our messes. He is always ready to provide us with what we need, but often we spend countless wasted hours worrying about how to fix the problem ourselves.
Wanting to fix a problem on your own can often be an example of pride. We don’t like to admit that we’ve gotten ourselves into a mess. But, says the Bible, anxiety cannot add even one more day to your life, and it offers us nothing but worry and stress (Matthew 6:27). God, however, offers abundant mercy, forgiveness, and grace.
The Bible also gives ample verses assuring us that God not only can provide for our needs, but will. Taylor shares these verses from Matthew:
“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? . . . And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:26, 28-30).
Being anxious is not only unproductive, it can be harmful to our relationship with the Lord. God is ready and waiting for us to take Him at his Word--will you trust Him today?
To see a list of more helpful verses for anxiety, read Crosswalk.com contributor Debbie McDaniels’s article “33 Verses about Fear and Anxiety to Remind Us: God is in Control.”
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: May 18, 2016
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of Crosswalk.com