Posts Tagged anxiety

The Cure for Anxiety

Matthew 6: 33

But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.

Many of us are familiar with Matthew 6: 33, but let us look back a little today. The New American Standard Bible has titles for many sections of scripture. This section is titled “The Cure for Anxiety.” I have verses highlighted in here as do many of you but today I wanted to attempt to look at it with new eyes. So I began reading right after the caption, which begins in verse 25. Of course, Jesus is speaking here so in my mind I translated that as, “Jesus is going to teach me how to be free of anxiety.” Alright, I will sign up for the class.

Jesus began to speak and for seven verses he attempts to reveal the Father’s mind and heart about our needs by showing us examples from nature. Jesus gives us picturesque examples so that in our minds eye we can visually follow what he is teaching in regards to anxiety. Then you hit verse 32. Allow me to quote it for you, “For all these things the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” I don’t know how many times I have read that verse but it stopped me in my tracks today. Without saying it aloud, Jesus declared that I was acting like the Gentiles. “Hey wait, I am not a Gentile. I am a child of the King. Why am I acting like them?” All of a sudden it felt like my worry and anxiety about the material things in my life was an insult to the goodness of God. What Jesus was actually saying is that we do not need to worry about the things the Gentiles worry about because we have a Father who loves us and who has taken on the role of provider.

When you look at a teaching, a speech or a book, you find that the author wishes to make a point at that conclusion is found at the end. However, it is supported by the evidence and examples which come before. Good writers and speakers give you a topical sentence in the first paragraph which is usually a restatement of their conclusion. Jesus absolutely lays out this entire topic in just such an organized fashion. I immediately began going to the end of the section to find out what his conclusion is but I like his opening. In verse 25 he tells us, “For this reason I say to you do not be anxious for your life.” He then uses the remaining verses to illustrate this reason. As we close in on the end of the passage we discover the reason we need not worry about our material needs is because “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6: 34) Isn’t that good? Jesus goes on to teach the practical side of this message. He tells us to seek God, seek His kingdom and righteousness and all the things of life will be added to us. That is simply putting all of this in to practice. Don’t worry, instead – seek. That is the cure for anxiety, knowing that you have a heavenly Father who loves you and will care for you. Seek Him and let Him worry about all that “stuff.”

How many of us have (and are) seeking the things, worrying about the things we need: clothes, food, drink, tuition, car etc.? I know I think of those things but Jesus is telling us point blank that is how the Gentiles act, and, hence, not how we should behave. We have a heavenly father. We need to learn how to seek His kingdom and allow Him to be “Father.”

Maybe we can all think about that today as we go through our day. How do I seek God’s kingdom? How do I seek His righteousness? Meditate on that as you have that morning cup of coffee or as you drive to work. The revelations could change your life.

Lastly, let me share with you Jesus’ final thought on the matter, his wrap up conclusion, if you will. “Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” You know when you see the word “therefore” that someone is making a conclusion. In other words, because of everything he said in verses 25 through 33, you should not be anxious. Stay in this moment with Jesus rather than casting your concerns forward. Stay ever present and connected with him and with the Father and you will have no need to ever be anxious. That’s good news!

Foundation Stone

Isaiah 41: 10 -12

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; those who contend with you will be as nothing, and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing, and non-existent.

This is one of the scriptures that everyone should highlight in their Bibles because if you don’t need it right now, you will. It is, to me, a foundation scripture. By that I mean that it is one of the scriptures that you can build your foundation upon. Don’t you feel God’s strong right hand when you read this passage? He is with you through thick and thin and He absolutely will uphold you. You are never down and out when you have God. You may feel down. You may feel trod upon. But, you will be sustained by His strength and His love. Look to Him and focus your attention on His righteousness. As the scripture says, do not anxiously look all around you. Just look at Him and trust Him to deliver you. Keep your focus on Him and let those problems melt away under His scrutiny. He is your God. He is your strength. He is your father.

Are You There God?

Psalm 31: 22

As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from before Thine eyes”; nevertheless Thou didst hear the voice of my supplications when I cried to Thee.

Here is a song of David which reflects a time of panic in his life. David said that it was a time of alarm. He was enduring a stressful and anxious period. His distress was so complete that he felt blocked off from anyone who could help him, even God. He did not even think that his prayers could get through to God because he felt so completely cut off. None the less, God heard all of his prayers and answered all of his petitions. God heard every tearful word. How did David know that God heard every supplication? It is because God answered David in this time of need.

God’s presence is much closer than you think. When we are really stressed and over wrought it becomes very difficult for us to feel God’s presence around us. He is there with us none the less. We cannot always go by our feelings because feelings are fickle. We have to know and say that our God is with us all of the time. Even when we cannot feel you, Lord, you are with us for you will never leave us nor forsake us.

Inbox

1 Peter 5: 7

Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you.

This is the instruction the Lord gives for all the worry and care that plague you. Give it to Him. Roll all of the care of your problems and concerns over onto Him. Take the problem and mentally see yourself putting it in God’s “In box”. Write it on a piece of paper and make an “In” box if you need to but get that junk out of your mind and out of your Spirit. Put it in to the hands of He who is well able to resolve all of the problems. All that junk just hampers your creativity and takes your mind off of your relationship with your Father. Turn off that stuff and turn your thoughts on to the God of creation. Hand the problem to Him in prayer and then move on. He is waiting to take on every single problem in your life. Give Him a job.

Increase of Favor

Proverb 11: 27

He who diligently seeks good seeks favor, but he who searches after evil, it will come to him.

Here is another way to gain favor. Seek and go after those things which are good. If you look for evil, it will find you. If you look for the good things, the righteous things, then favor is going to follow you.

This is about a condition of our heart as well as a decision of our will. When we set our eyes and our hearts on God we end up seeking His righteousness. When we seek His righteousness, then all that we need will be added to us (Matthew 6: 33). Our Lord taught us that this is a clear way to relieve ourselves of anxiety. Pursue those things which are good. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude” (1 Timothy 4: 4). Seeking God necessarily means searching for goodness and kindness. The other proverb which speaks so clearly of favor is Proverb 3: 3 – 4 which tells us to bind ourselves to kindness and truth. When we seek good, truth or kindness we are in fact seeking God and His ways. Therefore, unmerited favor finds us.

If on the other hand we toy around with the things which are not of God’s kingdom, then evil will find us. And that is a clearer characterization of what happens because most of us don’t go out seeking after evil but rather we tolerate things that we ought not and we sort of play around with things that we know would not please God. When you play with fire, eventually you will get burned and this has happened to so many of us. We listen to a little music that we probably wouldn’t play if our pastor was in the room. We give in to some movies that we certainly wouldn’t want God to watch with us. A little of this and a little of that and we have paved the way for the things that we don’t want in our lives to come to us. We have all but sent an engraved invitation and then we act all surprised when things happen. 

We are little magnets and we are going to attract that which we set our eyes upon. That is exactly what Solomon was trying to get across to us. If we seek good we shall attract good into our lives but if we look over in the devil’s backyard he is going to make sure that we get what we are seeking. Seek goodness, truth and kindness, bind them around your neck and the favor of God and a good reputation with God and man shall be your prize.

Care Giver

Psalm 55: 22

Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Jesus made us the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5: 21). That means we need not ever be shaken. That is good news, yes? But there is another aspect of this right standing with God that we need to appreciate. Peter wrote about it in 1 Peter 5: 7, “casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” The King James Version says to cast all your care upon Him. The promise of God is that He will sustain us but we must first cast our care upon Him. How can He sustain us if we are carrying the burden? We have to give Him our cares if we want Him to carry them.

 It may sound like a small thing but I really do cringe when I hear Christians telling each other to “take care.” I have said that for so many years myself and now I try to arrest myself and even correct that expression when I hear it coming out of my mouth. It is unscriptural, unbiblical and it kinda bugs me because while it may seem like a small thing it still is undermining the operation of the Kingdom of God. There are properties of the Kingdom of God just like there are the properties of physics. If you try to defy the laws of physics you will get a revelation in a hurry. When we violate the Kingdom principles we will experience the ramifications of those choices as well. Then many of us end up saying, “This faith stuff doesn’t work” or “God didn’t come through for me.” That is like saying God threw me down on the pavement when you jumped out of the third story window. Hello! The laws always work. Gravity doesn’t turn off just because we pray. The Kingdom laws are the same way. We cannot concurrently take care and give our care to the Lord. It is one or the other. And the Lord cannot sustain us if we don’t give Him the care of things. Do you see how the package all fits together? Really it is about our relationship with Him and trust. We are encouraged to cast all of our burdens on the Lord and let Him take care of them. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Implied in there is that you are supposed to give him the weight of those heavy burdens. It is all consistent. God wants to be our care taker. He wants to sustain us and carry our heavy burdens but we must first release them to Him. Then we will not be shaken because He is the keeper of our souls, the bearer of our burdens and the sustainer of our lives.

No Fear Here

Isaiah 41: 10

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

How many times do we need to have God say to us, “Do not fear?” Probably at least once a day. So here is today’s dose. Our Father wants us to know that He is on the job. He is paying attention to us and we should not fear. He isn’t begging us not to be afraid, though. This really appears as a command. And now that I look at the situation from His perspective, it is a bit insulting, isn’t it, that He is our God, our Father and yet we are running around in high anxiety and fear. Our God is Yahweh, He that is and ever will be. Why should we be afraid?

Father goes on to assure us that He is with us. We don’t have to anxiously look around us. We can go with confidence knowing that He is with us always, that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is strength for us so that we need not try to be strong in ourselves. In fact, Paul taught us that in our weakness is strength (2 Corinthians 12: 10). 

How do we convince ourselves that our Father is with us; that He will strengthen us and uphold us? I really believe we learn it through the most frightening mechanism of all; letting go. We have to let God be God. We have to relinquish a bit of the control to Him. I like to say that we have to let go of the reins because that paints a picture for me that I can relate to. I really think that for most of us we have to take God out for a test drive. We trust Him with something small and see that all works well when we put situations in His hands and then the next time we are able to trust Him with something a bit larger. The other situation is that get to the point that we are so exhausted that we have nothing left but to trust God. And then, Eureka! It works.

I really wish one person could experience this for everyone and then that we could all just believe that person, subsequently taking this verse as truth on its face. If we could only believe that God and Isaiah actually knew what they were saying. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way. So, instead of asking you to believe me or to believe this verse, I am asking you to give it a try. Take it around the block, kick the tires and see for yourself. God is worthy of our trust. He will uphold you, guard you and protect you. He is your shield and your refuge. Invest a bit of your trust in Him and let Him show you that you have no need in being anxious ever again. Think about it, to never fear again. Now that is a good way to live.

Page 1 of 212