Matthew 6:25-34, Psalm 147:7-11, Philippians 4:4-7, 1 Peter 5:6-11
All of us struggle with anxiety and worry from time to time. However, in its worst sense, worry can paralyze us in fear. All worry arises out of a threat or concern, either real or perceived. In a broken world, we cannot avoid worry. The question is, what do we do with our worry?
When worry is aroused in my own life, I have found it helpful to explore what is going on in my heart. In order to face the spiritual issues that give root to my anxious thoughts, I begin the process of re-centering my heart on what is true about the situation: Am I worried because I think I cannot live without something? Or am I paralyzed by the fear of losing something?
Asking good questions may reveal that we have put our trust in something that can’t sustain us, that we have put our hope in something that cannot ultimately fulfill us. See, worry tells us that we cannot overcome our circumstances or that we are empty without what we perceive as a need. Worry tells us that God is not listening, and that no one cares.
In Matthew 6, Jesus instructs us not to be anxious about our lives. He also reminds us that worry does not add a single hour to the span of our lives. His words help us to take the focus off of our momentary needs, desires, and fears, inviting us to live “without anxiety” because our heavenly Father knows and cares for us.
Do you trust God? Do you believe that God will provide all that you really need in this life? Reaffirming our trust in God re-centers us in the storms of worry. The way out of the downward spiral of spiritually rooted anxiety and worry is to believe and act on what God says, rather than what you feel (or don’t feel) at the moment. In the debate between your feelings and the truth found in Scripture, Scripture must always win.
The ironic thing is, worry can actually be a conduit of hope. Worry can provide an opportunity for the power of God to be displayed in our lives. In your struggles with anxiety and worry, God is teaching you to depend on Him. As we are reminded in 1 Peter 5:7, we ought to cast all our anxieties on Him, because He cares for us.
If Christ has provided salvation from sin and victory over death—the very deepest of our needs—we can trust Him with the countless other things that strike worry in our hearts. When we seek His Kingdom first, all these other things will be provided as well.
Written by Matt Capps