Anxiety can be a practical sign of a theological problem.
When we become anxious, we are refusing to acknowledge who God is and what God can do.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses how to deal with anxiety. His solution is not in the collection of more desires met. His solution is in confidence shown.
Our peace does not come from what we have but in the one who has us.
Read Jesus’ description of the cure for anxiety.
25 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:25-34
Jesus describes different things that can cause us to become anxious. Out of the things mentioned, what can cause the greatest anxiety within you?
Whenever I begin to get anxious, I do a simple mental exercise. I relive in my mind all the ways that God has provided for me over the last year. I get really specific, and I thank him for each and every one.
When we trace God’s hand in our lives, it helps us remember that we have not been left on our own.
He is near, and he is actively involved in our lives.
Our goal? Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. What does that mean? It means to desire his purposes to be fulfilled rather than your own. It means to strive to live righteously even when you are tempted to become anxious. Desire the righteousness that he can provide within you.
If I can focus on the grandeur of his kingdom and if I can rely upon the righteousness that he can provide, all those other distractions take care of themselves. All those things will be added to me.
Are you struggling with anxiety? Take some time to pray. Thank God for his provision in your life. Be honest about any needs that you have today. Ask him to help you seek his kingdom and his righteousness first. Then let your peace come from who have you rather than what you have.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.