Sunday, April 29, 2012
Fears, Anxiety, Worries?
This morning, I asked God for a meaningful Bible study time with Him. The verse Philippians 4:8 immediately came to mind. It says:
Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever thing are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – set your mind, [or meditate] on these things.
Next, the verses directly above – 6 and 7 – were highlighted:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication [to ask earnestly and humbly] with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The Greek definitions for ‘guard’ say, ‘ to be a watcher in advance; to mount guard as a sentinel; to hem in; protect ( keep with a garrison).
The word “anxious” is worth exploring here. It means ‘uneasy in mind, worried, earnestly wishing, eager’.
What would anxiety have to do with eagerness? Are we eager for answer, or eager to keep worrying? The thesaurus had two definitions of ‘anxious’, which started the answers coming:
1) Suffering the effects of apprehension, fear or terror – afraid, aghast, fearful, frightened, scared, terrified.
Have you ever felt these things? It seems there is no escape from our worries sometimes. The net result is, like this definition says, we are SUFFERING! The second definition says:
2) Moved by a strong and urgent desire or interest – eager, agog, ardent, athirst, avid, breathless, impatient, keen, thirsty.
What an interesting contrast in definitions! The one is passive and internal. We SUFFER the effects of our fears and anxieties internally, and that is where it resides – inside of us, for as long as we let it stay.
The second definition is NOT passive. It is proactively moved to action. While not denying the source of the concern, it is eagerly moved to do something about it. This is where our prayers and supplication take us from the realm of suffering to the realm of doing something about it.
Philippians 4:8 helps us to put up a guard against unnecessary worrying and suffering by teaching us to focus our minds on what is right and healthy. However, concerns will arise, and unwanted things occur, as surely as the affairs of life happen. When they do, verses 6 and 7 give us strategies and assurance that we CAN do something, and as we proactively move to address the issues, the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. This is difficult to believe sometimes when we suffer acutely and feel so alone in our fears. However, God is trying to teach us to be warriors, and the greatest training ground happens in our mind. The greatest discipline to invoke is that of our power to choose what is right. The most effective weapon is to train our minds to focus on the things of God.
Our actions will follow where our mind chooses to dwell!
When we choose the things of God, on an ongoing basis, we choose to overcome our fears, and move towards well-being. Sometimes resisting wrong attitudes is hard work. I can’t tell you the battle is finished in a day – it may be repeated decisions over a period of time. However, no one else can do this work for you. We alone decide to believe what God says, and we WILL win this battle if we choose to align ourselves with an all-powerful, loving Father, Whose very heart is set and working towards our prosperity, abundance and success!