A thief is running loose in our midst, a dangerous thief robbing us of what is most important in life: joy, energy, peace of mind, and even our health. The name of the thief? Worry. Worry literally strangles us spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.
Although the world is plagued with worry, God never intended His children to be overtaken by it. In fact, Jesus Christ left us with a potent antidote to worry in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
We appropriate Christ’s gift of peace through the attitude of faith. Faith is not a hope or a wish, but it is a confidence that God is going to take care of us.
The moment we are faced with a negative circumstance, we can respond in one of two ways. We can choose to worry about the situation, or we can choose to believe that God is in control of this circumstance and will take care of us. Worry is an attitude choice.
How do we erect the shield of faith to extinguish Satan’s worry arrows? Let me suggest four positive actions to alleviate worry.
1. Repent of known sin in your life. (1 Corinthians 11:31)
If the major sources of worry are building one’s life around temporal values or living in disobedience to God’s commands, then it seems logical that the way to remove worry would be to turn from those attitudes or actions. And that is what the word repent means, to turn around.
Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” In addition to changing attitudes, you may need to change some of your actions to reduce worry.
God does discipline His children for sin. But a Christian does not have to live in fear of God’s discipline. He can remove the fear of impending doom by simply turning away from his sin.
2. Remove unnecessary fear. (Ephesians 6:14)
Much of the worry we suffer is unnecessary and can be easily removed by confronting the source of our fears. Many of us feel anxious about things we know we should be doing but are not doing.
A doctor has said that the three killers of our age are the telephone, the clock, and the calendar. What do these three items have in common? They all remind us of what we should be doing. And such reminders produce anxiety. Here are three words that will help you remove much of the anxiety in your life: do it now!
- If there is a telephone call to be made, do it now!
- If there is a difficult letter to be written, do it now!
- If there is an appointment to be made, do it now!
Another way to confront unnecessary anxiety is to learn to deal realistically with your anxiety. Remember that Satan attacks us with unfounded fear. But such fear is easily dissipated when confronted with the truth found in God’s Word.
3. Remember God’s past faithfulness. (Psalm 3:1-6)
As you read the Psalms, you quickly realize that David suffered from anxiety attack. One of his particularly acute attacks is recorded in Psalm 3. As his son Absalom led a national revolt against his father, David lapsed into despair. But as he cried out to God, David discovered new courage.
I believe that David started to remember God’s past faithfulness to Him. And such reflection reminded David that God was completely capable and willing to sustain him now. David had a habit of remembering God’s faithfulness.
In the same way, I believe that God wants us to have a pool of memories to draw from in times of adversity. Such memories of God’s prior faithfulness can relieve anxiety.
4. Remain in contact with God. (Philippians 4:6-9)
The two greatest antidotes to anxiety are found in Philippians 4:6-9. One involves our communication with God; the other antidote is allowing God to communicate to us. Talking to God about your fears causes His peace to “guard your hearts and your minds.” The cure for anxiety is allowing God to speak to us through His Word.
The Bible is a record of both God’s past faithfulness and God’s future promises to His children. And such a record is an eternal source of relief from worry.
Prayer and meditation on God’s Word freed Paul from many anxious moments in that Roman prison. And such peace of mind is available to anyone who will choose faith in God over worry.