worry

REAL ANSWERS TO ANXIETY

Do you ever worry?

If you are a breathing member of humanity, you have problems that look (and perhaps are) fearful. Anxiety is one of the most shared and common of human experiences.

Our experience is different in the degree to which anxiety dominates our emotions, but we are all touched by it.

Yet, the Bible tells us that we should not remain in a place of anxiety. In Philippians 4:4-7, the Apostle Paul gives us this biblical council:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Paul even gives us direction on how to overcome our anxiety – replace it with praise and prayer.

You have probably tried that with mixed results. The problem is not that Paul gives faulty direction, but that we are weak vessels.

Part of our problem is that we listen to the voices in our head which insist that a full blown 5 alarm anxiety siren is the correct response to our current disturbance.

Justin Taylor wrote an excellent article entitled 8 Arguments for Why You Should Be Anxious Today (and How the Bible Responds)”. Justin points out that the real battle in these times is between belief and unbelief.

His premise is quite helpful, but what I appreciated most in his article was the way Justin listed 8 arguments our minds give for worrying, he then briefly presents an opposing truth from God to defeat each one.

Justin has provided us with a useful article that is great for sharing!

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.25.16

 

Extraordinary Joy and Peace

Philippians 4:4-9

by Pat Tedeschi

When we go through these verses slowly, we see a number of imperatives or commands, that when considered carefully can almost seem impossible.

Who can really live like that?

If you are in Christ, you can.

Now clearly this doesn’t mean we will never struggle with these things. We can assume that we will struggle- that’s why the verses are there.

But the truth of God’s Word is we can live out these seemingly impossible commands and experience a life of extraordinary Gospel joy and peace.

Here’s why; we have a Savior who not only models this sort of life, but is all powerful to enable us to live it out.  

So let’s look at each of these commands and look to the Savior who inspires and enables us to obey them.

1.  Rejoice in the Lord always (v 4)

We clearly see a theme of rejoicing throughout the book.

Biblical joy is not grounded in our circumstances, but in the Lord.

The Philippians have everything to rejoice about in Him!

If we ground our joy in our circumstances there may be very little to rejoice in.

But if our rejoicing is in Jesus and what He has done then we have reason to always rejoice.

2.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone (v 5)

Reasonableness means not holding onto your personal rights but dealing gently with others when you feel the right or need to retaliate.

How sweetly reasonable are you when others accuse or offend you?

Paul pushes us beyond our so called “rights” to look to Christ when he says “the Lord is at hand”.  

He is near and He is powerful to help. You have His resources to be sweetly reasonable and be at peace with others, as He has been reasonable with you.

3.  Do not be anxious about anything, instead pray about everything (vs 6-7)

Anxiety is a distressed, burdensome concern, where we trust in our own abilities to solve or avoid problems rather than trusting God.

Paul wants us to take the energy we give to worrying and use it instead to pray.

Prayer builds relationship with our Father and Savior – which is ultimately what we need most for a life of joy and peace.

Prayer that expresses our hearts to God with the mind of Christ has a magnificent promise to it.

Paul says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

This peace is not about the absence of trouble. God doesn’t promise to remove all of our difficulties.

Instead it is like calm in the middle of a storm. Like Paul and Silas singing songs of joy at midnight in the Philippian jail.

4.  Think Godly thoughts, Follow Godly examples (vs 8-9)

Paul gives us two other elements to stand firm in living out the Gospel- godly thoughts and godly practices.

He lists a number of distinctly Christian virtues to fill our minds with in this pursuit of Gospel joy and peace.

That is what we think on – but our thinking must move us to action.

So God gives us living examples we can follow right in our churches- men and women who seek to advance the Gospel according to the mind of Christ.

But we can’t stop there. Their lives and practices should lead us to be godly examples for others to follow as well.

There’s much to do and to think about from this passage. It can seem impossible.

However, the focus is not on our own ability to do these things. Instead Paul consistently points us to the One who models and empowers us to live them out.

With Jesus as our example and enabler, we can live out these seemingly impossible commands and experience a life of extraordinary joy and peace for the advance of His glory in the Gospel.

QUESTIONS THE BIBLE ASKS YOU #2

For many of us worry is as much a part of life’s routine as the daily sun rising of the sun. We think worry is inevitable, necessary, and a part of our life responsibility.

However, obeying God and then trusting His sovereign care is a much better way to approach the responsibilities of life.

Jesus sought to burst our misguided sense of needing to worry when he asked this question:

Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Here is Jesus question from Luke 12:22-31 in its full context:

(Jesus) said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 

And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

How do you answer Jesus?

WHY DO WE GET IT BACKWARDS?

I think we can ALL relate.

We use up a lot of life’s time and our body’s energy worrying over things that either don’t happen or end up not as bad as we were expecting (worrying).

In contrast, we fail to use time and energy worshiping and praising God for the things that will happen! The many wondrous promises of God that are not only guaranteed to take place – they will all be far better than we could ever imagine.

Let’s work on reversing this mix up of worry and worship.

A GAME PLAN FOR WORRY

This is probably one of those blogs that does not relate to you, but one of your “friends” could sure benefit from reading it. Today we look at our response to worry and anxiety. Actually I am going to do something far better than write about it myself. I am going to connect you to some excellent and practical thoughts from the always thoughtful, David Powlison.

This particular article was posted on the Christian Coalition Blog a few weeks ago. My wise and wonderful wife Debbie, found it for me – not that I would ever need it, but I might have a “friend” who would find it helpful to read. So for all of you who have “friend”s that worry and get anxious, please read . . um, I mean, have them read this article entitled “A Game Plan When For You Start to Worry”.

My Baby Is Driving

My baby is driving.  Her name is Elyse, she is 16 years old and the youngest of my three children.  After recently receiving her driver’s permit, my little girl is on the road.  There are many challenges here for a father (or a mother) to process:

(1)  The bouncy little girl I can picture in my mind, who would drop what she was doing and yell “Daddy!” when I would come home, will never be little again.

(2)  Having to teach one of your children to drive, is a character test involving ALL the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, patience, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

(3)  I am already rehearsing that tight feeling in the stomach which comes from watching your teenager drive out onto the road, oblivious to your worry.  It will take years until they experience what it is like to lie in bed at night praying for their safety because they have taken longer than expected to arrive home.

(4)  Driving also means independence.  For years, the little girl Elyse, would echo her promise to never move away from her mom and dad.  But with a driver’s license now on the horizon, her independence from home and dad will continue to grow.

(5)  And last of all, Elyse driving means two words: Gas $$$!   Quickly followed by insurance $$$; bumper repair $$$; and Dad-I-don’t-have-enough-money-to-fix-my-clunker-$$$.

I can place all the above under the heading of life, because life consistently exercises that sneaky habit of thrusting new challenges in our way.  These challenges will either be about ourselves, or we will see them as with all things, as being about God. So let’s look at those challenges of mine with a new perspective:

(1)  Elyse belonged to God long before she became my daughter.  He has known her from eternity and she has never been absent from His thoughts.

(2)  Character growth can only happen as character is tested.   If I am to bear all the fruit of the Spirit, then they must all be consistently tested.  Life going right is not the same as events going smoothly or easily.  God’s highest purpose for me is that I will grow in godliness as I serve His Kingdom.  Life IS going right when my events are lived in such a way that God’s desires for me are fulfilled.

(3)  Trusting God, means we rest in God, means we give Him all our anxieties (Philippians 4:5-6, I Peter 6:6-7).  We all want to rest in the peace of God AND we want to remain in control of life’s happenings.  However we cannot have both of these.  Ask yourself, which would you rather have?   The peace of God is not only the best choice, the alternative is an illusion!  We will never truly be in control of what happens around us.

(4)  I am not losing a little girl, I am gaining a beautiful young woman, who God wants to use in wonderful ways.  Each day is a new opportunity for me to earnestly prayer for her, because she must be facing a constant barrage of challenges in her world.  Daily I can be an example and an encouragement to her for godliness – because she can never have too many of those.

(5)  As for the money, did I ever really think I would keep hold of it for long?