Age of Anxiety
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Why does the Bible seem remind us of this again and again? Is being anxious so bad? I mean, we don’t seem to be concerned when people are anxious. We tell others we are worried or anxious all the time in the church and they never bat an eye. It doesn’t even register on our radars!
I want to say something here that I have been convicted of myself in recent months. It’s simple, but really hard: living an anxious life is a sin. It was a command in this passage and was a command by Jesus himself. It isn’t simply a condition to be dealt with and managed. It isn’t an emotion to move through.**
Unfortunately, it’s become an acceptable sin in the church, but it’s ultimately a lack of trust in the God who holds all things in his hands. Its rooted in the belief that we somehow have the power to affect and control the future. That is why the Bible is so clear on it. Again and again it reminds us of the problem anxiety is.
And while Scripture is clear on reminding us of the problem of anxiety, it also reminds us of what life should look like if we are rooted in Christ:
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Paul is saying that you will receive a peace you can’t understand. It transcends our understanding. Others should look at the peace you have, and think…that guy is weird. If we follow a supernatural God, we have supernatural responses to the issues of life. People should look at our response to life and think: that isn’t normal.
Our lives shouldn’t make sense apart from the supernatural power of Christ living in us. We should have this peace that just covers us, everything we do. And when something happens to us, this peace should just guard our hearts, protect us. When we get the worst phone call or the have the worst day, we should have a peace that like a shield surrounds us.
That is my hope and prayer for you today! It is easy to talk about, but hard to live out when life beats us down. I don’t discount this, but I do believe its true despite how hard it is. …But when we finally get it, people notice. Even if they do think you are weird.
**FOLLOW UP NOTE: I have received a ton of great feedback on this post. Many have commented on the encouragement it has been. Others have struggled with the idea of anxiety connected to sin. I understand this is a loaded topic and appreciate the honest dialog. More than anything, I want people to hear my heart here. I know a lot of people struggle with anxiety in their lives. Myself included. If that is you too, please know that first and foremost this is not a message of condemnation, but a message of peace in Christ.
Clearly, this is an issue that is bigger than a simple blog post. This post is a starting point to reflect on this, not a final destination. I love learning from your comments and experiences with this. That is part what this post was about. Even if you disagree, I hope it causes you to reflect on this, and, most importantly, to find yourself closer to the life God promises.
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