“Anxiety is the pre-occupation with the unimportant things in life, and the false reasoning that if those things are attended to, life will be great and wonderful” – Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef
Personally, I’ll say anxiety/panic attack has been one of my greatest weakness over the years. Sometimes, my heart pounds just like thunder, I don’t know why it don’t explode. “A panic attack can go from 0 to 100 in an instant. It is halfway between feeling like you’ll faint and feeling like you’ll die.” “It can hit at any time. You feel like you are in an open field, and there’s a tornado coming at you. And you’re just consumed by it” – Kim Basinger
I think at the root of every kind of anxiety is fear and pride, and as Christians, the only way to cast out such fear and pride is in Christ, who alone can guide our heart in true humility and comfort us with the perfect love of our Heavenly Father.
Humility is recognizing that our gift comes through us and not from us. Humility is confidence in God, whereas pride is confidence in self. Humility is to make the right estimate of one’s own self. As for me, may I never boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom; But I will boast in the cross of Jesus Christ, His death, and resurrection, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal. 6:14).
We should always be willing to take the risk of making a fool of ourselves even to the point that others might perceive us as idiots. To think about it, did Jesus, the Son of God, did He not look like an idiot when he hung on that cross for our sins, and looked down from the cross, especially when He looked at those who nailed Him to that cross and spat upon Him, and cried out saying, “crucify him!” Yet, above all else, for the greater good, He cried out to the Father saying, “Forgive them!” Did He not look like an idiot for our sake?
Anxiety is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it won’t take you very far. When we become anxious, we can easily miss out on hidden things and on what is really important. It was anxiety that caused Martha to be pre-occupied with the unimportant (preparing the perfect meal), instead of sitting to listen attentively at the feet of Jesus with her sister Mary. Jesus went on and said to Martha (Luke 10), “There is only ONE thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
From Mary’s story alone we learn at least two things:
- The fear of God truly is the beginning of Godly wisdom.
- God wants us to be only anxious for ONE thing alone, our Salvation.
Only Godly wisdom could have given Mary the insight to recognize that the Lord’s time was at hand, which prompted her to pour out a very expensive perfume on the head and feet of Jesus and wipe it with her hair. And even when she was condemned for doing so, she did not even try to defend herself, but Jesus came to her defense anyway.
Although, ultimately, Salvation in all is truly and completely an everlasting irrevocable gift from God for those who believe (John 3:16) as promised (Romans 11:29). God wants us to be anxious only for our Salvation because He knows only then are we not consumed by anxiety caused by worldly things. We have freedom from fear in Christ alone because, when we work out our Salvation with fear and tremble (Philippians 2:12), we will delight ourselves to love God, trust him and obey him, which is the only way we can bear fruit through Him. Faith + Food = Fruit.
It is said of most great men of God that they feared man so little because they feared God more. David (the hobbit) not only face Goliath (the Big Show) but also defeated him with a single blow; Moses who wasn’t eloquent enough and slow to words and speech led the whole of Israel through it all; Jeremiah at a young age answered to the calling of God; and so forth…
God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Therefore, for this reason, we ought to boast all the more gladly about our weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on us. For this reason is why I think John Wesley concluded with the following profound statement:
“Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth” – John Wesley
In all truth, there is no such thing as a fearless person. But a person living in fear is a person behind bars more powerful than steel and that is why throughout the Bible, the Word of God tells us “FEAR NOT” so as to assure us of the promise of comfort, security, and peace in Christ alone.
- Fear not life. Why? “For I am the way the truth and the life” – John 14:6
- Fear not death. Why? ” For I am He that lives and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore.” – Rev. 1:18
- Fear not the unknown. Why? “For I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” – Rev. 22:13
- Fear not evil. Why? “For thou art with me. thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” – Psalm 23:4
- Fear not life problems. Why? “For God is our refuge, He is our strength, the very help in times of need or trouble” – Psalm 46:1
- Fear not what others can do to us. Why? “In God I have put my trust. I will not fear what flesh can do to me” – Psalm 56:4
Anxiety is a kind of weed that chokes up the peace God gives us freely. Someone once said that people in general, cannot bear very much reality. True story:
A couple who were alarmed at the condition of our society undertook a serious study of all the inhabitable places on the face of the globe. Their goal was very simple, find the most peaceful place of uttermost serenity on the face of the earth. Finally, they found it, they really found it and then moved there and built their dream home. It was in the Faulkner Island. I guess we all know how this ends…. Months later, it became a war zone as Great Britain and Argentina fought it out.
Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced. Evil thrives when good men do nothing and without courage, there is no virtue. Even war is ultimately not about the bullets that you shoot or the blood that you spill, but it is the stand that you make against evil that God will bless and honour.
One man looked the other way when a child was stolen. Another man looked the other way when a child was sold. A couple looked the other way when a child was placed in their hands. It seems to me it is time for people to stop looking the other way and start looking towards doing the right thing. Nothing comes from indifference.
In Christ alone, we are assured of peace that passes all understanding that gives life to the body. It is this same peace Jesus said He leaves with us, and gives to us, unlike the peace the world has to offer or offers to us which is only temporary.
No matter what happens on earth, I know earth is only for a little while. O Lord, even when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is greater than I (Psalm 61).