One of my favorite stories is the Pilgrim’s Progress written by John Bunyan.
It is the story of Christian leaving the city of destruction in search of salvation which is found only in the celestial city, which is heaven, it is an allegory depicting the Christian life all the way.
There is one scene in the story, where Christian & Hopeful as they were on their journey it became rough and hard under their feet. They then noticed that there was another path on the other side of the fence, more pleasant, more grass, fewer holes, and they decided to jump over the fence and walk on that path because it seemed like it was parallel and was going to the celestial city.
Well, a storm arose, and they got disoriented and they found out that the path was not going to the celestial city but to a destructive path. They then decided to take shelter and fell asleep. They were then awakened by a giant called despair and got a hold of them, took them to the doubting castle and locked them up in the dungeon.
You may be one of those that are saying, “I’ve been there.” because it is so vivid as you remember the cold hand of despair upon your shoulder. You may have had this grander of a plan that all seemed good and alright, worked out perfectly. Then this storm hits your life and you need to take a shelter.
It may be the storm of financial crisis, relational turmoil, family issues, the direction in work, discerning God’s will. This giant of despair then has taken over you and dragged you all over to the castle of doubt in imprisonment.
The question that you and I may be asking is this, “How can we continue on with faith in the life of anxiety when things seem uncertain? What are some ways to trust in our God in the midst of the storm?”
I have some good news. Here are the three secrets in battling against anxiety according to Philippians 4:6-7.
1. Worry about Nothing
We overcome worry by not giving into worry.
Worry comes when we turn from God, that is the first thing. Shift the burdens of life to our self and assume attitudes and actions that we alone are responsible handling problems.
God never intended us to do this on our own. God never anticipated as it was never in his plan, for you to do life alone.
It is important for us to understand when Paul wrote this letter in Prison. His circumstance was very difficult. He had every reason to be preoccupied with the life own pressure. Humanly speaking, he could be trapped, in-prisoned of his own anxiety! Knowing that he had to face Nero, a mad-man to stand before him for justice.
It’s very evident from the Philippine letter to overcome worry and anxiety. We must learn this lesson as well.
2. Pray about Everything
How else do we overcome worry? We overcome worry by, praying to God in everything. We conquer worry by taking everything into the Lord in prayer.
Praying about everything is in contrast of worrying about nothing. That’s the reason we have the word, BUT at the beginning of verse 6. IN EVERYTHING.
I love the classic hymn called, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
What a friend we have in Jesus.
All our sins and griefs to bear,
What a privilege that carries
Everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we so often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we do not care,
All because we do not carry,
Everything to God in prayer.
There is’t anything that we cannot pray. There isn’t anything for you that you cannot pray about. There is no problem too big for God. There is no issue or trivia that is not of His interest.
Is there something or somewhere in your life that is causing anxiety in your own life? Sometimes the things that trouble us most, we talk to God the LEAST.
Have that conversation with him. Have a little talk with Jesus.
3. Peace will Protect You
We overcome worry as we anticipate the peace of God.
A preacher once said, “Long before a ruffled of angel’s wings, before the hush of eternity, from of all eternity, the being of God was marked by indescribable, ineffable peace. Father, son, and Holy Spirit in Triune glory have been characterized from all eternity by peace!”
“Guard your heart in Christ Jesus” (v. 7). This peace is only found in Jesus Christ. Philippi may not have understood this military metaphor. Philippians the importance of the metaphor as they were one colony and Garrison soldiers were that actually protected Philippi from foreign soldiers
This Peace of God which surpasses all understanding. He may not change your circumstance, but he will give you peace as he promised.
Cast Your Anxiety unto Jesus
What I have found in the past 10 years or so stepping into ministry, my anxiety is often birthed out of my own personal lack of faith in Jesus. As a result, my unbelief gets the upper hand in my heart.
Much anxiety, Jesus says, comes from little faith. A lot of our anxiety problem comes back to our lack of view of God that is small.
As Ed Welch put it well,
We fear people because they can expose and humiliate us.
We fear people because they can reject, ridicule, or despise us.
We fear people because they can attack, oppress, or threaten us.
These three reasons have one thing in common: they see people as “bigger” (that is, more powerful and significant) than God, and, out of the fear that creates in us, we give other people the power and right to tell us what to feel, think, and do.