Faithlife Sermons

What to Do With Anxiety

Highlights in 1 Peter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  20:17
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Is there anyone here who has never had a worry, never felt anxiety? I can remember years ago when I had to have a deep cleaning of my teeth. It really hurt. A few years later another dentist said I needed one again. I felt anxiety, remembering what the first one was like. I felt anxious when I needed surgery. I’ve worried about paying bills, passing classes, and any other number of things I can’t even remember now. Looking back, I realize that all that anxiety was a waste of time and energy, it accomplished nothing other than to wear me down.
There are always things which we can worry about, life will always have its problems, and it seems that this past year has had more than its share. I think it’s safe to say that anxiety has been at a very high level due to the virus and the problems it has caused. Peter’s words in today’s reading can speak to us as well as to his original readers:
1 Peter 5:7 NIV84
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Peter is writing these words to believers who are experiencing persecution and very likely are feeling anxiety. He is nearly quoting from Psa, 55:22 where the psalmist expresses confidence that God will never permit the righteous to be moved and will eventually bring evildoers to justice.
Having concern over something is not anxiety. There are the recognized concerns of life that are expected. Anxiety is not the same as exercising foresight, preparing for the future, making plans, or taking appropriate precautions. All of these are biblically-legitimate activities.
Anxiety is the result of unduly anticipating future suffering, focusing your attention today on what may go wrong tomorrow. Ultimately, anxiety is fear. It suggests that we need to look after ourselves, solve all our own problems, and betrays a lack of trust in God. Worry has been defined as “a small trickle of fear that meanders through the mind until it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”

The curse of anxiety

Worrying consumes an inordinate amount of time that could be better spent thinking about and doing those things that are eternally profitable.
Worry is known to cause such physical effects as upset stomach, fatigue, high blood pressure, hives, ulcers, irregularities and palpitations of the heart, and even heart attacks.
A dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of a hundred feet condensed into water wouldn’t quite fill a drinking glass. That’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Standards.
Like fog, our worries can thoroughly block our vision of the light of God’s promises, but in the final analysis, they have little substance to them.

The causes of anxiety

Past experiences – we may dwell on something that happened and be afraid it will happen again.
Present circumstances – we may be facing problems we don’t know how to deal with and be afraid we’ll fail.
Uncertain future – we may not know what is going to happen and be afraid that it will overwhelm us.
All of these things can produce stress, which is a major cause of anxiety. Often the stress comes from our belief that it is all up to us to solve the problem to deal with the situation, to do the work ourselves.

The cure for anxiety

Bring them to God

We’re reluctant to ask for help. We want to be self-sufficient, in control. We don’t want to be dependent on anyone, even God. At its heart this attitude is pride. It cuts us off from the power and wisdom that God promises to give to those who ask. We are invited to cast our cares on Him.
To cast here mean “to throw upon”, to toss them to God and let Him carry them. Notice that Peter says, “all your anxiety’, not some of them. Too often we only bring the ‘big things’ to God, figuring that we can take care of the little ones. The problem is that life is full of little problems and together they can add up to a big headache.
Instead of dwelling on the problems and letting the anxiety control us we can set our minds on God and let His peace surround us.
Remember how God has helped and provided in the past.
Pray for the need
Thank God for the answer
Leave them with God. Sometimes our problem is that after we cast our cares on God we take them right back again.

Believe in His loving care

He cares about us. Perfect love casts out fear. When we trust in God’s perfect love for us it alleviates the fear and lessens the anxiety.
He loves us so much He sent Jesus to die for us. Trusting that God will provide what ever we need when the time comes.
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Believe in His promises

God has given us many promises to encourage and support us. His presence with us, His power in us, His provision for us.

Believe He is in control

Nothing can happen without God ‘s permission, nothing catches Him by surprise. Whatever we are anxious about is part of His plan.
Dale Carnegie wrote of interviewing Henry Ford when Ford was seventy-eight years of age. He had expected to find a gaunt, nervous old man. When asked if he worried, Ford replied, “No. I believe God is managing affairs and He doesn’t need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe that everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?”

Believe in His power

The God who created the universe, set the stars in their place, keeps everything moving in order is certainly able to work in our lives to help us through any situation.
This does not mean we are to take no thought for daily necessities or make no preparations for the future. It is important for us to do what we can to keep what we’re anxious about from happening, Once we’ve done what we can, let it go and turn to other things. Above all, we are to put everything in their proper place, putting God and his kingdom first.
Philippians 4:6 NIV84
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
When we do this, we are set free from self-centered anxiety and able to truly love others and be concerned for their needs.
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