The dictionary defines anxiety as "worry, uneasiness, nervousness, tension or stress." Fear is at the root of anxiety, and because of that, it's something we need to resist by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. Anxiety will steal our peace and joy, and that's evidence enough that it's a tool of the enemy. Proverbs 14:30 (AMP) says: "A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body." Since anxiety robs us of our peace, it can make us susceptible to sickness and disease, and take years off our lives. Spend enough time being anxious, and sooner or later you'll be plagued with headaches, stomachaches, backaches or other ills. The apostle Peter wrote: "[Cast] the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on [God], for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." (1 Peter 5:7 AMP) God never intended for us to shoulder our own burdens, and trying to do so can have disastrous consequences. Anxiety has the ability to sap our strength and lower our energy levels. As a result, we'll be less productive and fruitful as employees, students, parents, ministers, or anything else we apply ourselves to. Anxiety can even harm our relationships. Those around us can suffer when our anxious thoughts make us short-tempered, depressed, or overly sensitive. If we really care about our friends, family, and others we come in contact with, we'll do our best to walk in peace each day.
The above verses in Philippians 4 tell us how God wants us to deal with our anxieties and worries. He desires that we acknowledge our need for Him by promptly bringing all of our concerns to Him in prayer. Our focus then shifts from our unsettling circumstances to our all-powerful God, Who loves us and wants the best for us. As we make a conscious decision to put our trust in the Lord, God's own indescribable peace settles over us and quiets our fears. Isaiah puts it this way, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!" (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) Besides prayer, devoting ourselves to God's Word can counteract anxiety. Psalm 119:165 (NLT) says, "Those who love Your instructions have great peace and do not stumble." As we meditate on God's faith-building promises, peace and joy spring up inside of us and crowd out anxiety and fear. Psalm 85:8 (TLB) says, "[The Lord] speaks peace to His people, His saints, if they will only stop their sinning." Sometimes a specific sin is at the root of our anxiety, and can keep us from enjoying the peace that God wants us to have. When this is the case, we haven't failed until we've completely given up trying to cooperate with Godís Spirit to become all that He created us to be.
Just before the Savior went to the cross, He gave His disciples a priceless gift. In John 14:27 (TLB), Jesus says: "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." Our Savior has left us with an unshakable peace which will sustain us in the most difficult times. The apostle Paul confirms this when he says, "May the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance." (2 Thessalonians 3:16) Let these words from the Savior encourage your heart today: "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." (Matthew 6:34 MSG)
Prayer: Lord, help me to bring all my cares and anxieties to You in prayer each day, so that I won't try to carry them myself. Teach me to trust You and to keep my thoughts on You, so that I can walk in peace continually. Let it be true of me that, "When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up"! (Psalm 94:19 MSG)
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