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Vol.  9  No. 8 August 2007  Page 14
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Rodney NulphThe Antidote for Anxiety

By Rodney Nulph

    A sign found in a church foyer read, “Do not feel totally, personally or completely responsible for everything; that’s my job!” Signed God. How often in life do we become “stressed out” and over anxious because we do feel “totally, personally and completely responsible for everything?” Do we not often feel that we must solve all of our problems ourselves, and that unless we come up with the right solution all will be lost? Of course, it is true that we must take responsibility for our own actions, but for the child of God to forget that we have a “Mighty Fortress” on which to lean is sad indeed. Oh, the anxiety we will face when we feel as though we are in this life all alone and without the providential hand of our heavenly Father to help us! Anxiety overwhelms the person who tries to handle everything on his own. Webster’s defines anxiety as, “A painful uneasiness of mind” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary 93). A Christian could define undue anxiety as, “A lack of trust in God.” Anxiety is to a Christian as a cement block tied around the leg of a runner. It slows Christians down as they try to run the marathon of faith! Undue anxiety in its bare form is taking on God’s responsibility (cf. Matthew 6:25-34). How can we as Christians rid our lives of undue anxiety so that we may run the race of faith less hindered?

    In the first place, undue anxiety will lessen by flooding God with prayers. The sweet Psalmist of Israel confidently penned, “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:16-17). David, even in the midst of Absalom’s rebellion, gave his anxiety over to God, because David knew well that he was unable to handle everything on his own! Even our Lord knew the value of flooding the Father with prayers; “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to   God” (Luke 6:12). If the very Son of God, who was himself God, inundated the Father with prayers during anxious times, how much more should we, as mere humans, flood the Father with prayers and petitions? How different would be the outcome of each day if we would only consult God before making decisions in our lives! Christians, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). Do you want to relieve undue anxiety? Flood God with prayers!

    In the second place, undue anxiety will lessen by immersing ourselves in God’s Word. The Psalmist said of God’s Word, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). During anxious times, we often do not know for sure which direction to take or what decision to make; however, by immersing ourselves in the Word of God, we find direction and guidance. God’s Word is the source of real illumination that leads to a life of peace and to a life free from undue anxiety. When God’s Word is firmly seated in our hearts and in our lives, we cannot be moved or shaken. It is little wonder why the Psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Do you want to relieve undue anxiety? Immerse yourself in God’s Word!

    In the third place, undue anxiety will lessen by spending our time with God’s people. The early church, often in the face of terrible persecution, knew the importance of spending time together. The beloved physician writes of the first century church of Christ, “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47, emphasis added). Encompassed about with all the difficulties and persecutions the early Christians faced, it was essential for their continued faithfulness to spend time together. God designed his church not to be isolated but rather to be united and to be closely knit together (cf. Hebrews 10:22-25). Neil Lightfoot in his excellent commentary on Hebrews comments on Hebrews 10:25, “Love for others cannot be shown in separation. In none of their affairs, and especially in spiritual matters, can Christians regard themselves as isolated digits. Thus they must not fail to meet together for worship and mutual encouragement” (Jesus Christ Today, 191). We all need encouragement, and we cannot encourage each other very well if we do not assemble regularly for worship and mutual edification. Do you want to relieve undue anxiety? Spend your time with God’s people.

    Christians can learn to handle undue anxiety by trusting in God more completely. As God’s people, we can discover the real antidote for anxiety by flooding God with prayers, by immersing ourselves with God’s Word, and by spending our time with God’s people. It really all has to do with God! When we apply the above principles, undue anxiety will lose its death grip, and we will be able to rid our lives of that terrible weight around our spiritual legs as we run the race of faith! As the Psalmist of old once penned, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22). Amen and Amen!

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