Do you remember the story of the Disciples in the boat with Christ when all of a sudden, a storm on the Sea of Galilee threatens to sink the ship? The account is recorded in Mark 4. Jesus is so exhausted that He is asleep in the bottom of the boat. As a storm batters the ship, the Disciples go to awaken Christ. Mark 4:38 says, “Master, do you not care that we perish?” Christ said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
Years later when Peter penned his Epistle to the persecuted believers, he wrote to them, “Cast all your care upon him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). I wonder if the words of Christ came to his remembrance when he encouraged suffering believers to look to Christ?
Today, we live in an age of anxiety. Many people, including Christ-followers, are overwhelmed with the cares of this life. I think Jesus would ask us what He asked His disciples on the Sea of Galilee…”Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” We would find God’s Word powerful and effective if we took seriously the commands of the Bible to not worry. If we acted upon these commands the way God intended, we could eliminate a great deal of frustration and anxiety from our lives.
Why Live with Anxiety?
Have you asked yourself why you should live with anxiety? You might say, “Chad, if I had a choice, I would not live with anxiety, but it’s the hand I’ve been dealt. This is a part of my life I must deal with.” Well, my friend, I think the Bible would disagree with you.
We constantly encounter worry and anxiety, but that does not mean we have to make it our companion and keep it around our life. Peter instructs us to “Cast” our cares upon Christ. It saddens me when I see people to the altars of my church, pray and plead their requests with the Lord, and instead of leaving the burdens with the Lord, they take them up and carry them back home.
God did not design us to carry such heavy loads. We are to “Cast” our cares upon Christ. He alone is sufficient to handle the weight of life’s cares. What an invitation the Lord gives us in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Where to Place Anxiety
When you and I understand that we only have so much strength and so much energy, then we understand how important it is direct that strength and energy to the right places. Rather than spending my energy worried, anxious and burdened down, I need to give my energy to seeking the Lord.
Jude 1:20-21 tells me where I need to put my energy. It says, “But you, Beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” According to this verse, my focus and energy needs to go into building up my faith. My energy needs to go into my prayer life and keeping myself in the love of God.
I think what this verse is saying is that this type of spiritual growth does not happen without us being intentional. So if I have a limited amount of strength and a limited amount of energy, then I must be careful where I place these precious gifts.
Am I going to give worry my strength? Am I going to give anxiety my energy? No! I am going to give the Lord these gifts. I am going to focus on increasing my faith and growing my prayer life as I wait for the mercy of God in whatever situation is troubling me.
Is it a Sin to Worry?
You bet it is! Is it a sin to worry? You bet it is! I realize that some people try to say, “Well, this is just how I am, I always worry.” That is not a good excuse. Others might say, “Well, I am like my mother. She was a worrier and I am a worrier. I get it honest.” Again, not good enough! We are now new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), and worry should have no place in our lives.
Do you know the meaning of the word, “Anxiety.” It literally means to strangle. Is this God’s plan for you, that the cares of this life would strangle you? Absolutely not! Think what an insult it is to the Lord to constantly worry and fret when the Lord has given us His “precious and very great promises (2 Peter 1:4). How it must disappoint the Lord when we have the assurance of God’s help, yet we do not live like it. Lamentations 3:22-23 promises, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.”
Give No Opportunity to the Devil
Ephesians 4:27 instructs us to, “Give no opportunity to the devil.” Is worry and anxiety the foothold Satan has in your life? If so, God has the power and ability to help you. By taking God’s Word and appropriating it to your life and all of life’s situations, you will quickly find that faith and fear cannot co-exist. One will be dominate and one will drive the other away.
George Mueller, the man of God from the 1800’s, would often say, “Fear ends where faith begins.” Let your faith rise, look to the Lord, trust in Him with your whole heart and watch worry, fear and anxiety bow their knees to the Lordship of Jesus in your life!