“Don’t worry!” How often have you heard these two words spoken to you when it seems the external circumstances are crowding your mind and determining your actions? “Don’t worry” seems like it’s an easy way to for someone to move past conversing about the issue right? Or maybe that is the only advice someone can give because of intimidation or fearing of saying the hard or wrong thing. How do you take that statement? I’ll be real, these are the two words I have heard more than any two words in my life. I start getting offended because it cuts at me, and makes me ask myself “Do I just wear all of my emotions on my sleeves?” Or “Am I overly transparent about what I am going through?” But as I ponder those thoughts, the reality hits me that I am beating around the bush and I am assessing the wrong issue. I shouldn’t be trying to discover why people tell me to not worry or why I am responding to them the way I am responding. The question is really what or who is the object of my worship? Where is my anxiety rooted? Let’s break it down further with scripture and then application.
The Apostle Paul experienced a lot of heartache in various forms of trials during his life serving The Lord. In his letter to the Philippians he addresses this issue of anxiety and how to approach it. He says in Philippians 4:6-7 “..Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Paul is writing this letter while stuck in a prison in Rome, and it baffles me as to how he is able to write this love letter to the church of Philippi with joy and affection. If you’re like me, you’re questioning Paul. “You’re in prison bro! Maybe you should worry about getting out! How are you going to plant more churches by just sitting there!” But I think Paul would respond with a quick witted response of “My brother, my God is bigger than any other god and He controls my complete affection, and worship.” I think Paul was on to something here when he wrote this part of the letter. He starts off saying to not be anxious about anything, and then he continues in how to handle and fight it off. But until we discover the root of our anxiety, how can we just pray away the object we have no clue about? Reach deep in your heart and soul for this and ask God to reveal what Im about to say in this next section.
The root of your anxiety is whatever controls your time, steals your affections, keeps you awake at night, is the root of your anxiety. Whatever you value most in this life, the amount of value you place on those things, the more anxiety and fear will rule over those things if God is not the highest thing. Whether you like it or not, you must admit and just be bold in saying that those things may just be your god, or your idol. Let’s be real, God has created great things for us to enjoy. God has blessed us with money, food, clothes, spouses, and etc. Hear me, these things are not the root of all evil. No, money is not the root of all evil. As simple as this is, if you set a hundred dollar bill on the table, you are not going see a demon spring forth from the green paper, or see it walk and reap havoc on anything around it. But the moment you pick that hundred dollar bill up, you have the power to do with it as you please and will. Here’s the real issue in our anxiety: the human heart. It has always been the human heart. Your heart will express love, gratitude and worship towards whatever it values most. When these things own you, you need the Lord and Savior Jesus to wreck-shop on your heart like the hero he is.
So how do we fight this root of anxiety? Let’s continue in Philippians.
“But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Prayer: One of the reasons we give into these desires is because we aren’t in constant communion with The Lord. I once heard that “a prayer-less life is a powerless life.” Nothing can be further from that truth. God wants our attention and he wants to be the ultimate center of your life. Prayer is essential in not only growing closer to The Lord, but fighting off fleshly desires.
Supplication: This is a humble request for help from God to provide. In this adoration, we affirm to God, that whatever he provides, and whatever he chooses not to provide, God is enough. And in this supplication we are thankful for him ultimately for the blessings he’s already given us, through His son Jesus Christ.
Ultimately our weapon in fighting against the root of anxiety is our faith that God is ultimately the ruler and He reigns over our lives. He is good, and trusting him with all of our needs and putting full value in the richness of his glorious grace are how we combat our desire to give into the things of this life. The next time you hear “Don’t worry!” examine the root of that worry in your life. I’ll leave you with this from Ben Stuart, president of Breakaway Ministries once said “What you think about, you care about, and what you care about, you’ll chase.” Whatever rules your mind, will rule your life. My question is: Is it Jesus?