Faith vs. Anxiety; October 20, 2021

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It seems strange to be writing on a passage that has been so familiar for so long, but I must not let familiarity breed contempt. This passage, properly applied, should empty most of the psychiatric wards around the world, but it doesn’t, because we fail to really believe it and apply it. We fail to believe that anxiety really is a choice, and it is antithetical to faith. When we really believe that God is good, that He loves us enough to send His Son to die in our place so that we can live eternally with Him, then anxiety becomes out of the question. Like the father of the epileptic boy, we cry out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) We say we believe, and we aren’t lying, but the depth of our faith can really be tested. People all over the world are desperate for the peace that comes only by resting, abiding in Christ. Jesus words right after washing His disciples’ feet are applicable to every truth in the Bible: “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17) Like James said, failing to apply the truth we know is just deceiving ourselves. (James 1:22)

It’s been several years now since the Lord told me specifically and personally to rest, relax, and rejoice. I’m still learning! I love to be in control of things, but with control comes responsibility. I am fully accountable for things that are in my control, but I’ve got to be at peace with the vast majority of things that are not in my control. The hardest part comes with the things that I would like to be in my control, but aren’t. I am to apply myself faithfully and diligently to the various tasks at hand, but recognize constantly that the power, the ability, to do them comes from God and doesn’t originate with me. I am to be a faithful steward, just as Paul said. (1 Corinthians 4:2) That includes stewardship of my body, my time, and my thoughts. It’s that last bit that this passage is dealing with. When my thoughts go astray, I’m to choose to bring them back into line. It’s spiritual warfare, again just as Paul said. (2 Corinthians 10:5) As the hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.” The devil does all he can to steal, or at least damage, my peace. It must be my choice to submit to God and resist the devil, (James 4:7) because only then will I walk in the overflowing blessings that God has prepared for me.

Father, thank You for this reminder of truth that I have known for a long time. Help me indeed walk it out in every detail, so that Your purposes for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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