Fighting Anxiety through Thinking Biblically

May 5, 2016

Good Afternoon Church,

For the last two weeks we have been considering that subtle sin of anxiety, which ultimately flows from a lack of trust in God and discontentment with His perfect providence. Anxiety is akin to worry where we tend to obsess, in polarizing fear, over the uncertainty of the future. Moreover, worry and anxiety is often times directly connected to frustration, where the inability to accomplish present tasks, plans, dreams, or desires results in annoyance and often times anger. Yet, God gives us great hope when being tempted toward any sin, including anxiety, in promising that we will not be tempted beyond that which we can stand, and He will always provide a way of escape that we may endure it (1 Cor 10:13)! Last week we considered how to fight anxiety through casting our cares upon the Lord through praying humbly, confidently, thankfully, and selflessly. Today, I want us to contemplate the Scriptures further in this fight against the sin of anxiety through controlling how we think and what we think about!

Fighting Anxiety through Thinking Biblically

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Many people assume that anxiety comes from over thinking, but in reality it flows from a lack of thinking rightly (Lk 12:22-31). As believer’s we are responsible to control and direct our thoughts (Phil 4:8) because, through Christ, our minds have been set free (Rom 6:1-23) from the tyrannical rule and reign of Satan (2 Cor 4:4) and sin (Eph 2:1-3) over our lives (Col 3:10)! Thus, the believer no longer has a hostile mind (Col 1:21), a futile mind (Rom 1:21), a darkened mind (Eph 4:18), a blinded mind (2 Cor 4:4), a corrupted mind (2 Tim 3:8), and a depraved mind (1 Tim 6:5), which makes thinking biblically impossible (1Cor 2:14). But the Christian, through salvation, has received a redeemed mind (2 Cor 4:6), a renewed mind (2 Cor 5:16-17), an illuminated mind (2 Cor 2:11-16; Eph 1:18-19), and a Christ-like mind (2 Cor 2:16; Phil 2:1-10; Col 3:10)! Anxiety, and every sin, is ultimately fought by the believer in the desires of his heart and mind (1 Cor 10:11-13; Js 1:13-15; Rom 6:5-11). Thus, we are commanded to direct (Col 3:2,10), control (Phil 4:8), set (Rom 8:5), renew (Eph 4:23), protect (1 Thess 5:21), purify (Phil 2:1-11), prepare (1Pet 1:13), and ultimately take charge of our minds (2 Cor 10:4-5). There are two specific ways in which we can take our thoughts captive in the fight against anxiety.

The first way the Bible directs us to fight anxiety mentally is through the continual renewal of our minds biblically (Rom 12:2)! Thus, we are called (Col 3:16) to regularly digest (Js 1:22; 2 Pet 2:19) and dwell (Phil 2:16; Ps 119:11) upon the Word of God (2 Tim 3:15), which Jesus declared was the ultimate source for purifying our thinking (Jn 17:17). This happens specifically through proactive Bible reading, studying, applying, memorizing, and meditating on the Scriptures (Js 1:8; Ps 19:7-11). The mind is purified (Ps 119:11), the life is protected (Ps 119:9), the heart is guarded (Prov 4:20-22), the thought process is recalibrated rightly (Rom 12:2), and the godly man is blessed through saturating one’s life with the Scriptures (Ps 1:1-4). Therefore, our greatest guard against being a people of worry is becoming a people of the Word (Mt 22:37)!  Then as we begin to think wrongly or obsessively, we will honestly turn to the Bible and have our minds refocused (Mt 6:25-34)!

The second Scriptural mandate that greatly helps in fighting against anxiety is learning to think intentionally about that which is good (Phil 4:8) and godly (Mt 16:23)! Paul commands the believer multiple times to “set” his mind on things above (Col 3:2; 2 Cor 4:16-18), things of the Spirit and not of the flesh (Rom 8:1-8), and to hold on to all that is good (1Thess 5:21). When writing to a Church which was dealing with anxiety (Phil 4:6), Paul commanded them to think upon all that is true, honorable, pure, just, lovely, commendable, excellent, and anything worthy of praise (Phil 4:8). I wonder how much anxiety would be averted if we followed this exhortation of the Lord? Learning to think intentionally, and thus training our minds toward godliness (1 Tim 4:7), will go a long way in helping us fight anxiety biblically. I believe this is paramount because we live, move, and have our being in a media-saturated society where ungodliness and negativity reign supreme.  We must be proactive in filling our minds with the Word of His Grace (Ps 19:7-11) and diligently guarding minds with all that is true, noble, and right (Phil 4:6-9)!

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday, which is also Mother’s Day, so do not forget about Mom! We are excited, as we will be having a “Parent Dedication” during the service which will be an encouraging time for everyone, and I think there will be a special Children’s Choir. As we turn to the Scriptures, we will be considering what it means to have a living faith that both receives and walks in Jesus Christ as Lord (Col 2:6-7). I hope to see you there!

For His Glory and Future Generations,

Pastor Matt

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