Monday, February 7, 2011

How To Fight Against Worry, Anxiety and Fear

There are many people in the Body of Christ who are suffering today because of shadows. Shadows are terrible things because they are difficult to fight; they have no substance. They represent possibilities for today and tomorrow, not the reality. However, shadows are very good at producing fear, worry and anxiety, all of which are effective tools of the enemy to try to separate us from Jesus Christ. On the other hand, Jesus told us that these things are of no benefit to our life, adding no value to it at all:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:25-27)

No one is saying that worry and fear are not real only that the things that produce them usually have no substance. When seen in the light of Jesus Christ we realize the bogeyman is rather small but it requires faith to see; it requires a great deal of trust. Who can forget these immortal words:

Even though I walk 
   through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, 
   for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, 
   they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

The question is, what do we do to fight against fear, worry and anxiety so that faith can rise up in us, because these things are a powerful tool of the enemy? What we must do is lift Jesus up so that we can be reminded that Jesus is so much more of everything and the bogeyman is a thing of mere shadows. That is what the psalmist did, reminding himself of the presence of the Lord and finding comfort in his Word. Jesus told us that instead of worrying we need to concentrate on the Kingdom and then everything would fall in place:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34)

Concerning anxiety, the Scriptures tell us what to do:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Concerning fear, the Scriptures remind us of one dependable truth:

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:17-18)

I share this with you because if you have read any of my blogs lately you know that I have been writing about the coming storm. I believe the beginning of the end is knocking on the door and this storm will be the storm to end all storms. But storms can produce fear. They can cause anxiety. They can fill us with worry. These are the tools of the enemy which he uses to try to separate us from Jesus. What a terrible time it will be to let go of Jesus to try to save ourselves. We can't allow this to happen to ourselves or to anyone we know. We need to encourage one another, to sing, shout and dance the praises of Jesus. We need to press on so that we will be found faithfully serving on his return; serving right through the storm. Jesus warned us that this is vital for us:

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions." (Matthew 24:45-47)

You can look up the passage to discover what happens if the servant is not found in faithful service, but you can probably guess the outcome. I point this out to you this morning because I believe it is key to beating worry, anxiety and fear. If we are focused on ourselves then these things will overwhelm our faith and destroy our relationship with Jesus Christ. However, if our eyes are fixed on Jesus, if we allow his love for us to overwhelm us, and if we keep the Kingdom as our priority then the shadows that produce these destructive things will disappear in the light of his great love. His perfect love does drive away fear. This is vital knowledge and experience as the storm approaches. Those of you who are fearful of these last days need to allow his love to increase in you until it encompasses every ounce of your being.

You may be facing some mini storms in your life right now. Understand that this is the Holy Spirit preparing you for what is to come. He is testing your faith so you can see whether it is genuine because only genuine faith will stand on the Day of the Lord. I remind you of Paul's words:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

My advice is that we should grab hold of Jesus and don't let go. Study his promises, learn of his faithfulness, discover what worship produces in you. The tougher the storm the deeper you need to dig. Don't let go at any point, don't even look around. Fix your eyes on the author and finisher of our faith and be overwhelmed by his love. He has a firm grip on you.

No comments: