(I originally wrote this for our PD-Overcomers group.)
One thing we all have in common in this group is anxiety. In fact , if you have panic attacks you have extreme anxiety. Another thing we have in common is that most of us are Christians.
I’ve been asked many times if Christians should have anxiety. That is a really good question and one I’d like to attempt to answer. In order to do that we need to go to the Bible and see what God has to say on the subject.
I’ve read many books and articles, and listened to tapes on anxiety. I’ve read the secular along with Christian views. People say different things, but the one thing I know is that God’s Word is the authority and that is where we must start if we are going to get a handle on this dreadful malady.
Anxiety: What is it? Is it a feeling? Is it nervousness? Is it fear? Is it stress? Is it panic?
I believe it is all of those things in different degrees. Where does anxiety start? It starts in the mind.
Who has anxiety? Everyone at some time or other. Unbelievers and believers alike. In today’s world it seems everyone is anxious about something. Just look at the magazine covers in the grocery store. See how many times you see a title about anxiety or stress.
Or, listen to television news and see all the things going on in the world that make people anxious and fearful. If you listen to the talking heads too long you will certainly become stressful.
What does anxiety do to us? Anxiety effects us physically. It can make our blood pressure rise, it increases our heart rate, it makes our palms sweat, it makes us irritable, jittery, and nervous. It can lead to health problems like hypertension.
Anxiety makes us afraid. It is our enemy. Fear is our enemy and it is a liar. It tells us things that are not true and convinces us they are true. It upsets our life, hurts relationships, and hinders us from being all that God wants us to be. You can readily see why the enemy grins when he see us full of anxiety and fear. He has got us right where he wants us. We are like putty in his hands when we are full of fear. He is in control and takes us over. He pulls us along like a dog on a leash and never lets go of his grip. He gets us to think unhealthy thoughts that tear us down. He has a hay day with us. Fear is an ugly four letter word.
Where does fear come from? Well, way back in the Garden of Eden there was no fear. Everything was peaceful and tranquil until Satan, the serpent, came along and deceived Eve and she ate of the forbidden fruit. She disobeyed God and sin entered into the world, along with fear. If you remember, Adam and Eve hid out from God. What did they do that? They were afraid.
Gen 3:10 NASB He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
When sin entered the world, Adam’s conscience was opened and he was aware of things he never realized before. He lost his innocence. That was the beginning of fear and it continues today. It is part of the sin nature that we acquired as a result of the original sin.
Not all fear is sinful though. God has put in our hearts a certain kind of fear that protects us. It is the fear of stepping off a cliff. Wouldn’t you agree that is a good fear? Another good kind of fear is the fear of the Lord. It is the beginning of wisdom.
Psa 111:10a NASB The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
Pro 1:7 NASB The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Pro 9:10 NASB The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Isa 33:6 NASB And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure.
So you can see that the fear of the Lord is something we should treasure. We need to have the fear of the Lord in our hearts. Do you?
But, I’m not going to talk about those kinds of fear right now. I’m going to write about the debilitating kind of fear. The kind that ruins lives, marriages, careers, and families. That kind of fear has to be dealt with. Worry, fear, anxiety, nervousness, stress; they are all the same and do destructive work in our lives.