Posts Tagged ‘anxious’

Dread

Does the word dread ever enter your mind or conversation?  It does mine. Sometimes when I’m tired I dread having to go to the store for groceries, or I dread the housework facing me that day, or I dread an appointment; especially the dentist or doctor.  Sometimes I even dread having to get up and start my day. I thought to myself, “Why do I dread things?”  “What is dread anyway?”  So, I looked it up in the dictionary and here is what I found: Dread: “To be in terror of; fear greatly.  Fearful anticipation.”

Wait a minute!  Fearful anticipation!  What?  I thought fear was out of my life.  I didn’t know that dreading something was being fearful.  So, is it sinful to dread things?  I don’t want to sin against God!

I looked up “fear.”  Here are some synonyms for fear:  anxiety, dread, panic, trepidation, worry, stress.  Oh no!  I’m not liking what I’m reading! What does the Bible say about anxiety?

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Mat 6:25-34 MKJV Therefore I say to you, Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (26) Behold the birds of the air; for they sow not, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them; are you not much better than they are? (27) Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? (28) And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin, (29) but I say to you that even Solomon in his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (30) Therefore if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much rather clothe you, little-faiths? (31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? (32) For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. (33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. (34) Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall be anxious for its own things. Sufficient to the day is the evil of it. (Emphasis mine)

In these verses I count the phrase “do not be anxious,” three times.  Just think about it, these words came out of the lips of Jesus himself!  Amazing!  And, when He says something we can take it to the bank.  This is a command!  Do not be anxious!  There is no other way to look at this than anxiety (and all those other terms we use, like dread, and fear) is  sin.  In these verses Jesus Christ has told us not to be anxious about anything:  our life, our immediate needs, and our future.  If I dread things then I am also being anxious, and anxiety is definitely sin.  I need to confess to God that I have sinned and repent of it.  Repent means to turn away from.  I need to turn away from any dreadful thoughts and turn them over to God.

Doubt

Doubt and dread are first cousins. What is doubt?  Doubt is to be unsure, or distrust, or something uncertainexodus6_30 or unsettled.  Yes, when we are uncertain and unsettled in our minds about something than that thing becomes bigger than us and we begin to dread it.  Our minds go over the situation time and again, and sometimes we blow it out of proportion. We doubt that we can do the thing that lies before us, or we feel it will make us feel uncomfortable, and we dread it more and more until we are paralyzed.

Jas 1:6 MKJV But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. (Emphasis mine)

Picture the waves of the sea crashing upon the seashore.  The wind drives the waves against the shore and then back out to sea again to be driven in again.  We are like a tiny boat on that sea and when doubt enters our minds we are tossed all about not being able to make decisions or function.  We need an anchor.  The Bible is our anchor and we can find our answers there.  Don’t be tossed about by everything you hear or think.  The mind is the devil’s playground, and dread and doubt can keep us from doing the work God has called us to. Satan is happy when we are full of worry and stress.  Are you experiencing this?  Is there something you know God wants you to do but you are full of dread when you think of doing it?  Cheer up!  There is an answer.2 Timothy 1;7

Discipline

So, what is the antidote for dread and doubt?  It is another word that starts with “d.”  It’s discipline. According to the dictionary discipline is, “training that develops self-control.”  That’s it!  We need to discipline or train our minds in order to be in control of our thoughts.  “How do we do that?” you may ask. Let’s look to our anchor the Bible for the way out of the storm. Do you know that God loves us so much that He told us what to even think about? It’s true!

Php 4:8 NASB Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Emphasis mine)

It’s right there in the Bible.  We have to discipline our thought life.  Think about what you think about! Examine your thoughts according to Philippians 4:8.  Are you thinking rightly? Or, are your thoughts anxious?  If you catch yourself thinking about something you truly dread, or perhaps a doctor’s report you are about to receive, then check out your thoughts.  Are you blowing them out of proportion? Are they true?  Or, are you jumping ahead to the “what ifs,” or “what might be.” These words are also a picture of Jesus.  He is all of these things.  Set you mind on things above.

Col 3:2 NASB Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Our minds can be renewed.  As we study, read the Word and pray God will renew our minds and it will change us.  We don’t have to be the way we used to be.  We don’t have to think all those awful thoughts that drag us down.

Rom 12:2 MKJV And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.

Deliverance

Deliverance is to “set free.”  I like those words.  If I can just get my mind to be rid of any fearful, dreadful, anxious thoughts, than I would not feel stressed and I’d be free!psalm3_8

2Co 10:5 MKJV pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ; (Emphasis mine)

Let’s not be captives of our thoughts!  Let’s be free! Who is in charge?  You or your mind? Take control and set yourself free.  God says in the above verse that we can take captive every thought.  If He says we can than we can!  With God’s help, prayer and keeping in the Word we can be disciplined and overcome dread and doubt.

How do we do this?  Here’s how.

Php 4:6 MKJV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Emphasis mine)

Checking your thoughts and then prayer.  Ask God for help, and be thankful.  Tell Him things that you are thankful for.  He is waiting.  He is right there all the time ready to help us if we will only call on Him.

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If you change what you think about do you know what will happen?

Php 4:7 MKJV And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Isn’t that wonderful?  We can have a peace which we cannot even describe.  I know this is possible because I’ve had this peace.  I still have to be careful every day and monitor my thoughts according to Philippians 4:8.  I can’t let them get away from me.  It is very easy to fall back into the bad thought habits that were once an everyday part of me.  I must be on guard.

In summary we see:

Dread: It keeps us from doing God’s will in our lives.

Doubt: When we doubt we are not trusting.  It is Satan’s tool to trip us up.

Discipline: Be aware. We need to break old bad thinking habits and acquire new ones according to the Word.

Deliverance: Depend on God to set us free.

If you have trouble in this area I would suggest you take a 3×5 card and write out Philippians 4:8. Put it where it is easy for you to see or get too.  You could place it on your desk, in your purse, on your visor in the car; wherever it is handy for you. It would also be a great scripture verse to memorize so you wouldn’t have to depend on finding your card.  Also memorize Philippians 4:6-7

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April2007 021

We’ve looked at several things that Paul and Kim, the people in our examples had to understand to conquer fear and panic.  Remember that Paul was afraid to cross bridges and Kim was afraid to drive or ride in cars. We started to look at some important facts that Paul needed to understand and consider in order to conquer these problems.  They will help all of us.

1.  His fear was real.
2.  His fear was wrong and sinful.
3.  His fear was not of bridges; it was a fear that had become associated with bridges.
4.  Paul’s real fear was of the experiences.  (The cause of fear)
5.  Here is the key to becoming an overcomer.
6. There is not some mysterious thing going on.

Let’s move on to some other matters to consider:

7. “The devil made me do it.”

Many people think and have been taught that the devil gives us these fearful thoughts. So, we speak to the devil and rebuke him and tell him something like this:  “Devil, (or evil spirit, or spirit of fear,) I command you in the Name of Jesus to get away from me and leave me alone, you have no right over me as I am a Christian.  In the Name of Jesus, depart from me and go to where God sends you.” 

I’ve done this myself, and it seemed to me that it worked for the time being.  But those unwanted fearful thoughts did keep coming back and I’d have to rebuke the devil again. It was a never-ending battle.  When I wrote Panic Buster: Learn to Conquer Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia, I included something like that.  Now, I know that was an error.  At the time I thought it was good teaching, and even had support from a pastor about it, but since then I’ve learned differently.

I can not find anywhere in the Bible where it tells us to “rebuke” the devil.  It does tell us in James to “resist” the devil.  These are two different things.

James 4:7 NASB   Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

I do believe the devil can give us unwanted thoughts.  But, it is up to us to not entertain them.  We resist them and thereby resist the devil.  I believe blaming the devil for everything is overblown today.  It can get so we see the devil behind every bush.  I’m sure he has more important things to do then pick on me all the time.  He is not all powerful like God.  He cannot be everywhere at once like God, and he does not know everything like God.  So, he must be busy working on bigger things than myself.  Yes, he does have hordes of demons working for him and he can send them to pester us.  But, we know that God is greater then any of them and He is with us all the time to protect us.  So, we need not let them bother us any more. 

You will see by the scripture below that even Michael the archangel did not rail against the devil but turned him over to the Lord to rebuke.

Jude 1:8-9 NABS Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Note from John MacArthur Study Bible: “railing judgment: Rather than personally cursing such a powerful angel as Satan, Michael deferred to the ultimate, sovereign power of God following the example of the Angel of the Lord in Zec 3:2.  This is the supreme illustration of how Christians are to deal with Satan and demons.  Believers are not to address them, but rather to seek the Lord’s intervening power against them.”

We can pray to God and ask Him to rebuke the devil for us.  We can also ask God to help us control our thoughts and get them where they should be.

It is easy to blame someone or something else for our anxious thoughts.  When we say, “the devil made me do it,” we are skirting the real problem.  We need to take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions.  Actually, this may be a trap by the devil.  If we focus on him and not the real problem then we will not win in the end.  He will continue to have us in his grip of fear.

Eve blamed the devil in the Garden of Eden. 

Genesis 3:13 NASB Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

But, she was the one that made the decision to sin.  The responsibility fell on her and then God cursed us in allowing her sin to be carried down to each of us.

So, let’s not be like Eve and blame the enemy.  Let’s take a closer look at how we think.  I believe that most panic attacks can be stopped if we learn how to think correctly.  It is so important to realize our thoughts can control us and even effect us physically.  I pray you are seeing that.

Blessings,
Bonnie

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