It is morning and anxiety is already beginning to rise in John’s life. His boss has put high demands of productivity at the factory where he works. As a manager, John lives with many anxious thoughts as he must be sure those under him are being productive. He wants to make more money through a promotion, but wonders if that will ever happen. He dreads the thought of having to confront people about their lack of productivity. His goal is for everyone to like him.
John also has problems at home. He and his wife have been arguing lately about finances and about how to raise their children. He also feels pressure from his in-laws who always seem to want to interfere in their marriage. He feels that his wife listens more to them than to him.
Many anxious thoughts go over and over in his head: “What if I am not productive and lose my job?” “What if those under my management refuse to properly do their work and I have to confront them?” “Will I ever get the promotion I want and believe I deserve?” “What am I going to do about my interfering in-laws?” “Why won’t they just leave us alone?” “How can he stop the arguments with his wife?” “Why can’t I find any peace?”
MANY THINGS CAN CAUSE ANXIETY
Anxious moments followed by anxious thoughts can come upon us very quickly as the difficulties of life surround us. There are many family problems that press upon our lives. Sickness can enter the home and we become anxious about what is causing our loved one to be ill. We wonder how long the illness will last and how will the medical bills be paid? All of us can struggle with anxious thoughts because of the troubles of life. Sometimes we are pressured from many directions and feel overwhelmed.
But the Bible tells us that an anxious life is not a godly life. It is not a life that honors God. It is not how God wants us to live. God comes to us and speaks peace. The Bible says concerning the life of a disciple of Christ, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
But what can we do when the pressures of life mount up, causing anxious thoughts and nervousness? What do we do when the peace that God has for us seems far from us?
We have to ask God, by His grace, to help us see what is going on in our hearts. The Bible says for us to guard our hearts as the source of all that we think and do. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). Anxiety shows something is wrong concerning our heart’s desires. We often feel we cannot be happy without certain things in our lives. In those moments of anxious reflection, we reveal that something sinful is going on in our hearts. We have set our mind’s desire on something other than Christ. Even desires for good things can control us if we want them too much.
How do we get rid of anxious thoughts and find again the peace of God? Paul the apostle tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything.” God is telling us it is possible to live a life without anxiety. If what is in our hearts is focused on God and His Eternal Kingdom anxiety will flee. But if we want something else—something that has replaced the treasure of Christ, we will be anxious when that desire is threatened.
GOD HELPS FIX THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
We must ask God to help us see our own hearts. We need God by His grace to open our eyes to the real condition of our hearts. We need to ask ourselves hard questions that will help us see below the surface to see what is controlling us—what we want too much—what has taken the central place in our hearts.
We must ask ourselves some penetrating questions searching for the root of our anxiety: What is it that we fear we will lose? What anxious thought comes to us as we doubt that we will have a sufficient supply? What is it we want so bad and fear we are going to lose? What do we want to control but find we cannot control? What do I want so much that it is robbing me of my peace? What do I desire so much that I am ready to sin to get it?
When we discover what is controlling our anxious hearts, we must call on God to deliver us. We must turn to Him and ask Him to root out the desires that have pushed Christ to the side. We must repent and begin to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.
FREEDOM FROM ANXIETY
We experience an anxious free life as we become Christ-centered. Anxiety flees when He becomes the focus of our lives and when He becomes the treasure of our soul. Anxiety flees when we are truly convinced that Jesus is enough. This is the solution that leads us to an anxious free life because Jesus is the only sure foundation of life. We live without anxiety as we turn to God and give everything to Him in prayer. Paul the apostle writes: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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” (Philippians 4:6-7).
John needs to ask God to help him search his heart to see his true desires. Has the desire for a promotion and his desire to please people pushed Christ to the side? What does he want from his wife that he is not getting that makes him willing to get into arguments and sin to get it? John must repent and focus again on the all-sufficiency of Christ. He must focus on the promise that Christ has promised to be with us to the very end of the age.
He must remember throughout the day that he has a loving Heavenly Father that cares for him and has promised to meet his every need. He needs to seek first the Kingdom of God and let the Savior rule his heart. He must humble himself and let the grace of God root out the old desires and replace them with God-honoring desires. He needs to focus on living for the glory of God. He must ask God in prayer to take all of his heart.
PEACE IN JESUS
Peace begins by trusting Jesus and His death for us. He took our place on the cross. He took our sins so we can be forgiven. He was buried and three days later He rose from the dead. Peace comes in following Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace.
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