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Dr.Charles Stanley - Victory Over Anxiety - Sunday, April 22, 2012

Published on Apr 21, 2012

Dr. Charles F. Stanley is senior pastor of First Baptist Church Atlanta, founder of In Touch Ministries

Anxiety: How to Respond

By Dr. Charles Stanley

Do you sometimes lie awake at night, fretting about a situation? Have you ever felt paralyzed by worry? Although everyone experiences moments of anxiety, we don't have to let fear control our lives. The Bible teaches us how to acquire peace in the midst of stressful circumstances.

A. Closely guard your thought life.

Anxiety is an emotion caused by fearful thoughts. Changing one's pattern of thinking generally causes apprehension to dissipate. When your thought life becomes negative or counterproductive, deliberately choose to set your mind on something else. According to Philippians 4:8, what should our focus be? What percentage of the time does your thinking measure up to this standard? In what areas does it fall short?

There are a number of ways you can stop an unhealthy train of thought. For instance, you can praise the Lord and thank Him, turn to solving a different challenge, or find wholesome entertainment. But perhaps the best way is to meet God in prayer and focus on biblical truths.

B. Renew your mind with Scripture.

Many anxieties are rooted in worldly concerns. Refreshing your mind with biblical truth can help put such worries in perspective.

Two scriptural principles in particular can bring us great peace: Our heavenly Father is sovereign and in control over all situations (Ps. 91). He lovingly provides for the needs of His children (Matt. 6:25-34).

You can also look for verses regarding the specific anxieties that bother you the most. For instance, to counter an unhealthy fear of dying, remind yourself: "God will redeem my life from the grave; He will surely take me to Himself" (Ps. 49:15 NIV). In what area of your life do you feel most anxious? What specific scripture(s) could remind you of God's perspective on those worries?

If no verses come to mind, simply ask the Lord to reveal appropriate ones during the next few weeks.

C. Turn anxieties into prayers.

A constructive way to redirect nervous energy is to turn our concerns over to the heavenly Father. You may want to get on your knees and talk out loud to God in the privacy of your home. Or you may find it productive to write your prayers in the form of letters to the Father.

Anxieties may return at some point. If that happens, simply say, "Lord, I'm giving this worry back to You." Then deliberately refocus your thoughts. Prayer should be accompanied by thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6). What are some reasons for believers to be grateful? How can an attitude of thankfulness lower a person's anxiety level? If we make known our requests to God, what does Paul promise will happen (Phil. 4:7)? What do you think this would look like in your life?

Sometime today, present your requests to the Lord according to Paul's instructions in Philippians 4:6. Even if your situation does not change, God will give you His supernatural peace.

D. Diligently fulfill your responsibilities.

When we fail to perform our duties, we sometimes end up with anxiety-causing situations. For example, a person who fails to maintain his car will typically end up with a malfunctioning vehicle.

Those who neglect their responsibilities will face many unnecessary hardships in life. Let's look at this biblical principle as it relates to money. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus promises that the Father will provide for our basic needs. But Scripture also teaches that in most cases, believers have a role to play in meeting financial commitments (2 Thess. 3:10). According to the wisdom of Proverbs, what are a couple of reasons why some people become poor (Prov. 10:4; 28:19)? What are two reasons why the apostle Paul worked to earn a living (2 Thess. 3:7-9)?

Now, let's apply the general principle that each believer must do his or her part to respond to problems. Is God prompting you to be a part of the solution regarding one of your concerns? If so, in what way? What do you think has prevented you from doing your part?

Of course, taking responsibility doesn't guarantee a resolution to the problem. If the situation doesn't resolve, you can still find supernatural peace by applying the concepts in the rest of this study. Continue to be sensitive to the Lord's guidance regarding your role in finding a solution. If necessary, seek outside help from your pastor, a professional counselor, or a ministry designed to help people struggling with a similar difficulty.

Conclusion: Anxiety can cripple us emotionally and hinder our productivity. Or it can drive us to prayer and prompt spiritual growth. Choose to respond to worry in a godly manner. Not only will the Lord be glorified, but you will be set free from anxiety's paralyzing grip.

Posted by George Freund on September 5, 2015 at 5:47 PM 2159 Views