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Healing Damaged Emotions (Part 1)

Victory Over Anxiety

Philippians 4:4-7

I. Introduction: Emotions greatly influence how we live our lives. They are a gift from God, provided so we can enjoy life and relate to others, but how we express them determines whether they are beneficial or detrimental. Either we control them, or they control us.

Anxiety is the most prominent emotion people are experiencing today. It’s important to realize that feeling anxious is not a sin, but the Lord doesn’t want us to live in a continual state of dread because of life’s uncertainties. It’s important to understand what we should do with anxiety and how long we let it control us.

II. What is anxiety?

A. In the New Testament, the word anxiety means, “to be distracted or pulled apart.” This is the opposite of peace, which means, “to be bound together.”

B. It can also be defined as “dread, apprehension, and uncertainty” and can be caused by past events, a present situation, or future possibilities.

C. Sometimes, anxiety is a fear of not being in control or of feeling vulnerable.

III. What are the sources of anxiety? First of all, know that God is not the creator of anxiety and that worry doesn’t fit our identity as followers of Christ. Instead, we should trust God (Matt. 6:25-26). It’s important to know there are:

A. Legitimate causes. Some things are just naturally going to create anxiety. For example, if you didn’t study for an exam, you have reason to be nervous.

B. Inappropriate reasons. At other times, our worries are caused when we feel we might not get what we want. It could be some possession or a relationship we want, even if we know it’s not right.

C. Unacknowledged issues. When we don’t deal with the cause of our anxiety, it takes up long-term residence within us, causing all sorts of emotional and physical problems. This is not the way God wants His children to live.

IV. Why should we avoid anxiety?

A. It isn’t scriptural. In one passage alone, Jesus said, “Do not be anxious” three times (Matt. 6:25-34). He explained that it is unnecessary because the Father will provide what we need. We simply can’t accept a lifestyle of anxiety when Jesus is our Prince of Peace.

B. Anxiety has a negative effect on every area of our lives because it:

1. Divides our minds. Apprehension pulls us in two different directions, making it hard to focus on important matters.

2. Slows down our productivity. Because we are distracted with worry, we can’t give anything else our best efforts.

3. Affects our personal relationships with others. It’s hard to keep our anxieties to ourselves. When we’re filled with fear, we burden those around us.

4. Leads to unwise decisions. Those who are overly concerned about the future are prone to make hasty decisions to stop feeling uncertain.

5. Steals our joy and peace. It’s impossible for us to be fretful and peaceful at the same time.

6. Proves to be a terrible waste of time and energy. Uncertainty, frustration, and worry are exhausting and achieve nothing and can even have a devastating effect on our health.

V. What is the correct way to deal with anxiety? With so much at stake, it’s foolish to give in to anxiety or seek quick, temporary relief. Instead of worrying, you should:

A. Bring your worries to God. Whatever is troubling you is a matter for prayer. The first step to freedom is confessing your fears to the Lord rather than let them rule you (Acts 18:9-10).

B. Come to the Lord with an attitude of thanksgiving. In the midst of your apprehension, you may not feel grateful, but when you think about God’s loving involvement in your life, you can’t help but praise Him (Phil: 4:6-7).

C. Come with a threefold conviction. Remember the Lord loves you unconditionally and wants the best for you. Also, He has the desire and power to help, so you can expect Him to do just that.

D. Recognize that anxiety is a faith battle.We must believe that God will replace our anxieties. If we surrender our concerns into His hands, we can have His amazing peace—even if all hell breaks loose around us.

VI. Conclusion: As great as all these promises are, they will not be yours if you give Christ your worries with one hand and take them back with the other. True freedom is only possible when we finally admit that a burden is too heavy to carry. Remember, no one has to live in anxiety; it’s a choice. Freedom and peace await those who give their worries to God and leave them in His hands.

(Dr. Charles Stanley. Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. )