I would like to write about fear and anxiety, let’s start with what the world says about the issue.
This is taken from a psychology website and is a fairly good explanation.
Fear is a reaction to a specific observable danger whereas with anxiety there is no clear cue.
Anxiety is a ‘diffuse, (no clear cue) objectless apprehension'.
Some disagree, and say that yes, there is a clear, tangible threat that triggers anxiety,
usually something deep rooted and unresolved.
One other characteristic of fear is that it ‘involves a quick and acute reaction to the imminent threat' (the here and now) whereas anxiety involves a more sustained, longer-term pattern of vigilance.(the future)
Fear involves the narrowing of attention, (for example focussing on the very real danger of walking through a dangerous neighbourhood at night) that subsides when the threat is gone whereas anxiety develops more slowly and is sustained for a longer-term pattern of vigilance.
Fear is associated with narrowed attention, but anxiety is associated with a vigilant broadening of attention to detect threats if they do in fact exist (often they do not really exist)
Fear focusses on the threat at hand while anxiety will broaden in anticipation.
Anxious people begin scanning their environment to detect potential threats.
Anxiety will remain consistent whereas fear elevates quickly and subsides dramatically once the source of fear is removed.
Fear is more objective/rational, anxiety is more subjective.
Fear arises with a threat of harm. either physical or emotional or phycological, real or imagined.
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease typically about something with an uncertain outcome. Often people faced with anxiety feel like they cannot breathe.
While traditionally considered a negative emotion, fear also serves an important role in keeping us safe as it immobilizes us to cope with potential danger.
The differences noted above are relative. Either way fear and anxiety are 2 sides of the same coin. They both stem from a lack of trust and faith in God and in His ability to protect.
Fear is a huge subject in the Bible, and it is almost always shown in a negative light,
fearing God being the only time it is ever positive. The Christian who fears God is not fearful as the world would see it. Fearing God is good. Fearing God is right. Fearing anyone or anything else is negative. If you are trusting in God you need not be afraid.
‘I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.’ Psalm 3:6
‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;’ Psalm 23:4
‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.’ Proverbs 9:10
God made us with an emotion of fear, we are to fear Him, The Mighty God creator of all things.
'I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.' Psalm 139:14
If we are not in awe of God we are missing the importance of our existence.
Let all the world fear the Lord!
The fear of Hell is often the reason people turn to The Lord.
The Lord takes pleasure in those that fear Him.
'For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.'
'He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.’ Psalm 115:13
There is a consequence of the wrong type of fear. Fear and unbelief often go hand in hand.
Wrong fear diverts the direction of our faith. Fear can hinder our ability to reach others with the Gospel. When fear creeps in the mind can imagine every worse thing. Most of the time what you most feared never came true anyway. Do not be paralysed by fear.
Wrong fear pushes us away from God and closer to the things of this world.
People can become dull to the things of God.
‘The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe’ Proverbs 29:25
Wrong fear can lead us to be dissatisfied.
Fear spreads like a virus. When you complain, in effect you are complaining about God.
Abolish all wrong fear! Fear is not of God unless you’re fearing God.
The mature Christian needs to trust God and encourage others to trust in God.
‘What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?’ Romans 8:31
In order to love God as we should, we should first fear God.
If we fear God and love God we will try our best to keep His Commandments.
When you have perfect love that will cast out fear, for perfect love replaces fear.
'There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.' John 4:18
'Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.'
Whenever there are times of anxiety people go to extremes, but The Bible says
'Let your moderation be known.' When someone is moderate, they are not extreme.
The opposite of anxiety is peace. When we get saved, we have peace with God. Jesus said
'These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.' John 16:33
We overcome the world by trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' John 3:16
'But my God shall suppy all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.'
God has promised us so much. He promised never to leave us nor forsake us, He promised to protect us. He said that All thing work together for those that love God. Why be burdened with anxiety? God is our keeper, our protector.
These are challenging times no doubt,
the health of the people, the economy and various restrictions etc
But we can avoid the spread of despair.
Here are 4 things that may help with anxiety
1.) Choose to worry about nothing. 'Be careful for nothing'
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do what we can.
'And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;' Colossians 3:23
It’s not saying don’t take care of things you can control, for you should do that.
We ought to plan, we ought to think and take care of that which we can control and leave the rest up to God.
Don't try and control things you don’t have power over.
Don't worry about what you can’t change or influence.
No amount of worry or stress changes or improves things anyway!
In His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 Jesus astonished when He said ‘take no thought for your life.’ God will take care of the essential things in your life if we are right with him.
Later in the sermon He goes onto say this
‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’
If we honestly believe in God, then we believe that God can control, that He can provide for and protect us, bring safety, bring security.
2.) Choose to pray about everything.
Take that anxiety as a reminder to pray.
When you begin to feel that anxiousness use that as a reminder to pray to the Lord about whatever it is that’s on your mind and heart. Use it as a reminder. Choose not to worry. Choose to pray.
Paul told the Philippine Christians
'Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.' Philippians 4:6
Pray for boldness and courage and rest on the promises of God.
3.) Choose to be thankful. Choose gratitude. Be content.
'Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.'
Learn to rejoice in The Lord allway.
Have a grateful and thankful spirit.
'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.'
Notice, He doesn’t say all things are good. He says All things work together for good.
We can have this confidence. All things might not be good but all things can work together for good. God will work it out.
'In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.'
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Be thankful in everything. Not for everything like culture, sinful elements of society etc
Be thankful in everything, be thankful through everything, God is in control so choose to be anxious for nothing. Be grateful for all the good things in your life.
'A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.' Proverbs 15:13
Anxiety is an attack of the heart and the mind, but we Christians have the advantage because we have the Holy Spirit providing us with an inner tranquillity that only those who know God can experience.
'And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.' Philippians 4:7
4.) The way to deal with anxiety is choose to focus on the good things.
The Bible commands us to control our minds. Bringing into captivity every thought.
Stop thinking about things that make your anxious.
Dealing with bitterness? Let it go. Life gets better when you don’t get bitter!
Get your mind under control.
Focus your minds on that which is true.
‘For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…’ Proverbs 23:7
How do you stop being anxious? Change your thoughts. Think on positive things.
'Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;' Ephesians 5:20
We are saved by Grace through Faith in Christ alone. Praise God for our Salvation!
'For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.' Romans 10:13
'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.' Ephesians 2:8-9
'But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' Romans 5:8
If you’re saved already, Amen! The next step is the sanctification process, for peace with God does not necessarily mean you have the peace of God. The peace of God comes from the sanctification process. (After salvation)
This comes through much prayer, spending time in The Bible, singing Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual songs, attending a great Church and fellowshipping with other believers, cultivating your walk with God daily and trusting in His riches and His promises to make the best possible use of your time here. Choose growth over fear.
'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.'