My dear friends, I have great news for you. On my next four posts I’m going to share with you some deep biblical truths that will harness your commitment towards obtaining mastery over the negative emotion of ANXIETY.
Jesus took out time in His sermon on the mount, otherwise known as the “beatitudes”, to teach about anxiety. It’s important for us to realize that in concluding His sermon on the mount, on a general note, Jesus drew the attention of His audience to the necessity of listening [eavesdropping] to what He referred to as “My instructions” [Matthew 7:24]. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings [instructions] of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”
What this means is that as far as Jesus is concerned, what He taught on different subject / issues, including “anxiety”, during His sermon on the mount, were divine instructions, which when followed would empower people with supernatural wisdom. That’s why He said “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings [instructions] of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” [Matthew 7:24].
Such wisdom was not only going to make people wise, but it was also going to make them stable in all they did. This means such wisdom emanating from paying attention to and following divine instructions would institute supernatural all round stability in the lives of people.
With this understanding, we’re going to look at the instructions Jesus has given the New Covenant church on how to triumph over anxiety, because as long as we’re still in the flesh, and live in this world, we’re going to be faced constantly with the problem of anxiety.
The Implication of Anxiety
So it’s important to know that anxiety is also referred to as worries, nervousness, concern, apprehension, unease and fretfulness.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus teaches us that “An anxiety dominated life is a sign that the person in question is serving money”.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon [money]”.
The question is: Can one serve money? Yes, because Jesus tells us that in Matthew 6:24.
According to Jesus, a life dominated by anxiety (worries) is a life that serves money, and not God, irrespective of the longevity of such a person in church. Anxiety is a sign of serving money in spite of how often such a person claims to love and serve God.
Jesus tells us categorically in His instruction that no man can serve two masters. You see, in spite of the fact that we have different masters in the world today, Jesus tells us however that there are only two masters every man ends up serving – God or money.
A life that serves both masters is an impossible life to live. Throughout the ages, this is what no man has ever been able to do – to serve God and money [that is, live an anxiety dominated life]. You see, what Jesus is simply saying is that we can’t worship God while at the same time living a life that is dominated by anxiety [worry, nervousness, concern, apprehension, unease, fretfulness].
It’s also central to realize that the cure for anxiety is in our choice to worship God.
The Root Causes of Anxiety
In Matthew 7:24 Jesus admonishes us to pay some attention to His instruction – an instruction that is meant to help us avoid being trapped by the tendency of trying to live the impossible life of serving God and then living an anxiety dominated life. What was Jesus’ instruction?
“So my counsel is: DON’T WORRY ABOUT THINGS – (LIKE) FOOD, DRINK, AND CLOTHES…” [Matthew 6:25, TLB]
Why would Jesus say such a thing when we know that while on earth, He clothed Himself, ate and drank according to Matthew 11:19; 27:28 and John 4:7-8.
By asking us not to worry about things, did Jesus mean therefore that these things [clothes, food and drinks] aren’t important? Not at all – they’re very important.
While we’re excited that clothes, food and drinks are important, we shouldn’t be carried away because Jesus tells us why He made that statement. So, why should we not be worried about clothes, food and drink? Jesus answers the question:
“… FOR YOU ALREADY HAVE LIFE AND A BODY – and they are FAR MORE IMPORTANT than what to eat and wear” [Matthew 6:25]
What’s Jesus Saying? Having life and a body are far more important than what to eat and wear. This is because you will not be able to eat and wear what you have without life in your body. What gives us the ability to eat and wear clothes is the life in our body. So focusing on what to eat and wear (the far less important things) instead of seriously considering the things that are far more important [life in our body], is an expression of ingratitude, and it’s one of the root causes of anxiety.
It’s an attitude of lack of recognition and appreciation of what we already have. It becomes impossible to appreciate what we don’t recognize. For instance, an attitude of ingratitude pays more attention to what we feel hasn’t been done or achieved, while undermining what has been done.
Jesus is saying here that whatever God has done for us is far more important than all the things we feel He has not done, probably because we can’t see them. For instance, God will not give you money when you’re sick all the time. Firstly, He will heal you, and ensure that you’re up and doing before He gives you money, maybe to start up a business. God will rather heal a sick person first before creating room for that person to have a job, because even if He gives the person a job, because s/he is sick, they won’t be able to go to work, and will end up being replaced.
Unfortunately, many Christians focus on the things they feel/think they don’t have instead of recognizing and appreciating God daily for what they already have. Speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter tells us that “According as his divine power HATH GIVEN UNTO US ALL THINGS that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” [2Peter 1:3].
Anxiety makes you to be more conscious of the things you think you don’t have, which, according to Jesus’ teaching, are far less important than what you have – life.
- Fear and the Desire to Please People, even When it Means Doing the Wrong Things.
Mark 15:15 [TLB]
Then Pilate, afraid of a riot and ANXIOUS TO PLEASE THE PEOPLE, released Barabbas to them. And he ordered Jesus flogged with a leaded whip, and handed him over to be crucified.
This was the case of Pilate, the Roman Governor in Jerusalem. Mark tells us that he was afraid. So we could ask ourselves this question: “What’s the relationship between fear and anxiety? What was Pilate afraid of in spite of his position as the highest authority in Jerusalem? [John 23]. Firstly, He was afraid of a riot. The riot wasn’t going to be between two political groups; but between those who had been incited by the Jewish leaders to request for Jesus’ crucifixion and Pilate’s decision. The riot would have resulted to loss of lives and property, a thing that would tarnish Pilate’s reputation and probably seen as a lack of control on his part over the city.
Secondly, Pilate was also afraid to dent his relationship with Caesar. In other words, he wanted to create an impression to Caesar. John tells us that when he says: “12 Then Pilate tried to release him (Jesus), but the Jewish leaders told him, “If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar’s. Anyone who declares himself king is a rebel against Caesar. 13 At these words Pilate brought Jesus out to them again and sat down at the judgment bench on the stone-paved platform. 16 Then Pilate gave Jesus to them to be crucified” [John 19:12-13, 16 TLB].
This is a dimension of anxiety that can make people go to any length just to get their needs met. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. He knew it was a frame-up. He knew what to do. He had the power to do what he was supposed to do, yet he allowed the voices of the people to prevail. The voices of the people brought fear – a threat which Luke details: “22 and he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. 23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. 24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required” [Luke 23:22-24].
With this level of anxiety, a person does things out of fear, and becomes so concerned about pleasing others, even at the detriment of Christian core values they stand for.
A person at this point doesn’t seem to have an opinion, because all what counts to them is what others say. They live under an atmosphere of insecurity, with a constant dread of loosing something or somebody. At this point the person concerned is ready to compromise anything just to gain cheap popularity. [John 19:4-13; Mark 15:42-45]
My dear friend, anxiety is a negative emotion; and triumphing over it is something you can’t do without Jesus. He’s the only one who can really help you to obtain mastery over your negative emotions. What you need right now in case you’re not in a relationship with Jesus is to enter into one with Him. You can do that by simply praying the following prayer of faith:
“Dear God, according to Romans 4:25, I believe in my heart that Jesus died for my sins, and rose again to make me right with you, in order to fill me with your goodness. I also confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord. Today, I accept Jesus into my heart as my Personal Lord and Saviour.
In accordance with Romans 10:10, which say if I believe with my heart and confess with my mouth, I will be saved, I know that from now henceforth: I am born again; I am a new creation in Christ, old things are passed away, behold, all things have become new. I have the very life of God in me; I am God’s righteousness in Christ. I am lifted with Christ and together we are seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father, far, far above principalities and powers. Just as Christ is, so am I in this world, in Jesus’ Name”. Amen.
Congratulations! You’re now born again. Welcome to God’s supernatural family built on the foundation that’s Christ.
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You’re deeply loved, highly favoured and greatly blessed.
Jesus Is Lord!