It seems anxiety is inescapable in our modern culture. Even the most stoic cannot avoid the onslaught of fear, despair, and uncertainty being directed at us from every direction. I struggle to comprehend how anyone can survive these times without having faith in Christ. I would expect those who reject Christ to struggle to deal with their anxiety. They have no anchor. They have no hope.
But for those of us who have accepted and choose to follow Jesus as Lord, He has not left us defenseless against this vicious attack on our mental stability. We not only have the power within us to defeat anxiety, but we also have the great hope of eternal peace and deliverance. God’s Word provides us with all we need to know, and His Holy Spirit gives us the power to put that knowledge into action.
Feelings of anxiousness come when we allow our focus to shift from the beauty and mission of God to the ugliness and agenda of the world. Put into words, it becomes easy to see that anxiety is a tool of the devil. It causes us to live in defeat, to withdraw from the world, and it poisons our relationships. In short, it’s a poison pill to the spread of the gospel. As ambassadors of Christ, it is vital we recognize the insidious nature of anxiety and launch a counterattack.
Before launching an offensive, we must first learn to defend against anxiety. In Luke 12:29, Jesus tells us not to be anxious. The gospel of Matthew expands this teaching, recording Jesus telling us not to worry about food or clothing (Matthew 6:31-33). In other words, don’t concern yourself with the things of this world. That’s the wrong focus. Paul instructs us to set our minds on things above, not here on earth (Colossians 3:2). What is here will wither and die (James 4:14). What is of God’s Kingdom is eternal and will never pass away (2 Corinthians 4:18).
When we are anxious, we are placing too much value on something we fear losing. It could be something tangible, like our possessions, or intangible, like our feelings of contentment and safety. Possessions are earthbound, and we will eventually lose them no matter what we do. True contentment and security come only from Jesus. When we are focusing on what we should, namely Jesus, then anxiety cannot take hold of us. We can build immunity to anxiety simply by keeping our focus on Christ. It’s a simple but effective defense.
It turns out the best defense against anxiety also becomes a powerful weapon to push back the darkness it brings. When we live our lives with the eternal hope of Christ, we allow the glory of God to shine through us. Everywhere we go, we push back the darkness because of the light we have within. Our hope is contagious. Everyone is desperate for some hope in this world. They are drowning in darkness, desperate to see a light that will lead them to the surface. We can reveal the light they so desperately seek by keeping our focus on Christ and our eyes off the circumstances swirling around us.
Anxiety feeds upon itself. The more bad news you consume, the more you crave. I think we are always hoping perhaps today there will be some good news. If you are looking for good news in this world, you will always be disappointed. Jesus is the only good news. He is the way, the only truth, and the only way to eternal life (John 14:6). Only He can fill the deepest longings of your heart. He alone can satisfy. Lift your eyes and look up; our deliverer is alive, well, and coming again (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 2 Corinthians 4:18).
This pain is only for a little while, and then He will make all things new (2 Corinthians 4:17). Put every concern on Christ, and He will deliver you (1 Peter 5:7). Keep your eyes on Jesus and anxiety will no longer rule over you. Be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus has overcome the world, and in Him, we have defeated everything the enemy can throw at us (John 16:33; 1 John 4:3-4; 1 John 5:3-5).