Growing up I had a major misunderstanding of the definition of the word "Anxious". In the contexts that I heard it it seemed to me that it was a synonym of "Excited" or "looking forward to". Since then I have learned to equate "Anxious" with the pressing, paralyzing feelings of doubt and worry that my adolescent life was full of.
Philippians 4:6 says "do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Or Matthew 6:25-34:
These feelings of anxiety and worry are part of human existence, part of the natural flows of human consciousness. We plan, we project, we hope, we dream, we sense, we reflect, we worry, we are anxious. What these two biblical passages reveal is that anxiety and worry are the opposite of trust. If we hear the instructions of the Lord Jesus, and his faithful Apostle Paul, and as Christians we are expected to obey them, whenever we worry or are anxious we are being disobedient.
Doesn't this place us at the bottom of the pit of brokenness? Doesn't this reveal our depravity?
Are my previous two post speaking about the law, and about living in obedience as showing our love to God compromised by this recognition of the inherent disobedience that is natural human anxiety?
No, what this does reflect is the desperate need for human redemption. It strengthens the meaning and the power of God's gracious love. Jesus said "do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." -Matthew 5:17. Jesus goes a couple of steps further in verses 21-22 and 27-30.
With these words, Jesus not only up holds the law, he builds upon it. Not only are you damnable for the action, but for the though of it as well. We see in these passages the aggressiveness of Jesus' message.
As Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection is God the fathers' instrument of Grace and forgiveness, we see how Christ's aggressive upholding of the law only strengthens the goodness of grace. I'll let Paul's words in Romans 6 speak for a while.
Isn't that amazing? "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:2.
Let us remember this when we struggle with anxiety:
We must work to to be slaves to righteousness, because to be a slaves to righteousness is to be a slave to life, is to be free from sin and death. Our nature is sinful, but we are to work, with the help of the holy spirit within us, to be transformed. The way of this world is sinful, the ruts that our minds fall into are sinful. Anxiety is the opposite of trust. Jesus asks, "Can any of you by worrying add a single day to your life?" -Matthew 6:27. Certainly we cannot!
Now the anxiety and worry that Jesus speaks about is anxiety about finding the very necessities of life: food, clothing, and shelter. In America, many people are anxious who do not struggle to find these things at all. We find ourselves anxious about exams, grades, and whether or not we will be able to pay our cable bills. We try to save ourselves by building our intellects. We try to satisfy our desires by hedonism. When consume, consume, consume, our anxiety and worries only grow. Our lust for more only grows. This is the depravity of the world that the spirit of God promises to transcend.
When we are anxious our eyes our not on Christ. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" -Philippians 4:6. So instead of submitting to the relentless temptation of anxiety, turn your eyes to Christ, and utilize the ever open connection to divine guidance and wisdom that the spirit of the LORD graciously provides. Instead of being anxious, be thankful and honest. Bring your requests to the LORD, for he will answer according to his will, his holy and precious and perfect will.
The opposite of Anxiety is trust, which leads to connection to the vines nourishing living water, that allows us to be a fruitful branch.