Fear of Anxiety

Fear of Anxiety

At no other time in recent history has the future of humanity been more unstable. Every day our plans seem to change as the situation stays uncertain. We struggle to keep up with the new realities as well as the possible outcomes that haunt our futures. In these times, we find ourselves on a very fine line between sensible concern and anxiety. So what should we do? Where should we turn as our minds and emotions race with questions about the future?

Paul, writing to the church in Philippi, gives us a clear and encouraging answer to these questions. He writes in Philippians 4:6:

“Be careful for nothing; . . .”

The word “careful” in the King James is the Greek word (μεριμνάω), which means “to be apprehensive, have anxiety, be anxious, be (unduly) concerned [1].” Paul is telling us that we should not be anxious about anything. He does not want us to live in fear of all the possible outcomes that our minds have created in this situation.

Often, we stop reading the verse after just that phrase, and we try to fight our anxiety. We tell ourselves that we should not be anxious because we know it is the wrong response to our situation. However, this command by itself is powerless. While it is a true statement, this first phrase is inseparable from the rest of the verse. Paul continues to write:

". . . but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

The phrase "in everything" means that not only should we bring our anxieties to God, but we should also give everything else to God as well. This small statement can greatly impact our lives if we obey the command. We can cast our cares and worries on Him before they have the opportunity to make us anxious (1 Peter 5:7).

Join us as Pastor Ken Keith teaches on how to overcome anxiety in a time of uncertainty.

We bring our concerns and requests to God "by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving." Paul uses three words to explain how we should approach God. The first word is prayer (προσευχή), which carries with it the idea of speaking to God. The second word is supplication (δέησις), which refers to a specific prayer or plea. This supplication means crying out to God in a time of need. The third word, thanksgiving (εὐχαριστία), defines the attitude with which we are to present these requests to God. These three words give a complete picture of how we are to give everything to God. We should always be grateful that we have the opportunity to cry out to God directly and individually through prayer.

Don’t overlook the little phrase "unto God." Thankfully, the power over anxiety is not found in our prayer but rather in the Recipient of our prayers. God alone can do what is best in any situation. God alone has the power, wisdom, and foreknowledge to deal with our needs. No one else can solve our problems.

Paul concludes this statement with a comforting promise:

(7) "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." [2]

If we stop being anxious and instead take all of our anxieties, fears, worries, and cares to God in prayer, He will give us peace.

Paul confidently defines this peace. First, he describes it as "the peace of God." This peace is not to be confused with anything this world can offer. The peace of God is secured in His character. Because God is Omniscient, He lacks no knowledge. “God knows all things actual and possible, past, present, and future, in one eternal act.” [3] (Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:28) Therefore, God remains at perfect peace and is unaffected by anxiety because He knows what the future holds. God offers us this same peace.

Second, Paul defines this peace as a peace, "which passeth all understanding." The world cannot understand this peace because it is not part of this world. People who are of this world cannot understand God’s peace.

Third, Paul defines this peace as a guard. The word used in the KJV is the Greek word (φρουρέω), which means "to maintain a watch, guard [4]." This promised peace guards our hearts and minds or, you can say, our emotions and thoughts, from being susceptible to anxiety. We have this guard through our relationship with Christ Jesus.

In conclusion, our situation is still changing every day, and the uncertainty of our future naturally breeds anxiety. But God made a way for us to have peace that will overcome all of our anxiety. Choose to obey His command today, and rest in the peace that He gives.

Pastor Ken Keith

[1] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 632.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version., electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. (Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995), Php 4:6–7.

[3] Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 194.

[4] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 1066.

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