Everyone has anxiety. There are no exceptions. What are some key Bible verses about anxiety in the hopes that you can have more trust in God?
The Most Frequent Command
The most frequent command or teaching in the New Testament given by Jesus was not to be holy, or to love one another but to not worry, to have no fear or to not be anxious. In fact, there are about 365 mentions of this given by Jesus which gives us at least one verse for every day of the year. We might think that that Jesus is only trying to help us to alleviate our anxieties but He is actually commanding us not to worry because it is really a lack of trust or faith in God.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life” (Matt 6:25-27)?
Here Jesus is not just trying to calm our fears or anxieties but He is telling us that we have no need to “be anxious about [our] life” because our “heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matt 6:32b).
If Jesus tells us to not be anxious, He has good reason for it because He is saying that our Father knows our needs so we just need to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). Jesus knows we are human and frail and that our natural tendencies are to see things with our eyes and not with the eyes of faith and that is why the most frequent command Jesus gives us, and it is an imperative command and not a helpful hint, is to not worry, be concerned or be anxious about anything! Can the God Who created the heavens and the earth fail to provide for your needs? Of course not! This would be like a human father or mother who when their child came to them and said “I’m hungry, can you give me something to eat?” Would they not at that moment give them something to eat? Of course they would. How much more does your heavenly Father desire to give to His children the things that they need each and every day?
Be Anxious About Nothing
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil 4:6)
Paul also mentions the command to “not be anxious about anything” but about “everything” we can commit it to “prayer and supplication” but it should be “with thanksgiving [that our] requests [are] made known to God”
What Paul is saying to the church at Philippi is to not be anxious about things but simply “let your requests be made known to God…by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.” We don’t have to worry because we can simply let God know our needs. God does not want us wringing our hands with worry over things in this life. We have no need to be anxious when we can go to the throne room of heaven and simply ask Him. That is why the psalmist tells us to “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22). Even our doctors tell us that “An anxious heart weighs a man down” (Prov 12:25). It is a weight we were never designed to carry. It is a load that we cannot handle. Even so, we tend to worry about things that we cannot change and over concerns about tomorrow that may never even happen. When we do this, we are borrowing worry from tomorrow and paying interest on it today so why not “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7)?
Fear God, Not Things
Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence,“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
We frequently fear those things which really never even come to pass. I have shown by my fear that I do not trust God and when I worry about things I am saying to God, “God, I know you are not with me now and that you are not going to help me” but God has promised in His Word that He will not ever leave us and that we should “not be afraid.” I have learned from experience, the more I am in the Scriptures, the more I have assurance that God is faithful and my fear is lessened because my trust in strengthened. The power of the Word of God is only unleashed when we take it in daily.
Carrying the Load Not Intended
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30).
When we are tired we frequently become fearful. We get tired carrying such a heavy load but we are carrying this load needlessly. Jesus tells us If you know how they used to plow the fields with oxen then you know that there were always two or more oxen and each one helped to carry the load together thereby spreading out the weight. They worked side by side, thereby lessening the heaven workload. That is what Jesus wants us to do. He tells us, “take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” Who among us has not been weary and heavily burdened? We all need to find rest for our souls in Him, not in our own efforts. We can do all things through Christ Who will strengthen us (Phil 4:13) but without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Wasted Energy in Worry
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you” (Luke 12:22-31).
Jesus gives us the perfect perspective on life in these verses. You cannot add one day to your lifespan by worrying, but you can actually subtract them. The birds don’t sit in the trees and worry about what they will eat tomorrow. No, the sing in the trees with not a care in the world about what they’ll eat. The lily doesn’t sweat about how they will grow or if they’ll get enough rain to survive. All of God’s creatures, except man, don’t have a care in the world about their future. The ravens don’t have a storehouse where they can store up food for the winter. They live day by day without the thought of what they will eat. How much we can learn from the nature around us that God provides for them and since God cares infinitely more for us, why should we worry?
The child of God has nothing to fear because God’s wrath was placed upon His Son and the punishment that we due us was taken by the Son of God and now we have peace with God (Rom 5:1). Now we can say, as Paul did that “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers” (Rom 8:38) since “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom 8:37). Even so, I am all too often guilty of trying to carry what I was never designed to carry. I need to take my heavy load and put them into the hands of the One Who can carry the weight and Who sustains and upholds the universe by His power (Heb 1:3). When I worry I am essentially saying “God I don’t trust you.” Shame on me. I need to fall on my face, cast my every care and worry upon Him. He can handle it. I cannot.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon