Jesus warned that, in the last days, the world would face unfolding trauma. There would be wars, earthquakes and many other disasters. Yet, to His disciples, He said, “Do not be terrified” (Luke 21:9). He also said that, because of world conditions, men’s hearts would fail “from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth”(Luke 21:26 NKJV). Not only would actual events generate worldwide fear, but the expectation of difficulties would cause men’s hearts to fail.
Today, heart failure is the number one cause of death in North America. Approximately every thirty-four seconds a heart stops beating and another person dies, usually suddenly. There may be many contributors to heart failure, but one major source is the inability to handle stress.
There are times when stress is unavoidable – the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, moving to a new home, severe illness, or going through a divorce – all take a toll. But most of the time accepting anxiety should not be so readily accommodated. The problem is that, just as death entered the world through Adam’s sin (see Rom. 5), so the substance of death enters our personal world through our sins as well. Indeed, when we carry anxiety-related stress, we are carrying in our soul a container of death that, without fail, takes an ever increasing toll upon our lives.
Consider our world: War and terror attacks can occur at any time and anywhere. Our stock market and economy continues to bolt up and down, like a wild roller coaster. We have many unanswered questions about the future that are multiplied stress factors.
We also have personal situations. We worry about aging and our health. We have stress at our jobs and stress with a lack of jobs. Our homes should be a harbor of peace, yet they often are a place of strife and anxiety, especially as our children become teens. Someone once said, “A mother is only as happy as her saddest child.” It is true for fathers also. We all carry people in our hearts, and as we love them their battles become ours, further adding to the burden of anxiety we carry.
If you want to know how stressed you are, look at your disposition when you drive. If you are always exceeding the speed limit, it reveals the lack of rest in your soul. That extra push on the accelerator is continually occurring on your heart throughout the day, not only when you are driving. Driving simply makes apparent the level of anxiety we have learned to live with.
Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6). Yet we seem to be anxious for everything. In fact, stress-related anxiety is so much a part of our lives that, somehow, it has escaped being identified as being sinful. We medicate it, but do not change the habits of fear that caused it in the first place. But anxiety is sin. At its core, it is a stubborn refusal to trust the goodness of God or rest in His power. Anxiety is a by-product of unbelief. It is a spiritual “terror attack” from hell that is silently killing tens of thousands every day.
God Is With Us
Certainly, I am not suggesting we become passive. However, I am saying we ought to abandon our fears and the stressful anxieties that come from not trusting in God. Our Messiah is “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” Jesus promised to be with us, “even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). At some point we must accept the wonder and power of Christ’s promise. Those who believe enter His rest (Heb. 3). He is with us always! To mistrust this promise is to reject the very character of God’s nature. This is not a minor issue.
Yet, even now Jesus says,
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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).
Let us come to Him. Let us cast our burdens upon Him, for truly He cares for us. Let us break our addictions to stress. We don’t have to be tied up in knots inside. The God of peace will crush Satan beneath our feet shortly (see Rom. 16:20). Anxiety is sin. Let us break the bondage of this sin and walk as sons and daughters of God, who are anxious for nothing.
Lord, forgive me for my sin of anxiety. I renounce fear. I declare that my soul is Your property, that You have promised to care for me. I believe Your promises. I come to You and entrust all I am into Your love and care. In Jesus’ name. Amen