Fear and Anxiety, The Pain of Unbelief and Rebellion Against God
Fear and anxiety disorders, according to reports from the web pages of the National Institute of Mental Health, impinge on the lifestyle of more than ten million U.S. adults per year. In fact, the NIMH statistics state that generalized-anxiety disorders, irrational fears (phobias), panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive turmoil, and post-traumatic trauma syndromes rank among the most frequent mental illnesses in modern U.S. life. Even the young, the adolescents, the children are not immune. Anxiety and fear sickness trouble old and young alike.
How foolish it sounds when men apply such a huge host of words to define and complicate a single root issue. I’m no doctor, psychologists, or trained counselor. The words that follow are based upon my own experiences and beliefs. Yet it seems to me that the love of “self” is the primary cause of fear and anxiety. Men submit to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the fresh and the pride of life, and in so doing, everything becomes about me, myself and I. And in a fallen, corrupted world, satisfying self by means that focus on self must also result in a state of personal torment.
According to 1 John 4:18, fear is a lack of love. The text does not mean a lack of self-love. Indeed, the Scripture declares that those who live in perfect love can live free of fear, for fear has torment. Yet men rebel against the simplicity of Godly living, and this keeps us in bondage to anxiety, fear, and the associated mental torment.
In a nation that has rejected God, accepted false doctrine, and lost all focus on truth, self becomes our god. So we seek to change the Word of God to suit our own selfish desires. Yet his word cannot be changed. Therefore we live without confidence, in fear, knowing somewhere on the fringes of out mind that we are outside the will of God and therefore subject to his judgment and justice. And we have no true hope.
Yet without hope, we struggle with despondency. Without truth confusion inhabits our understanding. Without knowledge and faith in the living God, we stumble in the paths of the village idiots. And misery becomes our lifestyle.
An Article on Fear and Anxiety
When I awoke this morning, the Lord said, “Michael. Today you will write an article on anxiety.” Now being naive, I assumed that this would involve words concerning personal anxieties, the kind that the apostle Paul often felt when worrying about the success of his labors. But after breakfast, after my mother-in-law was settled in for the morning, after I had retired to my study room, I was given a different sort of message.
I though to open my bible to 1 Thessalonians chapter three and verse one, but the Lord set my focus rather upon Isaiah chapter one. Beginning with verse two, I give you the scripture as it is paraphrased in “The Way”, an interesting translation termed as a Living Bible.
“Listen, O heaven and earth, to what the Lord is saying:
The children I raised and cared for so long and tenderly have turned against me. Even the animals – the donkey and the ox – know their owner and appreciate his care for them, but not my people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still don’t care.
Oh, what a sinful nation they are! They walk bent-backed beneath their load of guilt. Their fathers before them were evil too. Born to be bad, they have turned their backs upon the Lord and have despised the Holy One of Israel. They have cut themselves off from his help,” (Isaiah 1: 2-4 “The Way”).
Does anyone understand?
These words are written to God’s chosen people, but the times are now changed. The words apply toward any nation that has once called upon the living God from a spirit of truth. Though we are not Israel, and though our God is far from finished with Israel, these ancient words may also be applied to the current state of America.
Look at yourself, oh ye people who once called upon the living God. What a sinful nation we have become. See our burdens. Look around, and notice how many are now walking “bent-backed beneath a load of guilt”. Are we so stubborn as to be unable to acknowledge punishment and chastisement? Has the concept of discipline eroded into utter depravity?
The scripture goes on to speak of a people who are under punishment, a people who must be whipped over and over again. Rebels, we are, sick, weak, and faint from head to toe. Isaiah writes of a nation that is covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds. There is no soundness in us. We suffer from a sickness that is unbound, and that has not been anointed. And we cry out against those who would help.
Our country lies in ruins, not only by financial standards, but also as a nation that is devastated by moral decay and polluted leadership. No one acknowledges the wickedness of sin. All seek to live by their own rules no matter how frustrating those rules have proven to become. Foreigners have entered in, even into the nations capitol, and they plunder and destroy all that they see.
“Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers,” (Isaiah 1:8 “KJV”).
Is it any wonder that the people of this nation are consumed by fear and doubt and all manner of anxiety? When we are surrounded by a city that is like a desolate watchman’s shanty in the field, abandoned, left empty to decay long after the harvest time has dried up and passed away, is it any wonder that we suffer from phobias, and panic, and stress, and compulsive wickedness, and gut wrenching fears of tomorrow and of what else must yet come our way?
Release From Anxiety, The Right Way Out
There is hope for the hopeless. There are some who hold fast to Jesus, and to the promises of God, and to a holy lifestyle. There are some who have the power to hold this nation intact.
“Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah,” (Isaiah 1:9 “KJV”).
Do you wish true deliverance from the fear and the worry, from the deep inner groaning that threaten to consume you alive and to make you a living sacrifice to an unholy nation? Then turn from wickedness. Set your mind and your heart upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Become one of the remnants so that this nation might find healing in the mist of the boiler.
Throughout the churches, the pastors preach give, give, give. Thus the congregations seek to buy themselves free of the burdens and the fears and the worries. But God has proclaimed Himself weary of out multitude of sacrifices. “Full,” He says. “I am full of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of the lambs, or of the goats,” (Isaiah 1:11).
Stop listening to the beggars, to the pastors who always seek your gain to their treasure chests. Wash your filthy hands so that you are clean enough to touch an offering that will be presented before our Lord. Learn to do what is right and good. Take away the evil behavior. Do what is just. Care for the oppressed. Vindicate the fatherless, and defend the widows. Do these things first, and then when you bring forth your burnt offerings God will hear and respond.
When you are set to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, all things of any earthly value will be added unto you. Gold and silver will not buy God’s mercy; neither will burnt offerings avoid His wrath. Learn to live in grace, trusting always in the love of God; yet understand that He does not abide wickedness. We are not free to use the grace of God as a veil for unrighteous behavior. We no longer live in an age when God winks at sin. The recompense is within you.
Does coming to Christ mean that you will have no worries? Certainly not, for Christ himself cried out before the anguish of knowing His fate. It is in the human nature to be concerned with tomorrow and with the past and with that, which is happening at the moment.
Learning to trust in God alone is perhaps the most difficult task that a Christian must face. But He has promised, and He is true: the work that He begins within you will come to completion. Take up your cross. Become one of the remnants.
Remember: in the final hours, the angels came and they ministered to Jesus, and then He stood with courage, boldness, and confidence. This is the reward of a heart that takes anxiety before the God of eternal creation, the living God, the only God.
My goal is the furthering of the Christian Gospel and to help hurting people. Courage and strength reside in a settled confidence in the truth of God’s written word, in the assurance that the Holy Spirit abides within, and the certainty that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, died to pay for our sins, and is now risen again. Lay aside your fear and anxiety for there is strength in the healing love of God within you.