Christian Biblical Counsel: WORRY, ANXIETY, TENSION

Background

 

The term anxiety covers a wide range of problems resulting from unfounded fears. Someone has said that the anxious person and the worrier are so preoccupied about what may happen in the future that they forget to cope with the present. It is characteristic of such a person to worry about anything. They build “mountains out of mole hills,” as insignificant matters assume great importance in their lives. They are anxious about imagined shortcomings, the future, their health, their families, and their work. They are often unable to pinpoint the reasons for their anxieties and fears.

 

Many anxious people suffer physical difficulties such as nervousness, sleeplessness, headaches, difficulty in breathing, or excessive sweating. Inability to find relief from the anxiety can lead to more serious consequences, such as a “nervous breakdown.” Obviously, such people need our sympathy, our prayers, and whatever help we can offer.

 

Helping Strategy

 

1. Offer encouragement. The Lord can help! “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance” (Psalm 42:5). A genuine, healthy fear of God conquers all other fears!

 

2. Help the inquirer discover the reason for his or her anxiety. Try to offer more than just a temporary relief. As much as possible, seek to get at “root causes.” Avoid probing too deeply, however.

 

Limited time for discussion, and the possibility that the person’s anxieties are based on traumatic experiences of the past, should limit your questions only to those which will help open the door for presenting Christ as Savior and sustainer. Your questions might include:

 

• Why are you fearful (about your job, your future, your family, etc.)?

• Why are you nervous? Why do you have headaches? Why can’t you sleep?

• Describe the way you feel. Do you feel guilty? What might have caused such feelings?

• Do you think you may be running from something?

 

Again, these questions should be asked in a friendly, conversational manner. You are discussing these matters as an equal, not as one in the superior position of counselor or spiritual leader.

 

If the anxiety seems to have been brought on by true feelings of guilt, this could indicate wrong behavior that needs correction. Experiencing God’s forgiveness in Christ can remove guilt and guilt feelings, which will contribute to healing. Share “Steps to Peace with God,” page 11.

 

Avoid telling people that if they think right they are bound to feel right. To the contrary, some people need to learn that right living produces right feelings. God alone is the source of positive thoughts. Facing the basic problem—sin—will eventually produce the kind of conduct which pleases God, and will result in better emotional health.

 

Anxiety about the future may reveal concern about death and future judgment. Again, this opens the door to present Christ.

 

3. Discuss the necessity of daily Bible study and prayer. We must not only read the Bible, but must assimilate its teachings in such a way that they begin to mold our life and character. Memorizing the Bible is most important. “Thinking God’s thoughts” will take the place of worried, anxious concerns.

 

Prayer is the companion of Bible study. According to the Bible, we should “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

 

4. Share some of the promises of God’s Word. God can be trusted to keep His promises. See “Scripture.”

 

5. Advise the inquirer to get involved with a Bible-teaching church. Thinking of and serving with others can be an antidote to negative and unhealthy introspection.

 

6. Pray with the inquirer for genuine solutions (see Psalm 34:4, next page). If you detect deeper problems than you can deal with, suggest that the person consider counseling with a Christian psychologist.

 

Scripture

 

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

 

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5, NIV).

 

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:33–34, NIV).

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7, NIV).

 

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Other suggested Scriptures:

 

Psalm 55:22, NIV

Proverbs 3:5–6

Romans 8:28

Philippians 4:13

Philippians 4:19, NIV

 

The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996

 

Worry, Anxiety

See also Prayer; Trust.

1.   Jesus instructs us not to worry about tomorrow; about food, clothing, etc.

Matt. 6:25–34.

Matt. 6:25. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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?”

Matt. 6:26, 28. “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;”

2.   Take one day at a time, and don’t borrow trouble.

Matt. 6:34. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

3.   Don’t be anxious, but pray.

Phil. 4:6–7. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

4.   Cast all your anxiety on the Lord.

1 Peter 5:6–7. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

5.   You can discover the secret of tranquillity.

Ps. 37:3–7.

Ps. 37:3. Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Ps. 37:4. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Ps. 37:5. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Ps. 37:7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

6.   Anxiety weighs a person down.

Prov. 12:25. Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

Prov. 14:30. A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.

Prov. 17:22. A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.[1]

 

 

Worry

The Joy Stealer

by June Hunt

One of the most destructive habits ensnaring human beings is also so common that many consider it as natural as breathing and as harmless as blinking. That habit is called worry. It is such a skilled and deceptive thief that its victims don’t even know they’ve been robbed … of peace, of time, of mental energy and of emotional well-being.

Worry   is like a thick braided headband that puts pressure on the mind—a confining   cord interwoven with three strands—the distresses of yesterday, the trials of   today and the fearful “what if’s” of tomorrow. This vice-like grip of worry   tragically compresses your joy, cramps your peace and confines your freedom.   But this constriction can be conquered!

June   Hunt

 

I.     Definitions

A. What Is Worry?

•     In the New Testament one Greek word translated as “worry” is merimnao, which means “to be anxious, to be distracted” or “to have a divided mind” (merizo, “to divide”—nous, “the mind”).

—  To worry is to divide your mind between that which is useful and worthwhile and that which is damaging and destructive.

—  To worry is to block the flow of creative energy in your life.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

(Matthew 6:27)

•     The concept of worrying is conveyed throughout Scripture by numerous words and phrases.

—  to be fretful

—  to be without peace

—  to be anxious

—  to be distracted

—  to be concerned

—  to be troubled

—  to be weighed with cares

—  to be distressed

—  to be heavy-hearted

—  to be despairing

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

(Psalm 139:23)

B. What Is the Nature of Worry?

Worry is not an inherited weakness (“My mom was a worrier.”), a humorous habit (“I’m just a worrywart!”) or a justifiable excuse for prideful perfectionism (“Somebody has to worry about doing it right”).

Worry is a blatant sin that is displeasing to God because its underlying nature is …

•     Disbelief

Worry reveals that you really don’t believe God when He says He will provide all that you need.

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

•     Disobedience

Worry reveals that you are taking on personal responsibility and concern for that which God has already promised to provide.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ ” (Matthew 6:25–31)

•     Destruction

Worry destroys your physical body, which is the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” It can bring about a host of physical ailments, such as high blood pressure, heart trouble, headaches, colds and other stomach disorders.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

•     Dishonor

Worry shifts the focus of attention from the all sufficient power of Christ to your human insufficiency and insecurity. Ultimately, worry can undermine your Christian witness by presenting God as impotent and unworthy of praise.

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Since God says, “Do not worry,” it is clearly His desire that you do not worry.

C. What Is the Focus of Worry?

A specific characteristic of worry is a negative focus on the future. If you are a worrier, you are spending time speculating on what may or may not happen and then fearing the worst.

•     “What if I lose my job?”

•     “How will I pay my bills?”

•     “What if I can’t find another job?”

•     “What if my spouse leaves me?”

•     “How will I make it alone?”

•     “What will people think?”

•     “What if my teen gets into trouble?”

•     “How will I deal with it?”

•     “What will my options be?”

•     “What if my parents become incapacitated?”

•     “How will I pay for long-term care?”

•     “What will they expect me to do for them?”

•     “What if my spouse has an affair?”

•     “How will I ever forgive?”

•     “What will I tell the children?”

•     “What if I have cancer?”

•     “How will it impact my life?”

•     “What will be my treatment possibilities?”

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ ”

(Matthew 6:31)

D. The Other Side of Worry

A fine line determines the difference between destructive worry and constructive concern. You may have defended your tendency to worry as being only genuine concern, but honesty requires that you take a closer look at your heart and your motives.

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.”

(Psalm 51:6)

Destructive   Worry

 

Constructive   Concern

 

•     paralyzes

 

•     motivates

 

•     decreases creativity

 

•     increases creativity

 

•     prevents initiative

 

•     promotes initiative

 

•     results in anxious fretting

 

•     results in calm focusing

 

•     attempts to control the future

 

•     attempts to improve the future

 

•     fears the worst

 

•     hopes for the best

 

•     appears negative to others

 

•     appears positive to others

 

•     distracts the mind from what is important

 

•     directs the mind to what is important

 

“I’m   so worried that my child might drown that I’m never going to let her anywhere   near the water.”

 

“I’m   so concerned that my child can’t swim that I’ve made arrangements to give her   swimming lessons.”

 

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2)

E. Biblical Example of a Worrier

Mary and Martha both loved their friend Jesus but expressed their love in different ways. When Jesus was visiting at the sisters’ home, Mary devotedly sat at His feet feasting on His every word while Martha scurried diligently to prepare a feast for her King. Clearly distracted by all the unfinished details, martyr Martha demanded that Jesus order Mary to make herself useful. But Jesus saw Mary as tranquil and teachable, Martha as troubled and testy. Martha had been caught in her own web of worry, but instead of scolding her, Jesus targeted the solution for all the ensnared Martha’s of the world with this timeless truth:

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’ ”

(Luke 10:38–42)

Freedom is found not by fretting over the temporal, but by focusing on the eternal.

 

II.    characteristics of a worrier

Worry is like a thief in the night that steals your spiritual peace. God never intended for you to live fearfully focused on the future … hostage to an emotional heist. If you are consumed with worry, you are experiencing some of the following physical and emotional symptoms that are robbing you of spiritual maturity.

“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”

(Matthew 13:22)

Are You Snared in the Web of Worry?

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

(Proverbs 29:25)

A. Emotional

•     Are you fearful of what others think about you?

•     Are you overwhelmed with fear of the future?

•     Are you dismayed when you hear bad news?

•     Are you fretful when an unjust person succeeds?

•     Are you anxious over unresolved relationships?

•     Are you terrified of death?

“The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.”

(Psalm 25:17)

B. Physical

•     Are you having difficulty sleeping?

•     Are you losing your appetite?

•     Are you overeating?

•     Are you experiencing headaches?

•     Are you having stomach problems?

•     Are you struggling with maintaining good health?

“All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.”

(Ecclesiastes 2:23)

 

III.   causes of worrying

A. Why Do You Worry?

What you worry about is not nearly as important as why you worry. You may know and love God, but when you trust in anything other than God’s promises and provision for your life, then worry will turn your heart away from the Lord and turn your trust into distrust.

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

(Jeremiah 17:5)

distrust

Distorted Thinking

•     Trusting God to save you but not trusting Him to meet your everyday needs

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9–11)

Illusory control

•     Thinking that by mentally arranging future events you can control the outcome

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:13–17)

Super responsibility

•     Having a burdened sense of duty to make every area of your life perfect, not having learned to content yourself

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11–12)

Transferred guilt

•     Instead of confronting the real sin in your life, allowing false guilt to surface as worry in other areas

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:3–5)

Runaway emotions

•     Instead of choosing to respond to what Scripture says when you face difficulties, letting anxiety or fear have full control

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

Unhealthy need

•     Feeling a desperate need to have the approval of others and worrying about how you look, how you present yourself

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

Spiritual starvation

•     Trying to live on past spiritual nourishment, but starving for lack of a present spiritual intimacy with God

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.… The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:8, 10)

Trampled self-image

•     Lacking a sense of God-given self-worth, thus feeling powerless to cope with problems

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

B. Root Cause

Without hesitation, Peter literally stepped out on faith, stepped out of the boat and started his sweeping strides on the water. But Peter’s wondrous walk quickly became a sinking experience when he changed his focus from Christ to his own frailty. Likewise, when your focus is drawn away from the Lord Jesus and the Word of God, you set yourself up to drown in a sea of worry. (Read Matthew 14:25–33.)

Wrong Belief:

“I believe God cares about me, but I can’t believe He is concerned with the everyday details of my life. I can’t help but worry.”

Right Belief:

God has already promised to provide all the needs in my life through Christ. I don’t need to worry about how He will carry out that promise. I will trust Him to do it.

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

 

IV.  steps to solution

Scripture commands you to cast your cares or worries upon the Lord … to commit and entrust yourself and your desires and concerns totally to Him. But how do you do that? In the Bible, God often describes His people as being like sheep. When a sheep falls and ends up on its back, it is said to be “cast.” A cast sheep is totally helpless and has no resources upon which it can draw to remedy the situation. When we worry, we are like cast sheep. We have no resources within ourselves upon which to draw that will really affect our situation. But Jesus actually wants us to cast ourselves upon Him. He wants us to come to the end of our own resources so that we will depend upon Him for our very life. When we cast ourselves upon Him, He gently picks us up and carries us in His arms. As Isaiah 40:11 says: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.

A. Key Verse to Memorize

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

(1 Peter 5:7)

B. Key Passage to Read and Reread

Luke 12:22–34

Worry Is Worthless!

If you worry …

•     Remember, life is more than food and   clothes.

 

v. 22

 

•     You’ll miss the meaning of life.

 

v.   23

 

•     Remember, God feeds the birds and will be   sure to feed you.

 

v.   24

 

•     You can’t extend the length of your life.

 

v.   25

 

•     It is an exercise in futility.

 

v.   26

 

•     You waste your time and energy.

 

v.   27

 

•     You exhibit a lack of faith.

 

v.   28

 

•     You set your heart on tangibles instead   of trust.

 

v.   29

 

•     You are like unbelievers, refusing faith   in God.

 

v.   30

 

•     You are not making God’s kingdom your   priority.

 

v.   31

 

•     You are forgetting what the Father has   already given you.

 

v.   32

 

•     You are thinking more of yourself than of   others.

 

v.   33

 

•     You are treasuring the temporal over the   eternal.

 

v.   34

 

C. Cure for the Chronic Worrier

Worries become well rehearsed tapes in your mind. You know you shouldn’t worry, but you can’t seem to turn the worry tape off … then you worry about your worrying. Fortunately God doesn’t simply say, “Stop worrying,” without telling you how to stop worrying. Although your thoughts and memories can’t be erased, the tapes can be replaced, and Philippians 4:6–9 tells you how.

God’s Word

•     What does God say to you about   worrying?

“He says I am   not to worry.”

 

 

v.   6

 

•     What does God say you should do   instead of worrying?

“He says I am   to express my concerns to Him in prayer.”

 

 

v.   6

 

•     What does God want you to pray   about?

“He says bring   everything to Him.”

 

 

v.   6

 

•     What kind of attitude does God   expect you to have?

“He says I am   to have a heart of praise and thankfulness.”

 

 

v.   6

 

•     What does God promise if you give   Him your worries?

“He says I   will have incomparable peace of heart and mind.”

 

 

v.   7

 

•     What does God say you should   focus your thoughts on?

“He says I   should replace my negative thoughts with those that are truthful, noble,   right, pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy.”

 

 

v.   8

 

•     What does God say about how you   should act?

“He says I am   to act in a way that reflects His character.”

 

 

v.   9

 

God’s Way

•     Acknowledge what you worry about.

—  Read Philippians 4:8 carefully one point at a time.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

•     Evaluate every worry against each point.

—  Ask, “Are my thoughts true … noble … right … pure … lovely … admirable … excellent … praiseworthy?”

•     Change your focus from worrying to resting in God’s sovereignty.

“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10)

D. Eight Occasions of Worry

#1  If you say:

I’m afraid that my situation is impossible.

The Lord says:

I can make all things possible.

“What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)

#2  If you say:

I’m worried that I’m not wise enough.

The Lord says:

I will give you My wisdom.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

#3  If you say:

I feel anxiety over the cares of the world.

The Lord says:

Cast all your anxiety on Me.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

#4  If you say:

I’m overwhelmed with fear.

The Lord says:

I will give you My strength when you’re afraid.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

#5  If you say:

I’m so worried—I can’t forgive myself.

The Lord says:

I can forgive you.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

#6  If you say:

I’m worried that my loved ones might leave me.

The Lord says:

Once you’ve come to Me, I will never leave you.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

#7  If you say:

I’m worried that I might die.

The Lord says:

I will give you eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

#8  If you say:

I’m so worried that I can’t rest.

The Lord says:

I will give you My rest.

“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.” (Matthew 11:28–30)

E. How to Rid Your Life of Worry

•     Desire to be free of all that chokes out the will of God.

—  Express your heart’s desire to do God’s will.

“I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)

—  Admit you have sinned and chosen to go your own way.

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” (Psalm 51:4)

—  Give Christ control over your life, allowing Him to be your Lord.

“He called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?’ ” (Mark 8:34–36)

—  Tell God that you want Him to do His will in and through you.

“It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

“The worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19)

•     Recognize God’s presence in your life.

—  The Lord is your life.

“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)

—  The Lord is your security.

“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39)

—  The Lord is your provider.

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

—  The Lord is your protector.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

(Psalm 18:2)

•     Eliminate the worry producing can’ts, should’s, must’s and have to’s.

—  “I can’t stand to be rejected!”

—  “I should meet all their expectations.”

—  “I must not fail.”

—  “I have to have excellent health.”

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Psalm 13:2)

•     See your worry producing situations as opportunities for character building.

—  Initiate new relationships even at the risk of being hurt.

—  Have confidence that the Lord is directing your life even if circumstances don’t work out the way you had hoped.

—  Expect the Lord to make positive changes in you even when you fail.

—  Let your life be an example of growing older gracefully.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

•     Cultivate contentment with prayer.

—  “Lord, I want to be accepted, but if I’m not, I won’t be robbed of my joy—You accept me unconditionally.”

—  “Lord, rather than worry about the welfare of my family, I’ll trust them to Your sovereign care.”

—  “Lord, instead of becoming anxious about my job, I choose to trust You with my future.”

—  “Lord, I want to have excellent health, but if I don’t, I am willing to learn contentment and refuse to worry.”

“Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”

(Luke 18:1)

•     In your heart implant God’s promises …

—  for contentment

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11–13)

—  for hope

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

—  for strength

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

—  for confidence

“God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:4)

•     Thank God for …

—  His comforting presence in the midst of your pain

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

—  What He will teach you through your trials

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2–4)

—  His compassion you now have toward others in similar trials

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

—  His sovereignty over yesterday, today and tomorrow

“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.

I say: my purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:10)

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

(Matthew 5:45)

•     Nourish your body with the right physical activities.

—  If you don’t get enough sleep, small problems become insurmountable.

—  If you don’t eat healthy foods, you can feel fatigued and frazzled.

—  If you don’t make time to exercise, you can feel “down” and depressed.

—  If you don’t know where to start, get a thorough medical checkup.

“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.” (Psalm 127:2)

•     Nurture your mind with spiritual music.

—  Listen to uplifting praise music.

—  Meditate on the words of the songs.

—  Sing songs of God’s promise to provide what you need.

—  The moment worry begins, counteract it with a song of God’s faithfulness.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” (Psalm 28:7)

•     Commit to doing the following every day for the next four weeks:

—  Focus on living in the present—not in the past or future.

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ ” (James 4:13–15)

—  Emulate the godly example of people you know.

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)

—  Ask God to direct you in performing at least one unexpected act of kindness.

“In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

—  Believe His promise—you have the peace of God surrounding you and the God of peace within you.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7–8)

When   worries sprout, check them out. Worry is a joy killer, strangling your spirit   and soul. By worrying, you choke the joys of today. Instead of fretting over   the future, trust God for tomorrow—He is already there.

June   Hunt

 

 

God’s Word for Worried Hearts

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

(John 14:1)

Do You Need …?

•     Comfort

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in   want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet   waters, he restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:1–3)

•     Confidence

“For God did   not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of   self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

•     Contentment

“I have   learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in   need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of   being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether   living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me   strength.” (Philippians 4:11–13)

•     Grace

“Let us then   approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy   and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

•     Hope

“ ‘I know   the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord,   ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a   future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

•     Love

“How great is   the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of   God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that   it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1)

•     Peace

“You will keep   in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”   (Isaiah 26:3)

•     Rest

“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.”   (Matthew 11:28–30)

•     Restoration

“And the God   of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have   suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm   and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10)

•     Salvation

“If you   confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God   raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

•     Strength

“So do not   fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will   strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”   (Isaiah 41:10)

Do You Need …?

•     A New Beginning

“Forget the   former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it   springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and   streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18–19)

•     Comfort in Aging

“Even to your   old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you   and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah   46:4)

•     Courage to Stand Alone

“What, then,   shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”   (Romans 8:31)

•     Freedom from Fear

“But now, this   is what the Lord says—he who   created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have   redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass   through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers,   they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be   burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.’ ” (Isaiah 43:1–2)

•     Freedom from Personal Works

“For it is by   grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is   the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s   workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in   advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8–10)

•     God’s Presence

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and   saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

•     Perspective in Persecution

“Do not repay   anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of   everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with   everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath,   for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On   the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something   to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be   overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17–21)

•     Perspective on Sorrow

“Why are you   downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I   will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

•     Perspective on Worry

“Therefore I   tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about   your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the   body more important than clothes?… But seek first his kingdom and his   righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore   do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day   has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25–34)

•     God’s Provision

“ ‘Which   of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a   fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to   give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven   give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9–11)

•     God’s will

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not   on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make   your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Anderson, Neil T., and Rich Miller. Freedom from Fear. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1999.

Baker, Don. Thank You Therapy. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1989.

Beck, Hubert F., and David T. Moore. Helping Worriers. Strategic Pastoral Counseling Resources. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994.

Beck, James R., and David T. Moore. Why Worry? Conquering a Common Inclination. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994.

Carter, Les, and Frank Minirth. The Worry Workbook. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000.

Cresse, Michelle. Beyond Fear: The Quantum Leap to Courageous Living. Lynnwood, WA: Aglow, 1990.

Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2001.

Flournoy, Richard L., Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, and States V. Skipper. 100 Ways to Obtain Peace: Overcoming Anxiety. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985.

Haggai, John Edmund. How to Win Over Worry. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959.

Hart, Archibald D. The Anxiety Cure: You Can Find Emotional Tranquility and Wholeness. Nashville: Word, 1999.

Hunt, June. Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Forgive … When You Don’t Feel Like It. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Handle Your Emotions. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Hunt, June. Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Miller, J. Keith. Hope in the Fast Lane: A New Look at Faith in a Compulsive World. Grand Rapids: Harper & Row, 1990.

Minirth, Frank, Paul Meier, and Don Hawkins. Worry-Free Living. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1989.

Smith, Hannah Whitall. The God of All Comfort. Chicago: Moody, 1956.

Stoop, David. Self Talk: Key to Personal Growth. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1982.

Thornton, Edward E., and Gerald L. Borchert. The Crisis of Fear. Nashville: Broadman, 1988.[2]

 

Worry, Anxiety

See also Prayer; Trust.

1.   Jesus instructs us not to worry about tomorrow; about food, clothing, etc.

Matt. 6:25–34.

Matt. 6:25. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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?”

Matt. 6:26, 28. “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;”

2.   Take one day at a time, and don’t borrow trouble.

Matt. 6:34. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

3.   Don’t be anxious, but pray.

Phil. 4:6–7. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

4.   Cast all your anxiety on the Lord.

1 Peter 5:6–7. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

5.   You can discover the secret of tranquillity.

Ps. 37:3–7.

Ps. 37:3. Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Ps. 37:4. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Ps. 37:5. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Ps. 37:7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

6.   Anxiety weighs a person down.

Prov. 12:25. Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

Prov. 14:30. A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.

Prov. 17:22. A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.[3]

 


[1] Kruis, J. G. (1994). Quick scripture reference for counseling (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[2] Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Worry: The Joy Stealer (1–20). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

[3] Kruis, J. G. (1994). Quick scripture reference for counseling (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

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