Running Scared! An Entry from the Journal of Steven Soldatos
Anxieties and fears are as much a part of the first-century church as they are today. Jesus says so! "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life . . .” (Matthew 6:26). The apostle Paul says, Philippians 4:6, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Some may argue that we are more anxious today that ever before. Does this make much sense? After all, in the first century they were anxious about food and shelter. We have all the food we want. We have great medical facilities, counsellors on call, and most of all, we have the gospel of our Lord Jesus who loves us and has given his life for our redemption. We have an assurance of a full pardon for those who have repented and believe. Yet, we are still overcome with anxiety.
I had a fight with anxiety this week. My week was set out in order, it was a busy one, two sermons to prepare - I had it all planned out. Then with two phone calls and a recalcitrant body I fell two days behind...........creeping anxiety began its attack. Dark fear voiced this appearance. ‘I had seen this pattern before’ I said to myself. It doesn’t look good. What to do? I fought with self-pity (one of my favourite pass-times). I was tempted to say “Well God, you did this to me, you provide!” I was tempted to walk in despair knowing I don’t have the ability or the wisdom to get through the week. Uh huh! That is it. The penny dropped! I am anxious and fearful, I am entertaining self-pity (like most of my narcissistic generation) because I am I don’t have the ability of God! I cannot do what I want when I want with the quality I want!
I know it sounds awfully silly of to say that I am anxious because I don’t have the ability of God, however, isn’t that what the bible says is the problem with the human heart. It wants to be “like God" (Genesis 3.4). The human heart wants to be selfdetermining in life. Therefore, the Holy Spirit’s word convicted me again! I need to repent and humble myself. The Holy Spirit’s word also comforted me, Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Did that solve the problem? To be honest, I think I take myself too seriously. The more I focus on myself, the more anxious I get. Thus, I am still anxious, but that is because I need take my eyes off myself and to continue to learn to repent and believe what God says. I suspect this will be a lifetime of effort. However, I am relieved that my salvation and my acceptance before God is not based upon how well I subdue my anxiety. I try and rest in the Spirit’s word, “Jesus loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2.20)
Will you pray with me a prayer I found on the CCEF website?
“Lord, you are God and King. I am your servant. I know you owe me nothing. For some reason, you have given me everything in Jesus. I trust you. And please give me grace to trust you.” “Father, forgive me for always wanting things my way. By your mighty hand you have created all things. And by your mighty hand you have rescued your people. I want to live under your mighty hand. Please have mercy.” Thank you Father that I do not have to live under the slavery of anxiety and fear.
Jesus says, (Jn 10:29–30)
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
The Spirit’s word says
1 John 3.18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us...
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.