Emotions Pt. 4 ATTACKING ANXIETY

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1 Emotions Pt. 4 ATTACKING ANXIETY The founder of the J. C. Penney department stores was a Christian man, James Cash Penney, who came from a long line of Baptist preachers, grew up with deep convictions, and was an honest, hard-working, godly man. His first stores were not called Penneys, but The Golden Rule Stores [SLIDE] But in 1929 when the Great Depression hit, Penney found himself in crisis. [SLIDE PENNEY] He had made unwise commitments, and they turned sour. Penney began to worry about them, and soon he was unable to sleep. He developed a painful case of shingles and was hospitalized. His anxiety only increased in the hospital, and it seemed resistant to tranquilizers and drugs. His mental state deteriorated until, as he later said, I was broken nervously and physically, filled with despair, unable to see even a ray of hope. I had nothing to live for. I felt I hadn t a friend left in the world, that even my family turned against me. One night he was so oppressed he didn t think his heart would hold out, and, expecting to die before morning, he sat down and wrote farewell letters to his wife and sons. But he did live through the night, and the next morning he heard singing coming from the little hospital chapel. One sentence in a song said, Be not dismayed whatever happens; God will take care of you. Entering the chapel, he listened to the song, to the Scripture reading, and to the prayer. Suddenly something happened. I can t explain it. I can only call it a miracle. I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into warm, brilliant sunlight. All worry left him as he realized more fully than he had ever imagined just how much the Lord Jesus Christ cared for him. From that day J. C. Penney was never plagued with worry, and he later called those moments in the chapel the most dramatic and glorious twenty minutes of my life. (Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, pp ) How about you? Do you ever worry? Do you carry a certain dread of a future event? Most of the time, are you peaceful...or anxious? IS THIS YOUR NORMAL EXPERIENCE? You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. (Is. 26:3 NKJV) When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. (Ps. 94:19 NAS) 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. (Phil. 4:6-7) In the Greek language, the words worry and anxiety are synonymous. Today I am choosing to use the word anxiety. Anxiety is one of Satan s favorite weapons. It can paralyze you and wear you down. The Lord brought supernatural help to J. C. Penney. If worry is an ongoing issue with you, I believe the Lord can help you as well! 1

2 ANXIETY/ WORRY Unrealistic uneasiness or dread Undue concern or expectation Troubled with cares Tormented with troubling thoughts Drawn in different directions; distracted (Lk. 10:41) DON T WORRY ABOUT... (Matt. 6: 25-34) [READ word worry is used 6 times in passage] Finances (vv. 19, 26) you don t need to store up treasures on earth. Fitness (vv. 25, 27) you can t add a single hour to your life... Food (v. 31) e.g., what you eat or drink Fashion (vv. 28,31) what you will wear Future (v. 34) worrying about tomorrow I was thinking about this particular congregation. In addition to these five I would say two other major things we can worry about are our elderly parents and then our children the choices they will make. In both cases we must be concerned and often take action, but not be weighed down. What do young people worry about? two big items for them: Friends What people think about them NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF ANXIETY Being weighed down An anxious heart weighs a man down... (Prov. 12:25) Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life... (Luke 21:34) Sometimes our choices and busy lifestyle contribute to worry. The more we have, the more there is to worry about. Being neutralized Satan uses worry to bring Christians to a standstill Worry can neutralize you. It s like getting into your car, but just leaving your gear shift in neutral and pressing the accelerator. You make a lot of noise, you expend a lot of energy, but you don=t go anywhere, and eventually you will burn up the engine. Someone said, Worry, is also like a rocking chair: it will give you something to do, but it won t get you anywhere. God s word is choked (Lk. 8:14) The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. (Luke 8:14) Sleeplessness (Dan. 6:18; Ecc. 5:3) King Darius who was worried about Daniel in the lion s den could not sleep. Ecc. 5:3 A dream comes through many cares... The publication, Psychology Today said over half of people who worry frequently do so between the hours of 9 pm 3 am. Sleep is a gift from God. Let s not allow the devil or our own anxieties rob us of God s gift of sleep. 2

3 Sickness and possibly shorter life Charles Mayo, of the Mayo Clinic: You can worry yourself to death, but you cannot worry yourself to a longer life. (Charles Mayo) I just read book by Dr. Don Colbert, entitled Deadly Emotions, [SLIDE], in which he links our emotions that affect our physical body for good or for bad. In his chapter about worry he said, ANXIETY HAS BEEN LINKED TO Tension headaches High blood pressure Ulcers Irritable bowel syndrome (affecting 1 out of 5 Americans) Colitis Greater susceptibility to infections (Dr. Don Colbert) MUCH WORRY IS THINKING OF NEGATIVE, FUTURE EVENTS WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN Probably at least 80-90% of what we worry about is in this category. Worry is the interest we pay on debts we never owe. (Unknown) I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened. (Mark Twain) Jesus said, Do not worry about tomorrow... (Matt 6:34) e.g., We worry about a sickness which never comes... e.g., Maybe I ll lose my job... e.g., Maybe my mate will leave me. e.g., Maybe the stock market will drastically fall.. KJV = take no thought...not a good translation This can imply a lack of care or consideration; When we say do not worry, we do not mean Do ever think about it or do not care -e.g., if my business is failing... -e.g., if I have a child in trouble.. It simply means not to have an anxious care... Same Greek word used in Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. (2 Cor. 11:28 NIV) And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. (2 Cor. 11:28 ESV) This is probably the experience of most godly church leaders...you are just aware of more problems or challenging situations... so there is a concern, even a daily pressure, yet I do not believe it is to be weight... We take our cares...and make them prayers... 3

4 We may also need to take some action...but I am learning to cast my cares upon the Lord... I care deeply about others problems in and outside the church...but I do not lose sleep...only twice... This is not just for leaders; the same Greek word is used in the passage about the body of Christ:...its parts should have equal concern for each other. (1 Cor.12:25) So, I hope you carry concerns and care for your brothers and sisters, but not an anxious weight. When we are anxious...we take matters into our own hands...and if it does not work out, we start to get upset or nervous...or unhappy...instead of trusting God, our heavenly Father. Jesus said that worry is the business of pagans; we have a Father who cares even for birds, so he will care for us. Said the Robin to the Sparrow I would really like to know Why these anxious human beings Rush about and worry so? Said the Sparrow to the Robin, Friend, I think that it must be That they have no Heavenly Father Such as cares for you and me. WORRY IS SIN BECAUSE... It denies the wisdom of God; it says He does not know what he is doing. It denies the love of God; it says He does not care. It denies the power of God; it says He is not able to deliver me from whatever is causing me to worry. (Source: unknown) PRACTICAL STEPS TO CONQUER WORRY: 1. Quit fretting (Ps. 37:1, 7, 8) Three times in this psalm, it says, Fret not... We all have certain weaknesses which need the Lord s help. By nature, some people tend to fret more. Fret = to eat away; gnaw at, worry. Think about worry as a rat, gnawing away at your inner soul. We shouldn t let anything eat us up. ) John Piper said, Sometimes we just have to get tough with ourselves and say, Soul, this fretting is absolutely useless. You are not only messing up your own day, but a lot of other people s as well. Leave it with God and get on with your work. (John Piper) [Future Grace, p. 58] John Wesley in his journal recorded this at 73: I am 73 years old and far abler to preach that I was at 23. What natural means has God used to produce such a wonderful effect? 4

5 WHY JOHN WESLEY FELT SO HEALTHY AT 73 YEARS a) Continual exercise and change of air (traveled about 4000 miles a year -horseback) b) Constant early rising at 4:00 am c) The ability, if ever I want, to sleep immediately d) The never losing a night=s sleep in my life e) Two violent fevers f) Evenness of temper: I feel and grieve; but by the grace of God, I fret at nothing. 2. Mentally make deposits with God (I Pet. 5:7) Worry is the opposite of trust. There is no way you can trust and worry at the same time. I Peter 5:7 cast (Greek) = deposit. Suppose I make a deposit in the bank...call them in a half hour...hour later, I stop by and check again...later in the day I call the manager...no! We just leave it and go our way... I like this word deposit!...having deposited with Him once for all the whole of your worry... (I Pet 5:7 Wuest Expanded Translation) Fear is the opposite of faith. In the Matt 6 section about worry, I read the story of one YMCA director who was so full of anxiety, it almost ruined him. He said he finally got to the place where he wrote God a letter which simply said, Dear God, Today I resign as general manager of the universe. Love, George. And then he laughed as he told the story; he said, And you know what happened? God accepted my resignation! [D. Jeremiah, Slaying the Giants, 68] 3. Deliberately turn each concern in our mind over to the Lord with thanksgiving. (Phil. 4:6-7) 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. (Phil 4:6-7) What do we do when we sit in the doctor s office and hear him say, I m sorry to tell you, but We re going to have to admit your husband for further testing. Everything within us at that might want to worry, fret or fear, but through the Spirit of God we can have peace rise up in the circumstance: C Doctor, we re trusting God in this situation. We will pray that he give you wisdom and bring healing to my husband. e.g.,... you get a phone call, Mr. Jones, we have you son down at the county jail... Do we worry? Or pray...with thanksgiving? Charles Swindoll wrote, We worry when we subtract God s presence from our crises. We worry when we forget God s presence and God s sovereignty. We worry when we subtract His timing from our plans. When we eliminate prayer from our daily routines. When we subtract divine perspective from tough times. Anxiety overcomes us when we subtract God s power from our own feeble initiatives. (Charles Swindoll) [Swindoll, Tough Stuff, p. 43] Ruth Graham shared about how much she worried when her son, Franklin was living a wild and reckless life. One night she woke up about 3 o clock and she was full of fear concerning her son. She said she suffered from galloping anxiety, one fear piling upon another. She was exhausted, yet she knew she would be unable to go back to sleep. Suddenly the Lord seemed to say 5

6 to her, Quit studying the problems and start studying the promises. She turned on the light, got out her Bible, and the first verses that came to her were Philippians 4:6-7. As she read those words, she suddenly realized that the missing ingredient in her prayers had been thanksgiving.... in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. She put down her Bible and spent time worshiping God for who he is. She later wrote, I began to thank God for giving me this one I loved so dearly in the first place. I even thanked him for the difficult spots which had taught me so much. And you know what happened? It was as if someone turned on the light in my mind and heart, and the little fears and worries that had been nibbling away in the darkness like mice and cockroaches hurriedly scuttled for cover. That was when I learned that worship and worry cannot live in the same heart. They are mutually exclusive. (Ruth Graham) [R.Graham, It s My Turn, pp ; Nelson s Illustrations, p. 806] In that Philippians passage, v. 7 is a most wonderful promise: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7) The word guard is a military word. In other words, God s peace stands as a sentry, guarding our minds... Martin Lloyd Jones said about this verse 7, This is undoubtedly one of the noblest, greatest, and most comforting statements in all of existing literature. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones) [GIVE HANDOUTS NOW] 4. Verbally declare our confidence in Christ. (Ps. 27:1, 3) -How do we know we re giving way to worry? By the words of our mouth: Well what are we going to do? I just feel so sick about it... Oh me, oh me, oh me! If you are given to worry, a major remedy is biblical confession. Instead of confessing what naturally comes to mind; redirect your thoughts and confess the truth of God s word. Reading the psalms is one of the best prescriptions I could offer. The psalms are full of statements we can make our own to combat fears and worry. I have a card with some biblical confessions for you. Here is one we can close with from Psalm 27: The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident 6

7 (Ps. 27:1-3) Let s pray: Lord, we repent of giving way to worry instead of trusting you. This very day we take those anxious thoughts captive about family members, finances, health, and our future. We deposit all those cares with you. We pray for new freedom in our inner souls, just like James Penney experienced. Lord we also express our thanksgiving. You are a good God! You are faithful! You have never forsaken us! And, we will trust you for the future! Amen. 7

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