You Cannot Serve Two Masters: Anxiety and God
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. ~2 Timothy 1:7
Christians love spouting that verse when a fellow Christian is dealing with fear and anxiety. And, of course, it is very true. But, there are many Christians with the stronghold of anxiety that are feeling defeated because while they stand on that scripture, meditate upon it, repeat it over and over, they still remain in bondage. Why are Christians struggling with anxiety and can’t seem to get free? It is because just below their awareness, they are trying to serve two masters: anxiety and God.
Anxiety is an emotion just like anger, sadness, joy, or frustration. Emotions are part of God’s perfect design for humans. They serve a variety of purposes that include how we respond to events and circumstances in our lives. It was God’s intention for us to express emotion, it is part of who we are, part of the human condition. However, emotions come with a level of responsibility of which we must exercise control. If we do not control our emotions, they will begin to control us.
The most prominent human emotion when large groups of people across cultures and demographics were polled is anxiety. We live in a stressful world and in a stressful time where seemingly everything is spinning out of control. The future seems uncertain, scary. It is not unreasonable to expect a large chunk of the population to be in some state of anxiety at least some of the time. Anxiety is a normal, human emotion and it is part of our design placed to fulfill a specific purpose. However, as Christians, what we do with our anxiety is very important. We can’t remain there, and if we do, it becomes sin.
Anxiety is not sinful behavior at the onset. For example, a person loses their job and the first initial response is to be anxious. That is not sinful behavior. Anxiety in this situation becomes sin if that person remains in their anxious state and does not turn it over to God. In that regard, anxiety becomes sinful because it is exalting the idea that God is not in this situation, not providing for their needs, and the future is darkly uncertain.
There are many situations that can cause a person to become anxious, imminent danger notwithstanding. Typically, it involves our finances, work, family or our health, but the causes for an anxious response can vary widely from person to person. Feeling anxious when something happens is not falling into sin. It is absolutely normal to feel this way when things happen that fill us with uncertainty, fear or dread. But, if you set up camp there, and do not acknowledge God then turn it over to Him, you will find yourself in sin. And, if anxiety is not dealt with quickly and scripturally, it can become a stronghold.
When anxiety becomes a stronghold, it takes the form of a bad habit. A person who has allowed themselves to remain in anxiety for an extended period of time and in a variety of scenarios will quickly become attached to that line of thinking. They fail to turn to God, they take it upon themselves, self-will runs riot, and before long, the ability to operate from faith becomes near impossible in their own mind. One can’t be operating from faith and anxiety at the same time. We must choose. Deliberately.
A person with the stronghold of anxiety has been dwelling there for some time. Anxiety is their “go-to” emotion in almost every circumstance. At any point, we can be set free but the habit of anxious, negative, faithless, distrustful thinking must be broken. This takes some effort and time. To be anxious literally means to be “divided” or “distracted”. To be anxious means to be “pulled apart” in opposing directions. This is not the behavior of a practicing Christian, however, many of us fall into this as it tends to creep up upon us slowly over a period of time. This is why it is difficult to recognize and also challenging to reverse.
Video: HOW TO STOP A PANIC ATTACK RIGHT IN ITS TRACKS - PART ONE - The Salt Diaries: A Panic Victory
There are over 100 scriptures in the bible that begin with “do not fear” and I think that a lot of us get discouraged when we feel fear and believe that God disapproves of something that seems to come upon us without our permission. It is not a sin to feel fear, but it is a sin to stay there. Those of you reading this in the throes of an anxious condition are probably thinking, “I’ve tried that, repeatedly, and I can’t stop.” It might seem like that because you have been operating in that mode for an extended period. But, you can stop, it just takes practice and a clear decision to begin to trust God in the way that we are designed. You may have to rebuke anxious thoughts one hundred times in a given day depending on how entrenched the stronghold has positioned itself in your flesh. But, stay the course, keep at it, and you will find yourself out of the anxious habit sooner than you might think.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. ~2 Corinthians 10:4-6
The way that we get free from the stronghold of anxiety, first and foremost, is to make the decision to change. Anxious habits are rooted in the flesh and are about self-will and control. If we don’t first recognize that we have issues with anxiety, lean heavily on self-will in place of God’s will, and ultimately distrust God, we will not gain freedom. If you don’t deal with your anxiety it will deal with you. You can rebuke the devil all day long but if it is rooted in your flesh, nothing will change. You must make a clear decision which includes recognizing that you have a habit of anxious thinking and behavior, have not trusted God as He instructed, and then deliberately choose to change your behavior (repent).
Anxiety will battle your faith for the win. Don’t let it.
Jesus taught us specifically and clearly how to position our mind and our fear. Following this simple protocol will bring instant result. You just have to be willing to do it, and keep doing it whenever the situation calls for it.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.
Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~Philippians 4:4-9
The protocol is as follows:
Rejoice in the Lord. (this is a call to action – to rejoice is a deliberate act)
Be gentle (this means to be calm)
Do not be anxious (again, choose this deliberately)
In every situation, present your requests to God. This is done by prayer and petition (a petition is a specific request according to God’s word), with an attitude of thankfulness.
Think true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy thoughts.
Put into practice everything Jesus has taught you through His word or action.
Follow this simple protocol, and the peace of God that rises above what your mind can even comprehend will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. You can’t serve two masters. You can’t be anxious, fearful and distrustful and also be a faith-filled Christian. You have to make a choice.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. ~Matthew 6:24-34
Mammon is an idol, anxiety is also an idol because it exalts itself above God. And, this does not include a natural fear response to an event or circumstance. It becomes an idol once the initial response has been recognized and the choice to remain in fear and distrust has been made.
You can get set free from anxiety. You can get set free, stay free, and live a blessed, enjoyable life. You must make the choice. I know, I had to do this very thing myself. I had anxiety problems for years and the Lord has set me free. It was not overnight, it took effort, it required making choices that left me feeling vulnerable. But, God walked me through it every step of the way. And, He will do it for you too.
When anxiety is ignored it can increase in intensity. Sometimes, it manifests as a panic attacks. If you are in bondage to anxiety and panic attacks, these videos will bless you.
Video: HOW TO STOP A PANIC ATTACK RIGHT IN ITS TRACKS - PART TWO - The Salt Diaries: A Panic Victory
Make the choice to trust God today. God loves you as you are and wants you to live an abundant, joyful life. If you want prayer, please email us your requests as we would be happy and honored to pray for you as the Lord brings you through. Email us at: SaltRadioMinistries@gmail.com