The Answer to Anxiety

By: Dr. James Van Dyke; ©2000
The Bible says to be “anxious for nothing.” So is it a sin for a Christian to feel anxious? Dr. Van Dyke explains, and gives practical advise in dealing with stressful events in our lives.

The doctor told the patient that he could find nothing physically wrong with him. He suggested that the man might be suffering from an overload of anxiety. Since the patient was a Christian, he found himself disturbed by the idea of being anxious. “If I am a Chris­tian, how can I be anxious?” he thought.

Being a Christian does not spare one from all anxiety. But, being a Christian gives one the answer, or antidote, for anxiety. Anxiety is a common experience in the world today, due to the high stress level under which we live and work. The high anxiety level of people in America is evidenced by the billions of dollars spent annually on tranquilizers and anti­depressants.

And anxiety is nothing new. It was present in biblical times, too. Thus, we find theApostle Paul addressing the problem in his letter to the Philippians: “Have no anxiety aboutanything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requestsbe made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6) Then, is it wrong, a sin, for a Christian to be anxious?

No. The proper reading of the Greek text would read: “Don’t be CONTINUALLY anx­ious about anything….” Paul is not saying we would never experience even a moment of anxiety; he is saying that we should not let ourselves be anxious about everything; we should not yield ourselves to anxiety.

We don’t need to. Dr. Oswald Chambers has pointed out that being anxious betrays a lack of trust in God’s care and is a form of unconscious blasphemy against Him. Instead, we should PRAY. We should pray to our heavenly Father, Who feeds the birds of the air and adorns the lilies of the field. (Matt. 6:25-30)

The kind of prayer Paul is talking about here is not saying the Lord’s Prayer, or “Now I lay me down to sleep….” It is fervent, trusting prayer, in which we pour out our needs, our cares, our fears, our frustrations to our Heavenly Father, in faith that He hears and cares.

As we ask God (supplication) for what we need, we undoubtedly will be reminded how faithful He has been in the past, and we must remember to give Him thanks for His bless­ings, His faithfulness. We must not be like greedy children who clamor for second helpings but never say either “please” or “thank you.”

When we pray like this, under girded by thanksgiving, there is a wonderful BONUS. “And the peace of God, which goes beyond all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7) And when God’s peace comes in the door, anxiety goes out the window. Oh yes, it will creep back in again. But all we have to do is apply the antidote again. THANK YOU, JESUS!

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