What does Jesus say about being anxious?
Updated: Jan 6
Although the word "anxiety" may not be used frequently in the Bible, it still has a lot to say about this common emotion. In the English Standard Version (ESV), the word is used 8 times, while the New International Version (NIV) uses it 7 times. The King James Version (KJV), on the other hand, doesn't use the word at all, but does use synonyms like trouble, heaviness, distress, and cares to describe similar feelings.
There are many potential causes of anxiety, and it's difficult to enumerate them all. However, the Bible does provide some examples of common causes of anxiety.
For example, in Esther 4, both the Jewish people and Queen Esther are anxious due to a royal decree that allows for their massacre. The Jewish people are naturally worried about the threat to their lives, while Queen Esther is anxious because she has decided to risk her own life in order to save her people. This anxiety is fueled by fear of death and the unknown, which are common causes of anxiety.
In Genesis 32, we see that Jacob is anxious because he's returning home after many years away and has heard that his brother, Esau, is coming to meet him with 400 men. Jacob is worried that there will be a fight because he had stolen the birthright and blessing from their father in the past, which caused a rift in their relationship and left Jacob with a guilty conscience. This anxiety is caused by the combination of a broken relationship and Jacob's own guilt.
It's important to remember that not all anxiety is necessarily sinful.
If we look at 1 Corinthians 7:32, Paul states that an unmarried man may be anxious about pleasing the Lord, while a married man may be anxious about pleasing his wife. In these cases, the anxiety is not a sinful fear, but rather a deep and proper concern. It's natural to want to please the people we care about and live up to their expectations, and this can sometimes lead to feelings of anxiety.
One of the most well-known passages about anxiety can be found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. In this passage, Jesus advises us not to worry about the various cares of this life. As children of God, we can trust that He will provide for our needs, including necessities like food and clothing.
Jesus uses examples from God's creation, such as grass, flowers, and birds, to remind us that God cares for all of His creations and will take care of us as well.
Instead of worrying about things we can't control, we should seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and trust that all of our other needs will be met. The act of putting God first can be a powerful cure for anxiety.
Anxiety and worry can often be a result of sin in our lives, and the solution is to address and confess that sin. According to Psalm 32:1-5, those whose sins are forgiven are blessed and are relieved of the heavy weight of guilt. If a broken relationship is causing anxiety, we can try to make peace with the other person, as 2 Corinthians 13:11 advises. If fear of the unknown is causing anxiety, we can turn the situation over to God, who knows everything and is in control of all things (Psalm 68:20). And if overwhelming circumstances are causing anxiety, we can have faith in God and trust that He will see us through. Even in the midst of a storm, as the disciples learned in Matthew 8:23-27, we can find peace and comfort in the presence of Jesus. As long as we are with Him, there is nothing to fear. Hallelujah!
To conclude, we can trust the Lord to take care of us and meet all of our needs, including protection from evil, and anxiety (attacks). While we may not be able to stop anxious thoughts from coming to mind, we can choose how we respond to them. Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us to bring our worries and concerns to God through prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. As we do this, we can find the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Let us pray.
"Heavenly Father, thank you for your promises of taking care of me. Thank you for never leaving my side when I walk through dark valleys and experience strong feelings of anxiety. Help me to have faith and remember that you will see me through every anxiety attack, and through every strong emotion that makes me afraid. Help me to bring all of my worries and concerns to you through genuine prayer. And when I don't have the words to pray, please intercede for me like you promise in Romans 8:26. I love you, Jesus, and thank you for this day you have made. Amen."
God's Word referenced in this blog:
1 Corinthians 7:32
2 Corinthians 13:11
Brandy Kimbrough ❤️