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Here's How the Church Can Welcome People with Anxiety

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What’s the Worry?

In the world, we are given countless bits of information. News stations erupt with “Breaking News” in order to gather your gaze and instill worry and anxiety into your hearts.

However, we must first understand what worry and anxiety are before we can see the remedy and grow in Christ together.

Anxiety, like all our emotions, tell us what we value. We experience no anxiety when we breathe out carbon dioxide because we do not treasure it.

However, when our job is threatened, our bank statements are lower than normal, or our (or a loved one’s) health is on a downward trajectory, we find ourselves worrying and anxious.

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So, we must first remember what our anxiety is telling us: anxiety communicates what we value. 

Who’s the Sovereign?

The bad news is that worry and anxiety are sinful.

We are told not to worry or be anxious about our lives (Matthew 6:25, 31, 34, ESV) or as Paul sums it up, do not be anxious about “anything” (Philippians 4:6, ESV). Therefore, worry and anxiety are sinful.

Anxiety is doing the opposite of Proverbs 3:5-6; instead of trusting in the Lord and not leaning on our own understanding — we are trusting in ourselves and leaning on our own understanding.

We do not keep our own hearts beating, yet we fret over much larger things in life. We worry because we think we can control. Like children sitting in their father’s lap in the driver seat, we forget that our feeble hands turn nothing.

The good news is that God is sovereign and reigns over your entire life. The reason why God commands us not to worry is because He is governing, ordaining, and working in and through everything for His glory and for your good.

Psalm 135:6, “Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps,” (ESV). Nothing happens that does not occur by God’s sovereign will as the King. He appoints both rulers and riches, life and death, and everything in between (1 Samuel 2:6-7, ESV).

Proverbs 16 tells us that everything is ordained and ruled by the Lord — indeed, nothing is random (Proverbs 16:1-4, 9, 33, ESV). Jesus died for our anxious worrying and in His rising He gives us a resting faith in Him.

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He gives us a spirit “not of fear” but of “power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Thus, being united to Christ by faith, we are restored to our Father and granted access into the King’s court as His beloved children.

Jesus Christ is good, mighty, and righteous in all His ways. That is your Sovereign, that is your Ruler over your life.

What’s the Cure?

The cure: faith in the Sovereign King; a faith that entrusts our all to Him and that by faith takes what He has sent, worships at His footstool, and closes our mouth in reverence and love.

Jesus said in Matthew 6 to simply “Look at the birds” and to “Look at the lilies” that our Father sustains and supports; they do not worry, but they only fly to the tune of praise and bloom where they are planted. Our worrying is a faith problem: “O you of little faith!” (Matthew 6:30, ESV).

Likewise, we mustn’t worry but “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). And we seek God’s kingdom by faith, trusting His kingly rule, giving over our weak and frail hearts, and believing His Word that promises us not to worry about anything, but to instead pray about everything (Philippians 4:6-7, ESV) knowing that His sovereign hands turn, hold, and control the wheel of my life.

The faith that binds us to Christ, is the faith that enables us to trust Christ. And our God will sustain, keep, and bring His weak and doubting children to glory (1 Corinthians 1:7-9, Philippians 1:6).

How, then, can the church welcome, encourage and strengthen those with anxiety? Here are five simple ways your church can accomplish this mission:

  1. Hearing the Preached Word – God’s regular means of feeding faith is His Word. Heralded rightly and heard faithfully. We must give ourselves to reading, hearing, and believing the Word. And, we must encourage others to do so.
  2. Gathering with Believers – There is no such thing as a lone ranger Christian. Those sheep will fall into muddy despondency if they are alone. Thus, gather regularly with your local church. Confess your sins to one another, “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2, ESV). This can only happen if we are surrounded by other believers with prayer and bible study together.
  3. Giving Free Material – There are loads of resources available. From books to booklets to certified biblical counseling groups. Liftable.tv has an entire section dedicated to mental health.
  4. Using the Scriptures – This sounds like a no-brainer. But we are often slow of heart and quick to worry. The Bible tells us to fear the Lord and nothing else. He alone shines the blazing light of truth through our clouds of worry. Overcome fear with truth, God’s inerrant and infallible truth.
  5.  Equipping the Church – Church members are able (and encouraged!) to become certified, biblical counselors. The ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) offers robust training for pastors and laypeople alike. What better way to encourage and cultivate healthy emotions and right thinking than with more equipped members doing “the work” of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12, ESV).

Be of good courage, Jesus Christ is a faithful King. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Cast all your cares upon His omnipotent shoulders and He will carry you.

As the hymn sings, “Judge not the Lord by feeble sense but trust Him for His grace; behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.”

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Cale is the pastor of Union Baptist Church in Orrick, MO. He is married to his wife Kelly and they have two children (third on the way!). Cale will be graduating with a Masters degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this Fall and Spring 2023.
Cale is the pastor of Union Baptist Church in Orrick, MO. He is married to his wife Kelly and they have two children (third on the way!). Cale will be graduating with a Masters degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this Fall and Spring 2023.




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