Anxiety: The Soul of Worry

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Do not worry then, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear for clothing?” For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25, 31-34)

Anxiety is a strange human emotion. It focuses on the future—negatively. “What are we going to do when or if ...?” The implication: “We will have no options.” How often have you had no options? Or, the dreaded feeling: “We will be boxed in with no choices.” How many times have you been “boxed in” and had “no choices”?

Anxiety is a strange emotion because it is self-induced. Who says there will be a “when” or an “if”? “I” do. Who says there will be “no options”? “I” do. Who says that “I” will be “boxed in” and have “no choices”? “I” do.

May I paraphrase Jesus’ statements in words we would use? “Is not existence about more than physical needs? Does not the reality of death limit physical needs? Godless people place 100% of their trust in the physical. They worry about the physical. Godly people understand the real dimension to life that is not physical. They see the folly of seeking only the physical. No matter what you do or decide, you will not eliminate tomorrow’s trouble. Focus your life on realities death cannot touch. It is only by taking care of now that you will be in a position to take care of tomorrow.”

Consider a myth and a couple of questions. Myth: there exists a lifestyle in which there are no anxieties. The person who wastes life on chasing that myth only succeeds in inflicting wounds on self. Questions: Who has avoided difficulty by wringing one’s hands in the panic of anxiety? What is the use of believing God exists if you are going to live like a godless person?

Trusting God involves the way a person looks at life. Perhaps that ranks in the top five ways that Christians fail our world. Christians cannot trust God while living like godless people. When people who are not Christians observe people who are Christians (1) floundering in the same problems (2) by dealing with them in the same ways and attitudes as people who do not trust God, they ask, “What is the use of being a Christian?”

Perhaps the greatest gift you can give to a world out of touch with God is Jesus’ way of looking at life. The “Jesus look” includes understanding that death is not the end of life. The physical is a bridge, not a destination. God is honored by seeing past the physical.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 14 August 2008


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