When a Christian is anxious, he is assigning more weight, more power, to his problem than to God. This is, after all, the God He professes is sovereign and who He claims loves him. And yet here this Christian is, worried and nervous and agitated and irritable.
This is why Jesus commands His disciples not to be anxious in Matthew 6. He designates anxeity a lack of faith. Anxiety in a Christian is doubt in Yahweh. My anxiety is a defect of trust in my heart.
When it plagues a Christian, anxiety peppers his mind with questions and dreads that are each threaded through and through with doubt in the goodness and sovereignty of God.
What will I do?
What if __________ happens?
But we can’t live without _________!
How am I supposed to do all this?
When I’m fearful and fretful about a job or a health issue or a relationship, I’m indicating that my heart believes that thing is more in control than the God of Jesus, the Lord of my heart, is. If I’m anxious, then in my mind I’m assigning more power and authority to the problem than the Bible says it really has.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
A Christian who’s anxious is giving more gravity to the thing he’s anxious about than he is to God. In that sense, anxiety is like a check engine light in a car. It can let me know that there’s a probelm under the hood: A misfire in my faith.
But by taking my mind captive and putting it under the Gospel of God and the Christian story, I can start to think of my problems and my sufferings accurately: As trials that passed through the hands of my good Father in order to make me more like His Son. By casting my problems and pains and fears in the light of the Gospel (hint: by reading and believing my Bible daily), I’ll remember and believe that Yahweh is more of a determinative factor in my finances, my physical ailments, my marriage, my parenting, and my vocation than any problem I might be worried about is. This God is good, and I can trust Him. I should trust Him.
Listen, for the anxious Christian, faith can always make strong what worry has weakened. Trust in Christ can restore all that anxiety has stolen.
When we rightly view our Abba as having far more clout than our problems do, our sinful, foolish, illogical anxieties will flicker out. Because after all, they needed doubt to breathe and smolder, and like a fire in a dies in a vacuum, anxieties can’t survive more than a few moments in the presence of healthy Christian faith.