I’ve been leading a Bible study out of my home for several weeks now. We met for the third time tonight and I really felt like sharing a topic that’s been on my heart: fear/anxiety. At the chance that this may encourage others too, I want to share the notes I published to our Bible study group here on my blog. Perhaps this will encourage/bless others too.
Scriptures: Luke 12:22-34, Matthew 6:31-34, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Isaiah 26:3, Habakkuk 3:17-19
In the Luke passage, v 22-23 are saying do not worry about our needs. In v 24-34, Jesus is telling us to seek God and His kingdom and that He will supply our needs even better than He provides for the things of the Earth such as the ravens and lilies. In v 25 Jesus makes a powerful statement when He says “who among you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (NLT)
In Matthew 6:31-34 we are reminded again: God will supply, don’t worry.
When we are anxious, our focus is on our problem and situation – not God. This is where it is important to remind ourselves of who He is and what He has done, what He promises, what His word says. This is where we should take our thoughts captive to his authority and focus on Him (1 Corin 10:5.)
Next time you encounter a situation and you are worried – ask yourself:
- Have I prayed about this?
- Have I spent time in God’s Word, seeking for Him to speak to me?
- What is my role? (Ask God to reveal this to you)
Notice in #1 the “I” is bold. When praying about our topic for this week I really felt as though God was speaking to me personally to remind myself that when I have a need, that it is ok to ask others to pray too but I need to bring that need to Him myself too. So, # 1 is asking: have you prayed about it yourself, or only asked others to pray – God encourages us to share our burdens and pray in agreement, but He does want us to speak with Him. Take that need to Him personally before you rush to a friend or relative/etc. Remember – He is your peace, redeemer, guide…hope…provider…
For # 2 this is reminding us to seek His word first before we spend time in Google learning about our concern or seeking guidance through others. We should first go to His Word to find guidance and encouragement. Despite having been written so long ago – His Word is alive, and it is life to our bodies, our minds, and our souls.
# 3 is reminding you to seek God’s guidance in how you should approach your situation. Honestly ask Him to reveal to you what your role is however keep in mind that you must be ready to obey. He will guide you and you will be amazed at His goodness when you are willing to trust Him (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28.)
With all of this in mind, when is the best time to begin praying and seeking God? Everyday! Remember, it is best to be seeking Him and filling our minds and hearts with His Word and His promises and His guidance – that is how we can weather any storm! We need to spend time in God’s Word and presence in order to get to know Him, recognize His voice and leading, and really get to know His promises.
I want to share an amazing passage from Habakkuk (3:17-19.) In this passage, despite being surrounded with discouraging situations and knowing that destruction was on it’s way, after he spent time with God, he was able to write the following:
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms and there are no grapes on the vines, even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and barren, even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty ((even though he lost all)) yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me surefooted as the deer, able to tread upon the heights” – NLT ((emphasis mine))
And in the Message version of this scripture, he closes saying (3:19) “Counting on God’s rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!” – MSG
When we are willing to take our eyes off of our situation and place them onto God, spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word – we too can be encouraged to proclaim His goodness despite any situation.
We shared a few stories tonight, one of mine was my recent visit to the dentist. I was so distraught that it was taking all I had to not start crying. Why? Because I was overcome with the anxiety and anticipation of what was to come. Even though I knew they would numb me, I was petrified of the pain leading up to it, the procedure they were going to do while I was numb, and the major pain I was going to face for the days after the surgery. I had to close my eyes and not look at the dental staff and pray. I prayed and told God that I know my body is temporary. I know that this moment is temporary. I know that this is momentary and that in an hour they will not be sawing anymore. In a few hours I will be at home, medicated :). I know in a few days the most of the pain will be gone. And I know that eventually they will resolve this issue – in time. It is not permanent, it will pass.
I needed to remind my mind that God was in control, the situation I was in was not forever and it was something I could endure because of God. I asked God to bring me peace and help me to focus on Him and not on the moment. I took my thoughts captive to Christ’s authority. Did my pain end instantly? Nope. Am I still battling tooth issues and still in the recovery phase from that procedure 13 days ago? Absolutely. Have my circumstances changed? Not entirely. I’m no longer in the dentist chair having terrible things done to me 😉 however I am still going through the process required to get the work done. The situation didn’t change – my perspective did.
Next time you are overwhelmed, place your eyes on Jesus. Spend time in the Word of God, make sure you have personally prayed about your concern, and then ask God to guide you. It’s always ok to seek prayer from others too, but let’s not allow that to replace our own time speaking to God about whatever is pulling at our hearts.
For those reading this tonight, I hope that this is an encouragement to you still as much as it was to us. I know we needed this word, I hope it blesses the rest of you too.
Isaiah 26:3 (AMP) “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.”
Hope & peace in Christ,
(Inspirations for this post: In addition to the scriptures, I have been inspired by Lysa Terkeurst’s The Best Yes. I am only four chapters in and am so encouraged by it. The foundation for the questions I posed above were stirred in my heart from a passage in her book and then further clarified through time spent praying and in the Bible. Spend time in God’s Word today. And check out Lysa’s book! 🙂 )