What is the Bible Cure for Anxiety? #337
Happy weekend, friends! Two short episodes are on tap for this weekend. Today we are focused on the Bible cure for anxiety, but I can’t let a couple of 1 Peter 5 passages slip by uncommented on. First a strong encouragement towards humility:
All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:5-7
and then a powerful primer on spiritual warfare:
8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.
1 Peter 5:8-9
Our focus is in Luke 12, and we are talking about Jesus’ cure for worry and anxiety. I suspect that many of us need to hear the teachings of Jesus on worry and anxiety today, because I believe that our anxiety level world-wide is probably at an all time high, at least in my life-time. You probably already know that Jesus says don’t worry about things, but I wouldn’t necessarily call that a cure, but more a command not to do something. The cure comes shortly after the command, so pay attention as we read Luke 12.
So – we see the prohibitions. Do not fear (Take no thought of your life, says the KJV…) Don’t strive for food and drinks, don’t be anxious, and don’t be afraid. We see the commands, likewise: Fear God and nothing else. Consider the ravens and how God cares for them. Consider the wildflowers and how God clothes them. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. These are all strong helps against worry and anxiety and are commands of God for us. A lifestyle of following those commands and obeying those prohibitions will most certainly help us in our personal battle against anxiety and worry and fear, but I see two main CURES in this passage:
#1 Cure for worry: Realizing that your worry is absolutely NO HELP WHATSOEVER. 25 Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? 26 If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest?
#2 Cure for worry, fear and anxiety: SEEKING FIRST THE KINGDOM. How is this a cure? Well, first, it takes our minds off of ourselves, and when our attention is completely self-focused, worry, anxiety and neuroticism will naturally result. I believe that this is reason #1 that American society has seen an explosion in mental illness and drugs prescribed for mental illness: Because almost all of us have been raised in a very self-focused atmosphere, and it has led to problems. Note: I am not condemning the taking of medicine, or saying depression isn’t legit – please go back and listen to episodes when we’ve talked about that…I’m merely saying that our society has become more self-focused, and that leads to various troubles, and it helps us greatly when we seek first God’s kingdom rather than our own well-being. Counterintuitively, says Jesus, it is when we seek first God’s Kingdom (rather than our own needs) that God Himself meets our needs in a better way than we possibly could! Here’s Spurgeon with some encouragement for us:
- For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11). “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord” (Is. 54:17).
Our Saviour intended faith to be our quietus concerning daily cares, or he would not have said, “Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matt. 6:25, 26.) What else but the exercise of faith concerning temporal things could he have meant when he used the following language?—“And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after; and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things” (Luke 12:29, 30).
Paul meant the same when he wrote, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6, 7).
He who is gone to prepare heaven for us will not leave us without provision for the journey thither. God does not give us heaven as the Pope gave England to the Spanish King—if he could get it: but he makes the road sure, as well as the end. Now, our earthly necessities are as real as our spiritual ones, and we may rest sure that the Lord will supply them. He will send us those supplies in the way of promise, prayer, and faith, and so make them a means of education for us. He will fit us for Canaan by the experience of the wilderness.
To suppose that temporal things are too little for our condescending God, is to forget that he observes the flight of sparrows, and counts the hairs of his people’s heads. Besides, everything is so little to him, that, if he does not care for the little, he cares for nothing. Who is to divide affairs by size or weight? The turning-point of history may be a minute circumstance. Blessed is the man to whom nothing is too small for God; for certainly nothing is too small to cause us sorrow, or to involve us in peril. A man of God once lost a key: he prayed about it, and found it. It was reported of him as a strange circumstance. Indeed, it was nothing unusual: some of us pray about everything, and tremble lest the infinitesimal things should not be sanctified by the word of God and prayer. It is not the including of trifles which is any trouble to our consciences, but the omission of them. We are assured that, when our Lord gave his angels charge to guard our feet from stones in the way, he placed all the details of our life under heavenly care, and we are glad to commit all things to his keeping….He that believes his God is not afraid of evil tidings, for his heart has found a calm fixity in trusting in the Lord. In a thousand ways this faith sweetens, enlarges, and enriches life. Try it, dear reader, and see if it does not yield you an immeasurable wealth of blessedness! It will not save you from trouble, for the promise is, “These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33): but it will cause you to glory in tribulations also, “knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:3–5).
- C. H. Spurgeon, According to Promise (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1887), 105–106.
- C. H. Spurgeon, According to Promise (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1887), 102–104.