Battling Anxiety The Jesus Way

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Sometimes I will have bad nights where I toss and turn rather than rest. You probably never experience that (yeah, right), but I do. What keeps me up at night? Anxiety. I’ll get something on my mind that I can’t get off of it. What about this? What about that? I contacted my tax preparer H&R Block yesterday to set an appointment when I was told they do not do “walk ins” right now because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The office manager sent a link to my email account that I was supposed to use to “upload” my files. I lay down last night, wondering how I was going to scan these documents into the computer. It’s not something I usually do. So anxiety and worrisome thoughts got in my head. I began to overthink what I had to do.

Worry. Anxiety. It Comes To Every Human

Even our Lord Jesus was afflicted with anxiety. As He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His betrayal and crucifixion we read:

Matthew 26:37-39 … {Jesus} took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

What Jesus was preparing to do for us is certainly a greater matter than are my taxes. But I want you to notice that our Jesus was not at peace as He entered Gethsemane. Look at the way that Matthew describes our Master.

  • Jesus was sorrowful (λυπέω lypéō, [pronounced loo-peh’-o]), which is literally “was in distress, filled with sorrow”. Jesus was going through what one preacher called “a dark night of the soul”.
  • Jesus was “very heavy” (ἀδημονέω adēmonéō, [pronounced ad-ay-mon-eh’-o]), literally “to be troubled to the point of depression”.

Jesus knew what the Cross would entail. Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him, and shared His burden with them, saying My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. He was hurting emotionally so much that He felt like He was dying. Three times Jesus prayed:

Luke 22:42 Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

As Jesus prayed, you could see the struggle on His very person. The Bible says that:

Luke 22:43-44 there appeared an angel unto {Jesus} from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

What a battle Gethsemane was for our Jesus!

Our Jesus never sinned, and never could sin. Jesus was tempted in all points as we are tempted, yet He never sinned. As our High Priest, Jesus suffered as we suffer.

Hebrews 4:14-15 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus agonized and suffered anxiety. Yet He did so without sin. Anxiety and worry are conditions that come to all humans – it is a part of our human nature. Yet anxiety and worry should not keep us from doing what God calls us to do. I want to look at anxiety tonight, and examine how our Lord and His Word tells us to continue to move forward in spite of our fears.

Jesus Did Not Hide His Anxiety From The Father

Anxiety and worry can become sins if we do not handle them correctly. One thing that people often do about anxiety is they hide it, or try to deal with it by themselves.

Too often we hold anxiety in, hiding it in shame, or trying to overcome it by spiritual pride.

Jesus told us:

Matthew 6:31-34 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Do not let worry consume you. Look up. Look to the
Submit to the Father’s Kingdom.

Jesus said, “when you are anxious, seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness”. That is exactly what Jesus did. He came into Gethsemane with the express purpose of telling the Father of His anxiety. But Jesus did not just demand that the Father take away the anxiety by taking away the trial. No, what Jesus repeated three times in His prayer to the Father was:

Matthew 26:39, 42 … {Jesus} fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. … 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. … 44 … And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Jesus was focused on obedience to the Father’s will. In Mark we see Jesus praying:

Mark 14:36 … Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Jesus’ prayer was proper before God. He did not just demand that the Cross be removed from His life, but He prayed “if it were possible, that the hour might pass from Him”. Lord, is it possible? Lord, is there any other way I can secure the salvation of your Beloved?

Jesus Christ, Eternal God of Eternal God, the One Who “Was in the beginning with God, and was God. Of Whom all things were made” (John 1:1-3), this Jesus humbled Himself before the Father and the Spirit.

He did not demand, but requested. The Apostle Peter put it this way:

1 Peter 5:5-7 … God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Jesus “cast His care – His anxieties upon God – knowing that God cared for Him”. And God certainly cared for Jesus. Several times the Father said:

Matthew 3:17 … This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Matthew 17:5 … This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

The Father loved the Son, and expressed His love numerous times in front of witnesses. The Son knew and knows that He is loved of the Father. As He cries our from Gethsemane, He does not doubt the Father’s love. He asks. He seeks the face of the Father’s will. Jesus cast that anxiety on the Father, not once, but three times, resting in the love of Yahweh. Jesus humbled Himself under the will of the Father.

When God took His Israel, Whom He loved, to the Promised Land, He allowed them to send one man from each tribe of Israel into the land to do reconnaissance. God wanted His people to know how wonderful the land was that He was giving them. When the twelve spies returned, they all said:

Numbers 13:27 … We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

Had they stopped here they would have been fine. But then ten of the spies said:

Numbers 13:28-29 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

Joshua and Caleb encouraged the people. “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” (vs 30). But the majority “brought an evil report of the land” (vs 32), and convinced Israel to abandon the will of God. THIS IS SIN. Though Joshua and Caleb encouraged the people, the damage was done. Israel rejected the rule of God. And thus that generation wandered in the wilderness for forty years, until all died – and God’s will was done.

Beloved, we are to do as Jesus did. We are to “cast our anxieties on our Father”, but are never to rebel against His rule. As Jesus said,

Matthew 26:39 … nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou
{o Father} wilt.

Tell the Father your anxieties. Cast them upon Him – but do not doubt His love nor His plan for your life. The Apostle said:

Philippians 4:5-7 The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The “Peace of God that passes all understanding” only comes when we cast our anxieties of God. In Philippians we see the Apostle using three words:

prayer and supplication with thanksgiving”

Prayer” is our unburdening to our Father, communicating our hearts to Him. But “supplication” is a word that notes we must be surrendered to God, as Jesus was surrendered to God. “Nevertheless, not My will, but THINE be done”. Father, if You desire this of me, then strengthen my heart, and give me the courage to receive Your Word. And never forget thanksgiving. Praising God, because our Father is always near to us. If you are a Child of God, then even in the midst of trials you should be thankful. The Scripture says:

2 Peter 1:3-4 his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

We are “partakers of the divine nature”. We are “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). God will not abandon His children in the valley, no more than He abandoned Jesus in Gethsemane.

Jesus Did Not Hide His Anxiety From His Companions

Matthew 26:38 Then saith {Jesus} unto {Peter, James, and John}, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

Jesus shared His anxiety with His followers. He did not hide it, but asked them to stand with Him as He went into this terrible valley. Sadly, the disciples kept going to sleep, and were no help at all for the Lord.

I had someone ask me once if “watching preaching on Facebook, or watching Charles Stanley, was a good replacement for Church attendance”. My answer is, absolutely not! When we go through trials, we need the touch of other believers, encouraging and helping us. The Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 12:24-26 … God hath tempered the body {the Church} together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: 25 that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

When we go through our valleys, we need our fellow brothers and sisters helping us, encouraging us. The Scripture commands:

Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

We are to “provoke or encourage one another to love and good works”. We are to “exhort or encourage one another”. What agony it must have been for Jesus to go through Gethsemane by Himself, with only an angel of God to minister to Him! As we go through trials and tribulations, it is our Church Family that can help us.

As the Apostle Paul ended his letter to the Philippians, he writes:

Philippians 4:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. It was written to the Philippians from Rome by Epaphroditus.

Who was this disciple Epaphroditus? He was a brother in Christ who ministered to Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome. His name, Epaphroditus, means “lovely, agreeable”. As Paul was not able to come and go as an Apostle, he used Epaphroditus as his messenger and clerk. Epaphroditus wrote the letter to the Philippians as Paul dictated it, and then used him to carry the letter to the Church. We see him mentioned in:

Philippians 2:25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.

Paul uses several words to describe Epaphroditus.

  • He says “he is my brother”. Epaphroditus was a Christian, saved by faith in Jesus.
  • Paul calls him “a companion in labor”. He was willing to do whatever Paul asked him to do – nothing was beneath him.
  • Epaphroditus was a “fellow soldier”, a term that means he was willing to die for the faith.
  • Epaphroditus was also “your messenger”. He was a conduit between Paul and the Church at Philippi, working as an intercessor to bless the Apostle, though he was imprisoned. Paul wrote in:

Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.

He was comforted because of this dear Christian brother. May God encourage us to do the same one with another as we travel through this life. We cannot make it by ourselves. We need the love of Christ, and the love of our fellow believers.

When The Father Answered Christ’s Prayer,
Jesus Willingly Moved To Obey The Father

Matthew 26:44-46 And {Jesus} left {Peter, James, and John}, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

Jesus was willing to accept the will of the Father.

Casting all His anxiety on Him, our Lord now moved confidently forward into the plan of the Father. There are times when the trials must come, and we must go into the fiery furnace of affliction. When those times come, know that God is with you. The Father numbers the very hairs of our head (Luke 12:6-7). The Father knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6:8). The Bible tells us that:

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God has a purpose and a plan for our lives. When the trials come, we are cast our anxiety on our Father. But we are also to rest in the calm assurance that He loves us, and has our best intentions in His heart.

The Apostle Paul recounted a time when he was afflicted by a “thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me” (2 Corinthians 12:7). What did Paul do when this happened? What he did is very similar to what Jesus did in Gethsemane. He writes:

2 Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

Three times Paul asked for relief, sharing his heart with the Father. What did the Father say?

2 Corinthians 12:9 … My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. ..

Receiving this answer the Apostle did not pout or murmur against God. No, his response was “this, then, is the will of God”. He writes:

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 … Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Paul accepted the purpose of God in his life, knowing that this was ultimately the best for him. Dr. Joe Pettigrew writes:

God changed Jacob’s name, which means “deceiver”, to Israel, which means “a prince with God.” He did it through crisis. Realizing he had to go home and face the wrath of his brother Esau, whom he’d mistreated, Jacob became desperate. That night in his tent he wrestled with the angel of the Lord. And the change in his life didn’t come quickly or easily, because we’re told he wrestled until daybreak. But suddenly it dawned on Jacob that he was wrestling with God, and it was a fight he couldn’t win.

Likewise, God will let us wrestle with an issue we can’t resolve, to get our attention. He’ll bring us to the place where we must concede, “I can’t handle this situation. It’s too big for me. I need God!” If that’s where you are today, you’re on the cusp of a breakthrough. If you’re asking God to make you comfortable in the mess you’re in, forget it—it’s not going to happen.”

Sometimes God sends us through trials so that we can grow in faith. This is what He did with Paul. This is also what the Father did with the Son. We are told in:

Hebrews 5:5-9 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Jesus in Gethsemane offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. Those are powerful words. Trials teach us all the faithfulness of God. Let us not let anxiety turn into sin. When tried, let us do as Jesus did. Let us cast our anxiety on our Father. Let us call on our brothers and sisters in Christ for strength. And let us accept the eternal purpose of the Father in what we are suffering. May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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