steps.

{continuing to work through my notes from the conference}

There is a command in the Bible that I know well, and hold dear. It was my grandmother’s favorite verse, if I remember correctly, and became an oft quoted one in our family.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I have liked tis verse, but I will admit that it has at times stressed me out. DO NOT BE ANXIOUS….oh, good grief. I can’t do that! But walking through the verse with the Speaker in mind changes that.

First of all, do not be anxious, fear not, don’t be afraid….these are the most common phrases found in the Bible. God is trying to communicate something, don’t ya think? He is reassuring us.

And back it up. What words come right before that command? The Lord is near Ah, sweet comfort of our God who is with us!

Now, say that together… the Lord is near; do not be anxious… Much better!

No one chooses to be anxious or afraid. It happens. It falls upon you like a cartoon-style grand piano. This is not an active violation of Love, like pride, manipulation, immorality. This is a violation of Trust. A response to feeling or being alone in a dangerous world where everything truly could go wrong. It is hard to trust anything in this broken world.

But God is very concerned in giving us reasons to trust him. He says the same thing (fear not) so many times, in many different ways, all so we will be able to gather up reasons to trust.

Phil. 1:6 he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

This verse anchors your, my, life as a journey of hope.

Phil. 2:1-11 Jesus came near. He wore and faced what we wear and face. And is Alive.
Phil. 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
God works it out. The growing and changing.
Phil. 4:7 the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:3…whose names are in the book of life.
Phil. 4:19 and my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Phil. 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

We have better reasons not to be afraid.
Jesus cares too much to be serene. He is not detached. He is engaged.

So, what do we do with this? David Powlison offers 6 steps:
1. Identify your form of anxiety.what are the cues? How will you know you are anxious?
2. Consider your reasons for trust. Make it personal. These are promises! (consider the lilies…)
3. Name your real troubles and anxieties. You will find it is a finite list. Anxiety makes you feel like it is infinite.
4. Identify what hijacks your heart. Functional unbelief. No, you didn’t stop believing, but you did forget…
5. Have the honest conversation. By prayer and supplication. Pray. Ask and really ask for help.
6. Do what needs doing today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

{all of this is lifted straight from my notes from CCEF’s Anxiety conference. You can purchase the audio here}

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